Moritsuke; the art of Japanese food arrangement

Wakami Saab, the talent behind Tavola

Wakami Saab, the talent behind Tavola

Dubai; If you were asked to pick a country that prides itself on creating artistic masterpieces in the kitchen, then am pretty sure Japan would be top of the list. Thanks to a travel stint round the country last year and a weakness for sashimi, FooDiva’s developed a fascination for all things Japanese, so much so it’s my all-time favourite cuisine. Couple that with a strong belief that food presentation is as important as taste and flavour, that’s how I ended up at a workshop hosted by the wonderful Japanese lady that makes up Wakami Saab, manager and talent behind home-grown retail brand Tavola. She was educating a bunch of us foodie bloggers on the art of Japanese food arrangement, otherwise known as ‘Moritsuke’.


Beef wrapped asparagus 'sashimi'

Here’s what FooDiva digested:

  • Moritsuke follows seven basic patterns along the lines of sugimori (strips and slices of food in a slanting pile), kasanemori (overlapping slices) and tawaramori (blocks or rounds placed horizontally in a pyramid).
  • Two thirds of Japan is mountainous including the famous Mount Fuji, with the aim of recreating nature in the kitchen.
  • Odd numbers are revered, in particular the number three. (Note to self; four is an unlucky number bringing bad luck. There goes my birthday!)
  • Therefore ingredients are presented in a triangle, even if on a square or round plate. Or if you prefer to go high, a pyramid.
  • Always leave a plate 30% empty.
  • A dish should reflect the five monochrome and primary colours representing nature; white, black, yellow, red and blue. Japanese see the latter as green apparently. And if you’re thinking you need to burn your food to get black, earthy brown ingredients are perfectly acceptable!

Potato salad a la Japanese

You can see for yourself from these photos how the Moritsuke presentation tips pan out.


Marinated beef tenderloin

Last but not least, Wakami demonstrated how to create a flower out of a radish – this photo is self-explanatory. Bring on the chopsticks!


Creating a radish flower

Do you have a particular trick when presenting your food? How important is presentation to you, or is it simply taste and flavour?

Tavola, the purveyor of all things kitchen and dining has a number of stores in the U.A.E and across the GCC. T; +971 4 3448495.

A bientôt.

FooDiva. x

P.S – Huge, heartfelt thank you to fellow foodie blogger Kari from Chef and Steward for pulling this exceptional event together.

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5 Responses to “Moritsuke; the art of Japanese food arrangement”

  1. Chef and Steward September 30, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    We have yet another thing in common! We are also fascinated with Japanese food :). Great post and thanks for your kind words. The Tavola team came together to stage this wonderful event!

  2. I Live in a Frying Pan September 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Wow you’re such a good listener, I don’t even remember half those technical names and facts, all I remember was the height of the plating and the color schema, so this is a really good refresher!

    • FooDiva October 1, 2011 at 7:59 am

      Hey Arva – well that’s only because I recorded it! And did some follow-up research 🙂 If you want a copy of the audio file, just let me know. x

  3. Dima's Kitchen October 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Samantha! So it was your recorder? I saw that and thought I am so nicking the recorder idea lol
    thanks for the details, will be linking to you soon 🙂

    • FooDiva October 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      Hi Dima. Recording is a life-saver, and essential for getting facts right. Appreciate the link thank you 🙂

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