Platers Gonna Plate

Photo credit: www.wewantplates.com

Rachel Gaffney has joined the cruasade to bring plates back to restaurant tables for the good of diners everywhere.

“A great meal wasn’t it? Pity about the plate though- would have enjoyed being served these chips in a children’s toy truck!”- said nobody, ever. It is highly doubtful that anyone has ever lamented being served a meal on an actual plate. And why would they? That is the sole purpose of the plate: to be eaten off.

The people behind the website, and subsequent Facebook and Twitter pages, over at “We Want Plates” would most definitely agree. Self-described as fighting the “crusade against serving food on bits of wood and roof-slates, jam-jar drinks and chips in mugs”, the Twitter page alone has over 78,000 followers. An increasingly popular, and some would say revolutionary movement, is perhaps an indication that this society has not yet been overthrown by hipster nonsense.

Prosecco in a spotted wellington boot, paté on a shoulder bone (hopefully not human and hopefully not real), ice-cream on a car license plate – the more ridiculous the better, it seems. One finds themselves asking firstly, why did this happen? What led to the conclusion that some “artistic” type was allowed to make and serve people food this way, or ever think this was a good idea? And finally, how much extra do they charge for these shenanigans?

This could quite easily be a method of creating publicity, for restaurants to be talked about and remembered in an increasingly competitive food sector, but is serving the most Instagram-worthy dish a goal that these establishments strive to achieve? It could also possibly be an attempt to disguise and distract from a lower quality product. Another belief is that this trend is either a result of a social experiment conducted by those in the catering industry or simply an excuse to raise prices. Chefs could be laughing evilly at us from behind those swinging doors. “Those idiots,” they could be saying, “paying almost double the price for those sausages to be served on a miniature toy skull. What else can we make them over-pay for?”

Or maybe it’s the society we live in, obsessed with the new and the different, that has led to this irritation being added to the dining experience.
Presentation is undoubtedly extremely important, but how can it be distinguished what is going too far? It does not need to go from one extreme to the other – we shouldn’t have to choose between a meal looking like it belongs in the dog’s dish or having to drink your cocktail with two hands because it’s in a jam-jar. If it hinders your ability to actually eat the food being paid for, then it would be reasonable to say that it has been taken too far (anything with sauce for instance, should probably not be served on a small slab of wood).

Often the worst offenders of these crimes against plates are the relatively small bars or gastro pubs. They are just trying to make a profit, but it surely costs less to simply serve their food on what it is intended to be served on.
Without naming and shaming the worst offenders (you know who you are), if there is enough public outrage at the plate shortage in restaurants hopefully this will resolve itself in the not too distant future, and we plate crusaders can rest easy knowing that this was just another silly hipster trend.