THE MAGIC OF A GOOD DISPLAY
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
By: Jillian Hillard
In this industry, we have heard it a hundred times "customers eat with their eyes." Desserts that are aesthetically pleasing and evoke an emotion are the ones that get consumed so the pressure for the best presentation is high. For top notch pastry chefs or dessert business owners, the first step is creating the dessert itself which can be daunting in its own right, but then comes the next step of perfecting the display to entice passersby. Display cases and spaces will vary by business, but the top five tips for creating a pastry display as shared by the chefs at PreGel's Professional Training Center are great guidelines for creating a magical presentation and consumer experience. Here's what they shared:
1. For a pastry display, you must sweat the small stuff. According to PreGel AMERICA Assistant Pastry Chef Mike Downing, "the small details on individual pastries make a big difference in the overall look of the display case. When each individual pastry looks perfect, the whole case looks exponentially better."
2. Eye catching color is not just for pretty paintings on the wall. "Two of the most important details in a pastry case are flavor and color! The pastries have to catch your eye. They need to be clean, sharp and consistent, but with a touch of finesse," imparts Frederic Monti, corporate chef, PreGel AMERICA. Downing echoes Chef Monti's tip as he himself shares that color is always what catches his eye. He goes on to explain how to make the varying colors work in a case. "When arranging pastries in the display case, be sure to keep similar colors as separate from each other as possible. Really try to mix it up, and not have all the yellow pastries grouped together, and all the chocolate pastries grouped together, etc.," said Downing.
3. Perfectly placed and strategic lines aren't just for the military. Chef Monti knows a thing or two about showcasing a pristine presence both inside the kitchen and out, and shares that "for a clean consistent look, when you line up your tarts, petit gateaux, etc., make sure they are facing the same direction and they are angled the same way."
4. Plan and simple, keep it unique. Training Center Coordinator and Assistant Pastry Chef Alicia Stevens discloses what most catches her eye in a pastry display. "Unique packaging and presentation [catch my eye most] – when a pastry display is presented in an original way, I will always do a double take. I love to see how people incorporate their logos into their packaging and presentation."
5. Variety is the spice of life, and consumers love having a selection to feast their eyes on. "Make sure that you offer a good variety. You should offer something chocolate, something with fruits and a variety of textures," said Chef Monti. He goes on to reveal how to keep the variety current. "Try to use items based on their seasonality. Also take into account special requests from your customers. You might be in an area where a lot of people are looking for sugar-free or gluten free-items. Create what your customers want to buy."
Chef Monti says it best in the last tip as creating a pastry display is all about putting forth what your customers want. When you look at your display ask yourself, your staff and even customers what they like about it, what they would improve and most importantly would you buy something from it? Following these simple tips will help you maintain a pastry display that will yield many "ohhs and ahhs" from customers as they take in the magic of your creations.