Garnish? Qu’est-ce que c est?

Pretty Garnish

Garnish may refer to:

What we are talking about today is “Garnish”, the food thingy. So what is a garnish, other than parsley or a lemon wedge? The truth is its the second most important component of a plate, and makes up half of the severable portion. The first half is the protein, or what Chefs call the Centre of the plate. What does that leave? Sauce, vegetables, starch and other functional garnishes. When I say functional, I mean they have a purpose, and compliment other aspects of the plate. I have a set of rules that I follow, when composing a plate. These have been acquired by years of menu writing, research and travel.

Fruit & vegetable garnish for plated appetizer

This example is very nice to look at, but not much to eat….lol. Looking at these elements, I would conclude that it would be best suited for a cold appetizer such as a pate, crudites or small Charcuterie plate. It could even be a sharing plate fro 2/4 people, making the effort seem more worthwhile. Downside is most of it is what I call non functional garnish. Essentially it doesn’t really have a purpose, except that it looks nice…might be better suited for a buffet.

Weak presentation, non functional garnish(s)

Again, a pretty looking plate…sort of. You can find a more lengthy discussion of this topic here; In short, what is wrong here is the flow is weak, at least three non functional garnishes, which means they are inedible, so should not be on the plate. There is no sauce…..and so on.

Ugly Plate…Just a mess!

We eat with our eyes first, this plate provides nothing visually, except a mess. perhaps without the MUCH overused parsley sprinkle, it might be a little better. These peppers again, serve no purpose, except maybe colour, because the rest of the components are dull. textures are all the same, and out of proportion. I just hope it smells and tastes good, it could be the only saving grace.


The art of the plate is complicated, perhaps even more so than the actually recipe and menu description aspects. There are tons of tools, forms and information available on this site for subscribers, have a look. and

In addition, if you would like to learn more< I provide a online 2 year program in Culinary & Pastry Arts. This is also a membership only site. Contact me for details.

Cheers, and have a great weekend!