One brilliant aspect about "deconstructing" plates is the freedom in making mistakes. When learning the art of plating, it takes time in order to create your own style... what sets you apart from another individual... what is aesthetically pleasing not only to you, but others as well?
Let's run through an example.
In front of you lies a series of already prepared elements of a dessert that, when paired together, transform into a mouth-watering blend of flavors and textures:
Bourbon-poached fresh figs
Ground toasted pistachios
Pistachio genoise cake
A traditional manner of plating this dish...
Creme anglaise on the bottom of the plate. Then pistachio genoise, topped with poached figs, crumble, pistachios, flowers on top and ice-cream on the side.
Nothing is wrong with this traditional approach. It is more of an "expected" presentation.
But what happens if there are only a few corner pieces of cake, the figs may not look as "perfect" as one had hoped, the crumble is a little "clumsy?"
Rather than discard the "scraps," challenge them to create the same dessert... just arrange in a more artistic manner. "C'est toujours une solution." (There is always a solution).
This time... creme anglaise still on the bottom of the plate... then the 'scraps' of genoise cake with the poached figs interspersed between the cake. Dust with a sprinkle of the ground pistachios and add the strudel crumble around the side of the cake. To finish, add a perfect quenelle of the lavender ice-cream, then edible flowers.
Do not color inside of the lines. Well, let me back-up... when preparing the food (ex- baking a cake) - it is essential to follow the recipe. Pastry is a science. If you do not have the correct ratios, then the final result will probably not meet your expected intentions. With cuisine, there is more leeway... it is the more 'forgiving' of the culinary arts... but we shall touch on that subject at a latter time. Be that as it may, when baking, be sure to follow the recipe. However, when plating, be creative. Your white plate is your blank canvas. Use sauces as "paint." Use pastry brushes in order to "paint" designs with your sauces. Use fruits in order to incorporate more color into your final presentation. Toast nuts and grind into a fine powder in order to add a crunchy texture, as well as "soft" element to dance across the plate. I am no stranger to edible flowers and micro-greens... I believe that they can add another beautiful element to the plate when properly used (showcased, as opposed to overkill).
"Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better." - Andre Gide