Stop Playing with your Food!

Welcome to todays blog about “playing with food”. It’s not exactly about that…..sort of. Actually the topic is for professionals. Dessert plating sequence, these are the basic rules that can be adapted to your particular menu concept. In my case, I normally go with a small dessert menu of 3-4 choices, that change somewhat on a daily basis. The core of your menu should be as follows. Include a selection for each of the following categories; (1) baked items such as cakes, tortes or tarts. (2) custards. (3) fruit based. (4) gluten free. On occasion I may feature a vegan/vegetarian item, but often this may be already within the gluten or fruit category. So let’s move on to the plating sequence tutorial.


I would like to say that plating desserts take a lot of thought….you could just throw it together, but that’s not very satisfying for you or the customer, right? So hear we go….


 Is it complicated to pick up? 

 How long does this dessert take to plate?

 Is it service- friendly?

 How involved is it?

 How many components are there?

 Are there different temperature components? 

 Will my staff understand what my vision is?

 Can I explain this dessert to the wait staff?

 Can the wait staff explain it to the customers?

 Is it too conceptual? 

Most important, does it taste good? 

Well, second most important, because remember the most important thing: Is it wholesome?


Plating sequence refers to the order in which the components of a dessert are put on a plate and applies to pre-desserts as well as plated desserts. The order is determined by the lifespan of each component; in other words, what can hold the longest at its peak condition will go onto the plate first, and you will continue to place items on the plate in descending order of longev- ity. The last item you plate is often the most fragile and time-sensitive/temperature-sensitive component. Often this will be a frozen component, but not always; it could also be a soufflé. Alternatively, there could be a garnish that goes on top of the frozen component, in which case the garnish will not technically be the last item to go on the plate. You will have to make use of your common sense. Oftentimes you will have two or more components with a similar lifespan, in which case it doesn’t matter in which order they are plated.

  1. Stable items that hold well, sometimes, especially in banquet situations there are items that can be plated in advance. These are the first things we plate.
  2. Sauces; AT LEAST ONE…and should compliment the main item
  3. Base; ie – frozen desserts require something like a sponge or cookie to stabilize and add texture.
  4. Main componant – As in the above case, it could be a frozen item, mousse, bavarian, etc
  5. Foams – less stable, things like chantilly cream, aerated foams, meringues, etc
  6. Garnishes, final touches


Here is a free tool to use when planning and evaluating a new dessert. And yes you should make a plate at least three times before it goes to menu, to make sure it meets all the above criteria.

There are hundreds of these types of documents….and tons more content for paid memberships. Trust me, as a chef or restauranteur…you need this stuff!! In addition as of June 30th all archived blog content (200+) will require a free membership. Daily blogs will remain accessible, but only for the day…sign up today to reserve your spot, the first (9) registrations will receive a complimentary copy of my ebook, “Coast to Coast, ups and downs”, a chefs progress. Release date is July 1st, 2021.

Cheers and Happy Baking!