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Simple Ways to Make Your Party Food Look Fancy

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You’ve got a party coming up and you want it to be special, but you don’t have a lot of time. You could just grab a fruit or veggie tray from the supermarket, but that’s rather boring.

What can you do?

We have some fun ideas for ways you can make whatever food you’re preparing look just a little fancier than usual. Try these out and impress your guests!

Use Skewers

Take your fruits and veggies and make them special by putting them on a skewer. Alternate pieces with a little cheese to make them more appetizing.

Put It On a White Plate

Whatever you’re serving, if you put it on a crisp white plate, it will instantly look fancier. The white helps the food shine and is the color most often used to take pictures of food in fancy restaurants.

Bring on the Bouquet

Putting a bouquet in the middle of your table adds instant class. Even just small vases of flowers—whatever is seasonal or on sale—help make a meal more of an occasion.

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Try a Fruit Bouquet

Impress your guests even more if you place a fruit bouquet in the center of the table. It’s unique, edible, and pretty!

Give Fruit Skins a Second Life

Save those fruit skins after you’re done peeling! They can serve as colorful decorative pieces on a plate. If you can keep a large fruit skin intact—such as that from an orange or apple—you can use the hollowed-out skin as a dish, and put little pieces of fruit and cheese into it.

Love the Linens

Your tablecloth and napkins can make your table and the food on it look like it belongs in a five-star restaurant. Invest in a set of cloth napkins and tablecloth that you can re-use whenever you need them.

Think About Color

Whenever you’re assembling your appetizers or treats, consider color. It’s usually best if you choose three to four items of different colors to create a festive and appealing choice. Whether on a plate or skewer or in a dish, items of different colors can look fancy even when the items themselves are ordinary.

Shun the Plastic

Plastic containers never look as nice as glassware or ceramic dishes. Save the plastic serving ware and plates for your ordinary meals, and pull out the white ceramic and glass dishes for the party. These don’t have to be expensive—you can find nice-looking white dishes and glassware at the thrift or antique shop.

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Make It Bite-Sized

Almost anything can feel special or fancy if you make it bite-sized. Consider using wonton wrappers or chip bowls to serve up bite-sized salads. Tiny white dishes also make great appetizer serving bowls.

Slice it Diagonally

You may usually use a straight cut when chopping up your fruits and veggies. You can make them look classier by slicing them on the diagonal. It’s a small change that can make a big difference!

Consider the Lighting

When the experts photograph fancy restaurant food, the first thing they’re thinking about is the lighting. Your dining room isn’t a professional photography studio, but you can make it look fancy by adjusting the light.

Try a few lit votive candles around the room, soften the overhead light if you can (using a dimmer), and place a couple of floor lamps with soft bulbs at the edges. If you’ve got a fancy scarf, you can even toss that over a lamp if it fits the mood.

Vary the Height

Create some height in your appetizers by making some items taller than others. There’s something about this look that seems fancier—a more 3D effect than if everything sits flat on the plate or other serving tray. A fruit tray with some items standing up, for instance, will look fancier than one with all the pieces laying down.

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Garnish It

Everything looks better with a little something extra on the top. Herbs work great for meal items, as does a little olive oil, a swipe of butter, a green shimmer of pesto, a dollop of sour cream, celery leaves, a piece of lemon, some microgreens, a smattering of Parmesan cheese, or even some coarsely ground salt and pepper. If it’s a sweet item, consider adding some toppings like nuts, seeds, raisins, or a little Maraschino cherry.

Wrap It Up

Wrap your appetizer in lettuce, bacon, croissants, or whatever else sounds good. It will give your dish that bit of fancy packaging and make it just different enough that your guests will have to try it out.

Get the Spices

Just like a garnish can make an item look fancier, so can a sprinkling of spice. It adds some flavor, yes, but it will also add some color. Think paprika, chili powder, chili flakes, sumac, and more.

Whether you’re going for traditional party foods or experimenting with unique eats, there’s no reason for party food to be boring. Snazz it up and make your party food fancy with these helpful tips.

About Chef Lilian

Your favorite recipe author, faithful to every course. Mail me at chef@foodwellsaid.com

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