Plating Meat

Flank Steak

We’re all still in Top Chef withdrawal since the 4th of July holiday scuttled any hopes of a new episode this past week. However, I wanted to mention an important element of Howie’s winning dish from the last Top Chef episode.

Howie did an outstanding job of plating the meat in his dish, and it is easy to do at home as well.

The guest judge for Top Chef was Alfred Portale of New York’s Gotham Bar and Grill. He is known, among many other things, as an expert in plating (artfully designing food on the plate). Just glancing at a menu page for the restaurant will demonstrate that Portale has raised plating to an art form. What Howie did was much easier, but just as attractive.

In the photos here you can see my own plating work at home. At left is the typical slab of meat on the plate. In this case it’s a grilled flank steak. However, at upper right, after using a sharp steak or carving knife to create thin slices you have, hopefully, a more artfully designed plate. Resting the meat for 5-10 minutes is necessary or you are likely to end up with a plate of steak chunks. A side benefit of this style of plating is that typically the sliced meat looks like significantly more meat than just the original lump of steak. That’s a very good thing for health consciousness. To look closely at plating design, head over to the Top Chef site and play Rate the Plate.