If you have mastered sushi rice and have perfected your rolling technique, you will no doubt be wondering how best to present and serve sushi to your guests. In Japan, we say that you also eat with your eyes, so presentation is as important as how a dish tastes. Arranging sushi is an enjoyable part of the process and it doesn’t need to be too complicated.
Less is more, both in terms of presentation and portion size. There is no need to completely fill the plate. You can re-stock later. I love to present a few pieces of sushi on one dish, leaving space to balance the layout. Choose different types of plates, or tiles and practice by placing all of the sushi to one side with equal proportions of empty space.
I often make reference to the seasons on the plate, as many Japanese art forms do; the Haiku for example. You could add some edible flowers from the garden to dress the table or platter. We sometimes go as far as deep frying momiji – edible maple leaves; the deep reds refer to the seasonal falling leaves in autumn. Try working with contrasting colours that accentuate those found in the sushi itself.
There is a Japanese term called ‘Wabi-Sabi’ which is very useful in terms of understanding the Japanese aesthetic. It is also the key to a successful, enjoyable presentation of a dish. Wabi Sabi is a poetic, complex term, which describes the beauty of transience and at times, the imperfection found in nature. So what does this mean when presenting sushi? Don’t be afraid to scatter or cluster rolls rather than lining them up in neat rows. There is no need for exact symmetry. Present naturally and take pleasure in those small mistakes!
This was first published in Countlan online magazine and it also features an interview with me, read more here: Presenting Sushi – Countlan Magazine Article