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selecting serving pieces to complement your menu

by Marnely Rodriguez   

When hosting a dinner party, your checklist is a never-ending task that includes: iron linens, buy ingredients and prepare dining area. But have you ever thought about the importance of coordinating your serving pieces with your menu? 

In the last few years, the restaurant industry has opened its eyes and realized that the plates are almost as important as the steak and potatoes on it. As humans, we are enticed by what we see and if the canvases (here, the serving pieces) aren’t up to par, our appetites may wain and our senses will not be as excited.

Big industry leaders and chefs have taken it upon themselves to be creative about visual presentation when choosing their plate ware and serving dishes. Some professional chefs go to the extreme of having custom made service ware for their restaurants. 

You can also be particular about your service ware. Ultimately a dinner party focused on details like this one is bound to be a success!  Dining room décor, from the furnishings to the art, and table accessories, as well as serving pieces, also come to play a vital role in your everyday life. Why not treat yourself to beautiful pieces every day, reserving a few special ones for entertaining?

Answer the following simple, yet interesting guidelines and questions to follow when choosing serving pieces, all while complementing your menus.

Is there a theme to your menu? Since your serving pieces depend on your menu, ask yourself if there is a theme. If hosting a Sushi Night choose minimalist pieces that enhance the subtleties of Japanese cuisine. On the other hand if you are hosting a Mexican Taco Night, choose vibrant and colorful pieces to transmit the energy of the Mexican culture. Antique linens, lace napkins and depression style glass serving pieces will add a touch of Americana to a traditional country-style brunch.

How many people will you normally serve? The size of your serving pieces and the number of them you purchase depends on how many people you normally invite over for dinner. Is it just you and your spouse? Do your girlfriends come over for dinner and drinks once a month? Do you have more than ten people around your table for frequent business dinners? Make sure to have the correct number and size – from small bowls to extra large platters - to cover special occasions and birthdays.


How will you serve: family style or buffet style? Serving “family style” is when all your serving pieces (and dinner!) are laid out in the center of the table and everyone serves themselves without getting up from their places. With this style, you’ll need big serving bowls and platters that are still comfortable enough to fit on the table leaving space for dinner place settings. “Buffet style” is commonly seen in hotels but is a great idea when serving a large group of friends. Buffet style serving pieces are usually set on a kitchen bar area or dining room sideboard. A food buffet also requires large serving pieces, and you’ll normally need a back-up of the same in the kitchen, so stock up on simple and easily adaptable pieces.


What’s your home décor style?   Take into account your current home decorations and try to select your serving pieces to complement and coordinate with your style. If you are more casual, choose simple pieces. White china in basic shapes work well in a casual setting. If your style is vibrant and energetic, with kids in the family, choose colorful funky pieces that brighten your table setting. Remember that richly colored food with multiple ingredients presents well on white or simple serving pieces.  A simple salad or pasta works well in a beautifully patterned bowl. Play with black serving pieces, as well as those in natural elements, like teak.

A great idea when complementing your menu with serving pieces is to learn about the culture behind your food. How does that country serve their meals? This will get you closer to authenticity and help you understand how and why recipes have developed.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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