In Dining

Styling plates of food for photography is about shape, color and texture.

7 ultimate food porn tips from Chef Brian Frakes

For the ninth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, dining guides, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as voting for your "Best of Dining 2015."

You don't have to be a professional photographer to take mouthwatering images of food. But, it does help to have some skills in the basics of plating. Chef Brian Frakes, who teaches The Pfister #FoodArt Experience at the historic Milwaukee hotel, gave us a quick lesson in plating using two versions of a delicious autumnal tomato salad.

Tips for plating food beautifully:

  1. Don't be afraid to be adventurous when plating. Start with an unexpected canvas such as an interestingly shaped dish or platter. As Frakes notes: "Grab the wrong dish on purpose and see what happens."

  2. White plates are a great default, as they allow the colors of your food to take center stage. However, using plates and linens in complementary hues can help your dish pop. Hint: brown foods benefit from a hit of color; in fact, they can look particularly good when put against a backdrop of blue or purple.

  3. Incorporate unexpected ingredients for artistic flair and varied textures. Try using seeds, grains or greens to enhance an already beautiful plate.

  4. Don't cover the entire plate with food. Leaving some negative space helps to highlight the colors of the food on the plate.

  5. Play with creative sauces, including salad dressings or creations like Frakes' reduced roasted beets with cola.

  6. Incorporate variable textures. Not only will the dish taste better, but your food will take on a different look when you add textures like toasted bread, differently shaped leaves and

  7. Maybe most importantly, play with color. Branch out and use yellow or chioggia beets, heirloom varieties of tomatoes and other unique fruits and vegetables. Look for edible flowers and brightly colored edible greens at the grocery store or supermarket.

Experience #FoodArt at The Pfister

The Pfister #FoodArt Experience combines food styling, gourmet dining and social media to create an unmatched experience that's great for group outings, parties, team-building events or corporate retreats.

The event, which offers guests the opportunity to create their own piece of edible art, begins at a table filled with colorful and texturally interesting ingredients – roasted beets, local cheeses, various types of protein, micro greens and grains.

During the program, Chef Brian Frakes demonstrates plating techniques using the ingredients and provides food-styling tips. Then, guests are equipped with an oversized plate and sent down the line to prepare their own plates of food art.

Once guests complete their plates, they move to a special table where a professional photographer takes photos of their dish.

While the guests enjoy their culinary masterpieces, photos are emailed to them so they can post on social media.

Call Marcus's event specialists at (414) 390-4646 for additional details about The Pfister #FoodArt Experience, or to book. Minimum of 10 people required.

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