Photo by James PettsCreative Commons License.

A garnish is an item or substance used as a decoration or embellishment accompanying a prepared food dish or drink. In many cases, it may give added or contrasting flavor (Wikipedia, nd).


Difficulty to learn: Easy

Some Thoughts For You:

For the most part, a garnish is a non-essential part of a recipe that simply serves to either kick the presentation of the dish or the flavor up a notch. If you have gone to any upscale restaurant, you have likely seen a garnish in use (picture the pile of leafy green atop your pasta).

Technically, a garnish does not need to be edible. A small paper umbrella on a cocktail would be another example of a garnish.

In the end, the main key to garnishing is do not overdo it. A little goes a long way for garnishing.

What You Will Need:

The garnish typically goes on top of the prepared food or drink, so it should be small, light, and unimposing. Good examples of garnish for foods include shaved vegetables, chives, specks of herbs, or a sprig of parsley. You can also consider drizzling a light sauce over the dish.

Fake garnishes can also be used, like plastic greens, but be careful if serving the dish to others as they may accidentally ingest it.

Tips For You:

  • A garnish should compliment the dish. A sauce garnish would be slightly wasted when used for a soup, and a plastic umbrella would be a little tacky for chicken Parmesan.
  • Not every dish needs a garnish! Keep it simple when in doubt.

Some Links To Help With Preparation: