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The curious case of missing plates: Gimmick or showcase of creativity?

In a bid to provide unique experience to guests, restaurants are replacing plates with quirky objects.

more lifestyle Updated: Apr 01, 2017 12:00 IST
Abhinav Verma
In order to enhance the food experience of their guests, restaurants are coming up with innovative methods of food presentation.
In order to enhance the food experience of their guests, restaurants are coming up with innovative methods of food presentation.

Recently, 2012 Masterchef winner Anton Piotrowski decided to introduce a new concept at his restaurant, Brown & Bean, in Plymouth, England, where diners were instructed to make a fist over the plates, so that the food can be served on the back of their hand. But the locals didn’t like this idea. They took to social media to criticise the gimmick, which sparked a debate on how much is too much, when it comes to food presentation. Foodies asked questions such as where have all the plates gone, and when did Instagram-worthy food take priority over hygiene, quality and comfort of eating. This presentation trend also led to a Twitter campaign called We Want Plates.

While Indian restaurants may not be asking guests to eat off their fists, many have replaced plates with quirky objects such as miniature carts, cycles and ladders.

Diners at the restaurant Brown & Bean, in Plymouth were served meals directly on the back of the hands. (Anton Piotrowski/Twitter)

“In my opinion, hygiene, food quality and the ease with which you can consume it, take priority over the presentation. It’s true you eat with your eyes first. But, if the presentation is done in a manner that makes it uncomfortable for one to eat, then there’s no point. A global movement called We Want Plates, has already started,” says chef Sabyasachi Gorai

If the presentation is done in a manner that makes it uncomfortable for one to eat, then there’s no point, says chef Sabyasachi Gorai

So, how can one be creative without going overboard in modern times when food innovation and guest’s experience matters the most? “I think in this particular case where guests were served food on their fist, the chef (Anton) was trying to provide an experience to his diners and I don’t see anything wrong with it. Presentation of food is an integral part of the experience. However, it shouldn’t make it inconvenient for the diner to eat. It’s important that the restaurants should let people eat the way they want to rather than forcing them to eat in a certain manner,” states chef Manish Mehrotra.

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In an attempt to make the presentation of golgappas unique, the golpappa pani is served in a syringe.

Chef Kunal Kapur echoes the same view. He says, “People from different cultures and places have their own way of eating. Some use coconut leafs to serve food instead of plates. But when it comes to restaurants, I’d say it doesn’t matter whether you use plates or not, as long the food is hygienic and people have no difficulty eating it.”

It’s important that the restaurants should let people eat the way they want to rather than forcing them to eat in a certain manner, says chef Manish Mehrotra

Diners’ eating choices and preferences are always subjective, so it’s hard to figure what exactly works for the diners. “I definitely agree that too much emphasis is placed on food presentation at restaurants,” says designer Rina Dhaka.

Paneer Tikka served on a miniature staircase .

Many foodies say that they are not crazy about Instagram-worthy food, and taste, hygiene and comfort are more important than looks. “ I am not a fan of Instagrammable food. I feel it is a distraction from the actual dining experience. But what choice do restaurants have? After all, they are catering to a generation of people who validate every aspect of their lives on social media,” says Papa CJ, comedian.