Have you ever been to a restaurant and (after a disappointing meal) thought, I can make that better? You probably can, in most cases. But the restaurant has a one-up on you because they know how to make their mediocre food look good; they take the time (which can be just a couple of extra seconds) to plate their dishes in an appetizing way. And most of us home cooks just don't know how to do it.

Well, now you do. We spoke to food stylist Aldy Moyla for some easy tips that will transform your homemade meals into restaurant-looking dishes.

Why do our meals look so different when made at home than in a restaurant or magazine?
Well, the difference is in the “Planning and Preparation.” Everything has to be planned and prepared ahead of time, and this goes from chopping vegetables to selecting herbs, arranging garnishes and even choosing the proper plates and cutlery. So by doing all this before cooking, it can certainly give you more time to be creative at the time of serving your food!

Can home cooks get that restaurant-plate look at home?
Yes, absolutely. There are some great food preparation tips that could be used by home cooks. One of the most renowned techniques to make food look incredibly delightful is garnishing. Adding a sprinkle of fresh herbs, a lemon wedge and even diced peppers will give food presentation an irresistible look.

What are the hardest foods to plate? How do you do it?
Pasta is one of the hardest, I believe. As an organic food stylist and a cook working in a professional kitchen, this is the technique that I always use when styling and serving pasta:
-- After the pasta has been cooked, separate the portion that will be arranged for presentation and keep it silky and fresh looking by placing the pasta in some of the water used to boil it.
-- Then using tongs, place pasta on a serving plate, grabbing and making little curls of pasta. And garnish with fresh herbs on top!

What are the easiest foods to plate?
The easiest is vegetables and fruit. The most amazing variety of colors, shapes, sizes and flavors. To me they are simply lovely in every way. And to achieve a nice and appetizing presentation I always try to mix and match different dinnerware, round or squares dishes could make fruit and vegetables pop up!

Do you think the way food is presented on a plate affects the way it tastes to people?
Oh, yes. We eat with our eyes first!

What are the biggest mistakes most people make when plating their food?
I believe one of the reasons is size portions. Food should look interesting too! And when a plate is crowded there’s very little space to create a neat and appetizing meal.

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