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Presenting food like a masterpiece makes it more flavorful

Food arranged to resemble a work of art tastes better than if ingredients are arranged neatly or tossed together on a plate, according to research published in the open access journal Flavour. So, to improve our mealtimes, chef Jozef Youssef and our own design team have created meals inspired by famous artworks by the likes of Picasso, Magritte and Rothko.

To research the impact of aesthetic food arrangements, scientists and a chef at the Crossmodal Research Lab at the University of Oxford created a salad that looks like Wassily Kandinsky’s ‘Painting Number 201’, a regular salad presentation and a salad neatly laid out. 60 participants sampled the three salads in the lab and rated them for flavor and enjoyment. Overall, they rated the ‘artistic’ salad as more pleasant and more flavorful.

The authors say the way food is arranged on the plate affects our perception of taste and our enjoyment of a dish - another demonstration of just how interlinked our senses really are.

Chef and founder of Kitchen Theory Jozef Youssef and our own team of BioMed Central designers have been having fun with the research and added their own delicious copies of famous artworks to our Taste gallery.

And now we are asking the public to share their own attempts at creating famous masterpieces. On the 20th June, we will ask the public to tweet and share their photos art-inspired food to the hashtag #ArtisticTaste, and letting us know how they taste.

Professor Charles Spence, from the Crossmodal Research Lab said: “Studying food presentation under the lens of psychology and sensory science promises to provide important insights into the art and science of plating.”

Charles Michel, a freelance chef and researcher at the Crossmodal Research Lab said: “Using artistic inspiration in the design of the culinary experience, even when used implicitly, can indeed enhance the enjoyment of food.”


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Notes to Editor

A taste of Kandinsky: Assessing the influence of the artistic visual presentation of food on the dining experience.
Charles Michel, Carlos Velasco, Elia Gatti and Charles Spence
Flavour 2014, 3: 7

After embargo, article available at journal website

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Flavour is a peer-reviewed, open access, online journal that publishes interdisciplinary articles on flavour, its generation and perception, and its influence on behaviour and nutrition. The journal publishes articles from all relevant disciplines including neuroscience, genetics, food chemistry, sensory science, psychology and philosophy.

BioMed Central ( is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector./p>