The art of plating - Smoked gigha halibut, shrimp & seaweed sauce by Adam Reid


1.Plate selection

The plate is handmade stoneware pottery by Paul Mossman. His style has a rugged, everyday

‘humbleness’, not too refined. Each plate has a simplistic white glaze finish which doesn’t override the food on the plate. It’s a coupe plate which has no flat bottom, so everything pools in the bottom and is contained, which is vital to the dish.


2. Colours

The dish has a natural beauty and there are no artificial colours. In essence, it’s very bland and pale but the personality comes through. The photo looks very elaborate but it’s actually a very simple dish, similar to

a chowder.


3. Fish

The halibut is placed in the centre of the dish, which is then taken to the table on a tray to enable the server to land the tray on the table along with a pan of sauce and a spoon.


4. Serving

The server finishes the dish

off in front of the customer, spooning the sauce over the fish whilst describing the dish. The more you can interact with the customer, the more relevant it is. It’s a simple technique but it’s all about the theatre of it. The wow factor comes from smothering the halibut in sauce and then it pools in the dish.



Adam Reid is the acclaimed chef-patron of The French in the historic Midland Hotel in Manchester.

Adam is no stranger to cooking beautifully presented plates of food. He cooked the main course for the Great British Menu 2019 banquet with his winning dish ‘Comfort Food Sounds Good’. His dessert ‘Golden Empire’, also made it through to the Great British Menu banquet in 2016.


The halibut is farmed in Scotland. We buy the whole fish and then fillet it. It’s lightly cured in rock salt to tighten up the flesh and draw out excess liquid so the flakes come off cleanly. Once it’s cured, we cold smoke it over oak.

The sauce is rich and creamy, and flavoured with smoked roe whilst the natural colour comes from the brown shrimps, trout roe and three types of seaweed. Nothing is added purely to create visually attractive food. No one ingredient stands out as we want them all to marry together and create one composite flavour.

It’s impossible to eat any element on its own - the flavours amalgamate and you are forced to eat the halibut with the sauce, which is exactly how I wanted it to be.


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