Chefs: Put Down Your Squeeze Bottles

This would make Jackson Pollock too dizzy to eat.

All of your senses should be aroused when a plate of food is set in front of you. Before you take one bite, you’ve already eaten the dish with your eyes. The presentation of a dish is important. My eyes shut, my shoulders slump, and I breathe a heavy sigh each time I spy a dessert, entrée, or appetizer that has been assaulted with squiggles, swirls, dots, and curly cues of sauces, frostings, or oils forced through a squeeze bottle. Chefs, a little goes a long way. Not only is it outdated, it makes me think you are trying too hard to sell what is underneath. What started with the Hostess Cupcake (Halloween costume idea!), should stop now.

What presentation style turns you off?


  • Borborygmus

    I have no opinion on squirt bottles, but am considering Matt McAllister as my halloween costume.

  • It’s not really a presentation style. But, I’m very tired of sous vide.

  • TLS

    I cannot stand giant sandwiches that are impossible to put in a human mouth. I particularly dislike what Whiskey Cakes does. They take a giant sandwich, cut it in half and then stack them on top of each other and stab it with a pick. What the?

  • Slappy Kielbasa

    Micro greens.

  • realistic

    So out of curiosity Nancy, you don’t like dots squiggles, brushes, or curly cues? Since you are so ahead of the times, can you make some suggestions on how to plate a sauce that would be less offensive?

  • Realistic, of course it depends on the sauce. If it is chocolate sauce all over chocolate cake you could put the slice in a pool OR just do one stripe down the side. Or one big dot instead of seven.

  • Margie, how does one get “very tired of sous vide?”

  • Elizabeth Bair

    I’m with TLS. The bigger-than-your-face sandwich has to go. Also add modern Caesar salads to the list – the ones that come with whole hearts of romaine and all the components separated. Both are impossible to eat without embarassment during a business lunch.

  • Primi timpano

    Tower presentations, sweet potato fries, tasteless tomatoes, foamed anything, new steak restaurants, musical chair chefs, pasta drowned with sauce, new hamburger restaurants, “craft” beers (especially with silly names), to name a few on the top of my mind.

  • henry

    breastaurants ! (ok no really)

  • sara

    @Primi Timpano, good call!

  • Hospitality Instructor

    Tired of “craft” beer. Wow. This gray weather is getting to people’s heads. Are you also tired of “hand-ground” burgers and “fresh” pasta? WTF.

    And properly done, sous vide produces textural sensations that are inimitable through any other means. Once you have had braised short ribs a thousand times, you start yearning for a new experience. They happen to be amazing done in a long sous vide. Why would we frown on that?

  • That’s what I don’t like,,, the texture. Super-tender isn’t always what I’m craving. It seems unnatural to me, sometimes even mushy. And just the idea of that kind of cooking process doesn’t appeal to me. Sorry, just my opinion. Carry on with the sous vide, if that’s your preference.

  • I’m a personal fan of the one wide brush swipe of sauce/aioli/gelée, from plate edge to plate edge. Cedars Social does a nice job of this, and a few others around town…

  • FOH Manager

    Delete unnecessary lettuce. Especially when it’s served with guacamole. We know what you’re trying to do there, restaurants.

  • Kirk

    I agree – I’m sick of the junk that is squeezed all over the bottle. Just make it well and serve it! Is it possible to even order chocolate cake anymore without some raspberry sauce or something else squirted all over it?