Making the Most of Food Demos
Making the Most of Food Demos
You’ve planned and prepped for your
demonstration, so all the basics are covered.
However, the finer points of conducting a food demo are often
overlooked. Follow these Dos and Don’ts to help you feel more
confident and prepared on demo day.
DO Create a visually-appealing setting
Display
•Make an attractive display on your presentation
table (where you’ll set your finished plate)
or on the corner or edge of your food-prep
surface (but make sure you have room to work
unencumbered).
Height
•Vary the height of the objects in your display
to enhance visual appeal. Use attractive cake
plates and other display pieces for some items
in your display, but don’t go so high that it’s
distracting.
•Use fresh ingredients as part of your display.
For example, if you’re fixing pineapple coleslaw
as a side-dish, use a fresh pineapple and/or a
variety of types of cabbage as props in your
display.
•Place overturned bowls, blocks of wood, or
Lucite blocks underneath the tablecloth to
create height. In a pinch, use folded paper
towels under display items, but make sure the
audience cannot see the paper towels.
•Use the boxes from the frozen entrées in your
demonstration as part of the display – they are
colorful and the audience can see exactly what
to look for when shopping.
DO Consider color, texture, and seasonality when plating food
•When plating food, use a solid-colored plate in
a color that contrasts with the food. A white or
black 8-inch plate works best.
•Garnish entrées and side dishes when
appropriate with fresh herbs, citrus zest or other
colorful and interesting ingredients.
•Create a color combination of foods – seasonal
salads, vegetable dishes and fruits, and grain
side dishes add color.
Presenting Balance Your Plate
Making the Most of Food Demos
15
Making the Most of Food Demos
DO Use the right equipment
•Use clear bowls, mixing and liquid measuring
cups for ingredients, so the audience can better
see the ingredients and how you’re preparing
the food.
•Choose containers that are appropriate for the
food – fruits and vegetables look great displayed
in baskets, and beverages in interesting, clear
pitchers have eye appeal.
•Use wooden spoons and rubber spatulas;
they are not as noisy as metal utensils, and
therefore less distracting.
DO Have a system
•Prepare ingredients ahead of time (chopping,
slicing, shredding, etc.) so you don’t waste time
on these tasks during your demo.
•Arrange all of your ingredients on one side of
your bowl or plate (consider putting them on a
tray) and after you’ve used them, move them
to the other side – you’ll be less likely to forget
an ingredient.
•Tell the audience what the ingredients are.
When you do a TV demo, show some of the
ingredients and finished product to the camera
(tilt the plate or bowl toward the camera
slightly). Before the segment starts, tell the host
and camera man how you will move around
ingredients and dishes, so they can plan where
to stand, which cameras to use, which angles
to feature, etc.
DO Talk and interact with the audience in a casual, friendly, yet professional
manner
•Involve the audience/host by asking them
questions about how to balance their plate and/
or what their challenges are when it comes to
eating healthfully.
•If you’re doing a TV demo, act as if you are
having a conversation with the host about
balancing the plate, rather than “giving a
presentation.”
•Have fun!
Presenting Balance Your Plate
Making the Most of Food Demos
16
Making the Most of Food Demos
DON’T Forget to consider your own appearance
•Choose a simple shirt that won’t get in your
way when cooking, and wear comfortable,
appropriate shoes.
•An apron is always appropriate, but not
necessary. Keep a clean towel nearby to
wipe your hands.
•For TV, choose a comfortable, simple top
or dress in a solid color that best suits you
(men should choose a solid color shirt).
Do not wear white, black, or red. Keep
jewelry simple and stylish.
•Hair should be neat, hands clean, and nails
trimmed.
DON’T Forget to practice, practice, practice
•Memorize your recipe(s).
•Practice your demo using your note cards
or outline.
•You want the audience to see how easy this
can really be so you’ll want to be as organized
and relaxed as possible.
DON’T Forget to use good sanitation/food safety practices
•Wash your hands just prior to beginning your
demo and always after handling raw animal
products (if applicable).
•Don’t use your fingers to remove ingredients
from spoons or wipe drips off plates.
•Keep a kitchen towel and a clean, damp
kitchen cloth in reach.
•Don’t touch your face and hair during your
demo.
•If using a knife, remember your safety and be
careful. If chopping, look at what you are doing
and stop when you want to look up and address
the audience or camera (all the more reason to
prep most of the ingredients beforehand). Also,
if you “talk with your hands” be sure to put the
knife down so it isn’t waving in the air.
•Follow all package heating instructions to
ensure food reaches proper temperature.
•Use separate cutting boards and utensils for
raw animal foods and cooked foods.
Presenting Balance Your Plate
Making the Most of Food Demos
17
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