How to style your Christmas dinner like a pro December 10, 2019

by Anna Eat

One of life’s little pleasures is getting together with friends and family at Christmas and sharing good, quality food. For the host, however, a Christmas dinner party can feel like a pressure test with lots to do. Almost as important as the food itself, a beautifully arranged and styled dinner table will take your party to the next level and leave guests impressed.

HelloFresh recipe developer and food stylist Bec Dickinson brings her expertise in professional food styling and photography to the table. Her work has been featured in prestigious media such as The Times, Marie Claire and Australian Broadsheet, and now she shares with us her top five tips on how to style a beautiful festive dinner spread this Christmas.

1. Keep it light

When it comes to plating your food, the first thing you want to do is to choose the right size plates for each dish so your food doesn’t look too cramped or lonely. Choose a plate that is big enough to hold your main element and still allows a bit of styling flair!

To make your food look even more slick, don’t pour the sauces all at once on the plate. Instead, add just a little and serve the rest in a vessel on the table for your guests to add later themselves.

For your garnishing, you want to make sure you garnish with an ingredient that is also a part of your recipe or at least will not clash with it; you don’t want it to be a distraction from the main taste. For example, with any large roast, you can present it on a nest of herbs and sliced lemons or any ingredients you already have in your recipe.

2. Use the ‘clock method’ when plating

Festive holidays dishes can be hard to plate because they’re generally busier with different types of food compared to your regular dinner dish. Instead of trying to place them all on top of each other in a random way, you can use the ‘clock method’ to create more harmony and structure.

Using an imaginary clock on your plate, place the protein on the side instead of facing the guests, between 3 and 5 o’clock and/or between 7 and 9 o’clock. Once this is done, you can arrange the other ingredients accordingly. To make your plate look even more natural, try to serve odd, rather than even, amounts of food. For example, five prawns instead of four is visually more appealing.

3. Keep your freshest ingredients till the end when plating

Having 15 people coming over for dinner can cause a bit of chaos in the kitchen! One simple rule to reduce your time in the kitchen whilst entertaining is to prioritise your dinner preparations, and start a couple of days before with dishes that can be kept in the fridge and will still look and taste fresh on the day.

For example, our Christmas Box* comes with a handy preparation guide that lists all of the things you can do the day before, including toasting the nuts, making the stuffing, baking the brownies and cutting the veggies, so you have more time on the day to spend with family and friends. 

4. Play with textures for your festive table

Matching colours are important when you decorate your dinner table, but so are textures! It doesn’t matter if you are into a monochrome or multicoloured theme, mixing textures will make your table look more chic. If you’ve got a wooden table and you want to dress it up, add a table runner to bring a bit of warmth and dimension. If you are more of a cloth person, spice it up with table mats made of slate, marble, or wood.

Finally, to create a really well-set table, using starter and main plates with different textures works well because it adds layers. You can use a metallic main plate and a plain or light coloured top plate. You can really have fun with textures and colours, so don’t be shy.

5. Make the most of your leftovers

Whether it’s because of fussy eaters or last-minute cancellations, leftovers are always a result of your festive dinner. Thankfully, there are a few tricks to make them look as fresh the next day! The simplest way to revamp your leftovers is to reheat them using the same method they were cooked rather than putting them in the microwave, or garnish them with herbs to give them second life. Or, why not take a look at our leftover ham and leftover chicken videos for lots of yummy leftover ideas!

*Our Christmas Box has sold out as at 17th December.

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1 comment

Leanne says:

We were going to order the Christmas box but unfortunately we cannot have it delivered to our address on Sunday 22nd as that is the day we need it for our family Christmas.
We were excited to be sharing in the prep and cooking.
Is there anyway that I could have the recipes so that we can do it ourselves, we had already worked out who was doing what .
Be ask I know.

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