Thursday, August 3, 2017

Food from a semi-food expert

I have worked as a cook for a couple years now and watching the videos about "Mindless Eating" ring absolutely true in real life. Brian Wansink is a person with a PhD and multiple scholarly articles and a published book about the topic does not need more backing evidence, but I will provide it regardless. Working in kitchens has taught me a few things about food, not just how to cook it or what certain things go with well, but more about how to get people to eat the food. Most of what I have learned is more about atmosphere of the restaurant, and presentation of the food. Most people do not take into account that how a plate looks, will make them enjoy the food more, but it does. For example this is a picture of the Grilled Salmon entree at the place I work at:
The plate has a distinctive and it is a pretty plate. This allows for someone to look at it and think, "wow I can't wait to eat this, it looks so good." This also makes other tables see the plate and possibly want to order it because it looks good. If the plating were less visually appealing then it would not look as good and your brain would not be as excited to eat it. It also makes the food "taste better" because it is pretty, you automatically think that it is good, therefore when you eat it, you think its good (it is actually really good in this particular instance).

Another factor that Brian Wansink brought up is the size of the plate. That from a restaurant stand point is really important. If we serve a dish on two different size plates, a customer will either feel like they got ripped off or they got a great value. If the plate is too big then the person will think that there is not as much food which effects not only how pretty the plate is but also how much they eat and if they are getting a good value.


  1. I too have spent many years working in the restaurant atmosphere. I thought it was very interesting when you stated that you had learn how to get people to want to eat the food. It is amazing that appearance can affect what or how much of something, an individual will eat or want to eat.

    Also the two plate concept is def. true. For example, I bartend and some compaines give us tall beer glasses (pilsner style glasses) while others give the typical pint classes. People will demand the tall pilsner class because they swear they will receive more beer. I have actually told them it is more of an optical illusion. I will pour water into a pint glass, then into the "tall" glass and show them it is the same amount of fluids.

    So, I agree appearance is a huge aspect in how people perceive things and will desire things, especially in the restaurant industry.

    1. Brian Wansink also talks about "mindless eating" and recommends making changes to our environments, but as this post and the response demonstrate, we can’t change what's working against us in the restaurant industry. U.S. restaurants definitely tend to serve bigger portions, on bigger plates, and in bigger glasses, etc., so like with beer glasses, people now expect bigger portion sizes when they eat and drink out. This definitely makes if difficult overcome when our stomachs trick us (“Bottomless Bowls: Why Visual Cues of Portion Size May Influence Intake”) and to overcome distractions that keep us from feeling full. I guess we can try to remember one of his recommendations in the “Mindless Eating” YouTube video, which is when we do eat out, we should only have two courses (an appetizer and an main course, or a main course and a side, or a main course and a dessert, but never all three), but we still certainly have a lot working against us in when we go out to eat/drink here in the U.S.