Introduction to Garnishes

Interested in a career in commercial cookery?Much of our appreciation of food stems from its presentation. Garnishes are primarily an edible decorative item used to enhance the look of a plated meal or dish. A Certificate III in Commercial Cookery will introduce you to contemporary garnishes.

Each enterprise will have its own standard of garnish for each dish it supplies. You will need to coordinate with your immediate supervisor as to what exactly these requirements might be. Different garnishes will compliment different meals as seen in the following table:


Dish or meal

Lemon wedges

Fish and seafood

Lime wedges

Fish, Asian dishes


All food items

Salad cluster, e.g. lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber

Grills and steaks

Sesame and cucumber dip

Asian foods, e.g. Thai fish cakes

Toffee lattices


Pineapple rings

Grilled gammon and pork

Ground black pepper (seasoning)

All food items

Lemon grass

Eastern theme, curry-based dishes

Sculptured or carved vegetables

Chinese dishes

Sprigs of mint


Check points for Garnishes: 

  • Should be freshly prepared, moist and not dried up and crispy

  • A proportionate amount of garnish should be applied to each dish

  • The garnish should be placed on the dish to the venue standard

  • The standard garnish for the dish should be the only one used

  • The garnish must not overpower the meal

  • Choose a garnish suitable to the temperature of the food being served, e.g. a garnish that has the potential to become limp should not be placed on hot food

Hygiene points to consider with the application of garnishes:

  • All garnishes should be cleaned well during preparation including the washing of lemons and other citrus fruits

  • Garnishes should be handled as little as possible once prepared

Remember: Use foods and garnishes that give variety and contrast to your presentation – and do not over do it.

Learn how to create contemporary garnishes by undertaking a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery.