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3 Food Plating Activities for Middle and High School

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Did you ever notice how the way your food is plated changes your perception of how the food tastes? Food plating is a fun and essential addition to your Culinary Arts class because it applies to every day as well. It is the art of placing food on a plate in a way that is visually appealing while enhancing the presentation.

They say “you eat with your eyes first”. For many teens, they may not have had the luxury of being presented with a beautifully plated meal. I like to start by showing them a video or 2 on food plating to hook their attention. This one has no words but is pretty to watch:

1- Show them a video of professional food plating to give them some ideas and inspiration. It also helps them to understand the purpose and importance of food plating.

Food plating video to get students thinking about food plating.

2- Have them practice on paper – Give students some freedom to draw ingredients or dishes that you assign or they create on paper with colored pencils and have them create a beautiful dish. When it comes to a visually appealing plate, contrast is one of the most essential factors! Who wants a meal that is all brown or all green? I like to show students meals that are all one color or all one texture. We have a free food plating worksheet here that allows your students to analyze plates of food.

Here’s a free food plating worksheet.

3- Let them practice with food- The Twinkie plating challenge where students have to plate a Twinkie with garnish and appeal or a brownie plating challenge where students make brownies and plate the dessert with some of the principles they learned.

Students love trying some hands-on food plating practice and you can have classroom guests judge the best-plated dessert! If you are in a budget or time pinch, purchase store-bought brownies or brownie ingredients and a bunch of dessert garnishes like chocolate syrup, sprinkles, powdered sugar, ice cream, cocoa powder, caramel, etc.

One last idea is to allow them to create some fruit and vegetable art. Students can cut fruits and vegetables in appealing ways and present them on a plate. It is fun to let their classmates or other class periods to judge their plates and have winners based on visual appeal.

We have a full lesson on food plating including a slide show on food plating, guided notes, student questions, and more in both PowerPoint and Google.

Grab our full Food Plating Lesson Plan from our TPT store!

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