My class continued last week, after a Monday off for Memorial Day, with more beautiful food, this time focused on presentation of a buffet table. We focused on summery dishes… roasted fruits and vegetables, a spring vegetable fritatta, herb and aspic topped cheeses, a fresh fruit cascade with a bittersweet chocolate fondue, and perhaps my favorite, a mushroom ratatouille with potato medallions… fresh herbs sandwiched between two nearly sheer slices of potatoes, generously brushed with butter, and baked to a crisp… heavenly.
I’ve never bothered much with a buffet table before… I typically just fill up the table. But a properly set table can make a difference… and it’s not as much a matter of whether it’s attractive as much as functional. For example, providing some height makes dishes at the back of the table easier to reach (as well as being more interesting to look at). Hope, our chef, gave us some great tips:
- Turn large bowls upside down and place under the tablecloth to add height
- Make sure that there are places to set down plates on the buffet table to allow guests access to both hands
- Be careful with tiered dishes. While they add height, the bottom layer may be hard to reach
- Try fresh herbs (ideally related to the dishes) as a garnish between dishes
- Pay attention to the order of the food. Salads should be near the front, the main dish at the end of the buffet.
More photos from the evening here.