“Since we’ve just prepared the sesame rollups, how about continuing with the sesame balls to start talking about the plating?” He smiled and then pulled over a rack where the right sesame balls had been draining and cooling off since shortly before the start of the live stream.
“These have already cooled down enough so we can start immediately. For this, I would suggest using a small plate with a design which can even be a bright one.” While he said so, he picked up a plate that he had already placed on the other side of the counter before. He turned it so the viewers could see the design more clearly.
“I’ll be using this one. I really like the deep colors since they’re quite eye-catching while the pattern is unobtrusive. Now, as I’ve mentioned in previous streams, when we are just eating at home, we don’t put that much thought into how the dishes are presented so we actually don’t have much nice tableware and the choices are a bit limited. At the casting of ‘Golden Spoon’, you will naturally be given an assortment of tableware to choose from so even if you’re in a similar position, you don’t have to worry about the show.”
He put the plate down and then picked up a few paper cups before taking one of the sesame balls and placing it inside. He placed it on the plate and then repeated to step twice before looking back up at the camera. “Now, this plate is finished. Of course, if you have a bigger plate, you could put several more sesame balls on it but this is actually a good way to do it. It will make them look like a nice treat.”
Xiao Ming made a short pause and glanced at the rest of the sesame balls that he had prepared. There were still quite a few left over. He could likely demonstrate a bit more but it was better not to focus on one item too much. But since he had already talked about the number that he would use …
He looked back up and then gestured at the plate again. “I’m quite happy with this but if you decide that you want to use a different number, one thing you should keep in mind is that numbers will have different meanings. So for example, you wouldn’t use four of them while having eight on a very big plate would be good.”
Back in the house of the ninjas, Si Jin tightened his lips and wondered if he should change his family name. Xiao Ming wouldn’t think that he was unlucky as well, would he?
Si Shi Wu had similar thoughts and almost didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t just go on watching the live stream silently though so he had to speak up. He lightly cleared his throat and nodded. “This is a very good hint even though I feel that he could have explained a little more.
“You certainly know that numbers have a different meaning. So if you want to express something with your dish, you might also want to use a different number of things you display. This could be in how many dishes you make for a whole menu or the number of parts of one dish you showcase like he is currently doing it with the sesame balls.
“For this, you might also want to take the occasion into consideration. Cooking at home for an everyday dinner might not be sufficient reason to pay attention to this but if it was a family member’s birthday or if a good friend just opened their business, you might want to wish them well in their endeavors and thus try to make your meal seem more auspicious.”
On the other side of the counter, his nephew had taken out his phone and was watching Si Shi Wu’s live stream with his headphones plugged in. Actually, he was quite surprised at how well everything was going. But come to think of it, his uncle was also younger than his dad. Maybe he wasn’t a complete idiot with technology. And he definitely seemed to know a lot about food and cooking.
Meanwhile, Xiao Ming continued with his own live stream, not guessing in the least that he was currently being reviewed by one of their nation’s hottest upcoming chefs.
“The sesame balls are plated now. Next, let’s take a look at how to go about plating the deep-fried milk.” He took out a different plate, that once again had a pattern even though it wasn’t as bright as the other one. Then, he picked up a paper doily and placed it in the middle, and pulled over another plate where he had put several deep-fried milk batons side-by-side.
“Taking a look at the deep-fried milk and comparing it to the sesame balls we were working with before, you will immediately notice one thing: The shape is a different one.
“The deep-fried milk is formed like a stick. If you put them next to each other like the sesame balls before, it might seem a bit boring because they are so uniform and there isn’t much to see. Instead, it might be better to present them in a stacked manner.
“Just have a look at the plate that I have here.” Xiao Ming pointed at the plate that was currently holding all the deep-fried milk sticks. “This doesn’t look very appealing, especially since they are lying very close together. While we could certainly eat them like this, it just doesn’t look nice.”
On the other live stream, Si Shi Wu showed a satisfied expression. “This is very good. I like his explanations but considering that he is talking to people who aren’t professionals, it is good to lead by example. That is easier understandable and will also leave a bigger impression in one’s mind. I really like the way he is going about this.”
Meanwhile, Xiao Ming turned from the bad example to the good one. “Now, let’s place our deep-fried milk on the other plate.” He took up a pair of pliers and used it to pick up one of the batons, placing it roughly in the middle of the plate he had chosen before. Then, he picked another one and placed it half across the previous baton so that one side was in the air while the other touched the plate. He repeated that process with a third one that touched both of them lightly and then put the pliers to the side.
“Now, this looks more interesting than if we just place them side-by-side because it is more dynamic. Of course, there are also other ways to arrange them that will also give a more dynamic feeling.
“What you should keep in mind for choosing how exactly to plate your dishes is that there are different shapes involved in doing this. For one, there are the shapes of the dish that you have prepared. Like the round sesame balls and the longish deep-fried milk sticks. On the other hand, your plate also has a shape. It could be a round plate, it could be oval, it could even be a square plate with pointed or maybe rounded edges.
“In the case of the two dishes we have plated so far, you also have the paper doily and the paper cups respectively. The cups are round but have some smaller edges like teeth because of the way they are folded while the doily is round overall as well but has a rim with a more complicated pattern that changes the shape slightly and once again adds dynamic.
“What is important is that everything finally comes together. This means that you can use the same shapes to support each other or you can use different shapes to make something look less homogeneous which often means more dynamic. Depending on what you choose, it will make a different impression on the person who is eating the dish.”
Xiao Ming pushed the plate to the side and dusted off his fingers while glancing at the clock on the wall. “I think it’s already time to take out the figurative buns from the steamer.” He went to take off the lid, waving for a bit to make the steam dissipate, and then took out the little rabbit-shaped bun. Holding it up, he held it into the camera so everyone could see while Li Shui zoomed in on it.
“Now, this is how the buns turned out. As you can see, they’re quite cute on their own. So, for the next step, we will once again just arrange them on a plate.” He pulled a slightly bigger plate over and put the bun down near the middle. Then, he took the two sunflower shaped buns out of the steamer and placed them next to the bunny-shaped one but more toward the edge of the plate before distributing some of the others that he hadn’t formed into figures.
He waved for Li Shui to zoom in on the plate while he went on to explain his thoughts. “With this, our bunny in the sunflower field has also been arranged. Before we get to the last part of today’s live stream, there is one more thing in regard to the plates that I want to point out. If you look at the three that we’ve used so far, then you can see that they are rather different plates.”
Li Shui moved the camera from the figurative buns to the two plates with the deep-fried milk and the sesame balls that had already been prepared before zooming out again and showing all of them next to each other. The difference was obvious at a glance.
The last plate with the figurative buns was a rather simple one with a few wavy lines and a bit of a pattern around the edge. Otherwise, it was quite plain. In turn, the plate where the deep-fried milk had been placed was of a darker color with a complicated pattern at the edge and the paper doily added another pattern on top. The one that was probably the most impressive was the plate where the three sesame balls were gathered. It was bright and colorful with a floral pattern.
Si Shi Wu used the opportunity to speak up again. “Ah, another thing that I really like is how these three from ‘Bright Yellow Water’ cooperate with each other. While one of them cooks, he doesn’t have to take care of anything else. He doesn’t even need to tell the other two what to do. They’ll pick up the cues from what he does and says and make sure that everything works out well.
“Just like in this case, the camera moves to zoom in on the point their anchor is talking about, emphasizing on the individual plates before showing a comparison. It helps support the points he is making. I’m sure that this will be even more interesting to watch when he is actually cooking the dishes. Today’s live stream is a bit theory-heavy so I guess I am missing out a bit.”
Back in the stream of Bright Yellow Water, Xiao Ming first pointed to the two dishes he had plated first. “Now, I’ve already said that you should pay attention to how the different shapes affect each other. Other than that, there’s also the overall appearance.
“The figurative buns are colorful because of the fruit juice that we used to make the dough. They also have a complicated shape that is interesting to look at in and of itself. Because of that, I’ve chosen a rather plain plate that will not take away from the dish’s appearance. On the other hand, the deep-fried milk sticks and the sesame balls while looking nice aren’t very spectacular. They have simpler forms and a uniform appearance. So they can be put on a plate with a more extravagant pattern which will make the visual more stunning than the dishes by themselves would be.”
Xiao Ming looked up and then glanced at Qian Huang. For the first few dishes, this was everything that he wanted to say. So if there was were any questions about what he had said so far, it would likely be best to answer them right now before continuing with the next part.