Pulling together the perfect party platter doesn't need to be intimidating. In fact, it's the ultimate spread for a soirée because it's simple (we promise), can be inexpensive and with some masterful arranging, it's sure to impress. They've been a mainstay for entertaining (we're willing to say they're a party essential) for a while now and offer up a wide variety of snacks and delights, so there's a little something for everyone on the platter. But a successful spread takes a little finessing, so we turned to Instagram sensation @dennistheprescott for his tips for perfect plating. He stopped by The Goods to share his secrets for building your best board, just in time for you to try them out for your Canadian Screen Awards viewing party this Sunday!
Set the mood with music
Plating is a bit of an art, so to get in the creative zone, Dennis recommends putting on some music for inspo. He likes to play music that reflects the platter you are going to make. For a charcuterie and cheese board Dennis likes to listen to Ella Fitzgerald-style, '50s/'60s jazz music and for his fresh crudite platter, he prefers a Jack Johnson summer vibe.
Spread out your colours for lots of contrast
The same colour vegetables don't have to all be in the same area. Spread your peas, cucumbers and green beans out in different sections throughout the board, not all together, allowing for optimal contrast with the ingredient beside them. The same thing goes for your charcuterie board – break up the colour of your cured meats with olives and blocks of cheese.
Plate in odd numbers
Odd numbers always looks better than even. When making a crudite platter, 3 bowls of dip vs. 4 will always be more eye catching. On your charcuterie board, adding 3 blocks of cheese of different textures and sizes will really make everything pop.
Work from the top left corner to the bottom right
Dennis likes to start the design in the top left corner and then create movement to drag your eye all the way to the bottom right. You can do this by creating focal points in the top left corner, like a large block of brie that really pops out. Create movement by adding other focal points to move your eye to the bottom right corner.
Choose your ingredients wisely
For a charcuterie and cheese board Dennis loves to use a variety of his favourite ingredients. He suggests incorporating a selection of cured meats, wheels of brie, roasted garlic halves, cherry tomatoes on the vine, crostini, olives, fresh fruit, jams and mustards. To add a pop of colour garnish with Dennis' signature, fresh Italian parsley sprigs. For your crudite platter, lots of bright coloured vegetables are the way to go. No need to make dips – buy store-bought hummus, guacamole and tzatziki sauce and then simply jazz them up by garnishing. Think roasted chickpeas tossed in chili powder, lemon and olive oil, pomegranate and feta for the guac and fresh dill and cayenne for the tzatziki sauce.