Introduction: Plate Your Food Like Art

About: Conceptual artist and painter residing in Berkeley, CA. Previous artist in residence at Planet Labs.

Playing with food isn't just for kids anymore. Mixing eats, art, and plenty of fun, this tutorial will teach you how to make a plating modeled after the work of Keith Haring for your next dinner party. Ready? Let's do it!

First, gather the food items you'd like to include in your plating and the instruments with which you plan to plate. Below are specifics on what I used.

Since this plate was part of a Thanksgiving-themed photo series, I had the following food on hand:

  1. Cranberry Jelly
  2. Corn
  3. Green Beans
  4. Mashed Potatoes
  5. Gravy

Here's a quick rundown on my preferred instruments and what I use them for:

  1. A Dowel or Chopstick - Used for drawing lines and making polka dots. Most often used with sauce.
  2. Knife - Used to cut food into desired shape.
  3. Fork and Spoon - Used for selecting morsels of food to plate whilst keeping hands clean.
  4. Rag or Napkin - Used for cleaning up errant marks and wiping the whites of the plate clean when your done. Presentation ... so key!

Step 1: Set Up Your Composition

To create your Keith-Haring-inspired plate, you'll first need to outline the central figure. Use a dowel dipped in sauce to create the line, redipping as needed, as though using a fountain pen. Make sure to wipe up any stray sauce with your rag when finished.

Step 2: Fill in Your Outline

Once you have your outline perfected, fill it in! Use the spoon or fork to pick out pretty pieces of corn (or small cutouts of the food of your choice) and arrange them in an organized manner inside the outline. If you're having trouble placing the kernels, break out some tweezers.

Step 3: Add Accents

Almost done! Now, you just need to add your accents. Here, I used green beans sliced in half with the knife. Since fastidiousness really pays off with food plating, I also trimmed the green beans to specific sizing, so that each piece looked perfectly at home with its neighbor.

Wipe up any lingering liquid or flecks of food, and voila! Your masterpiece is done.