Trovato worked in just about every part of the cooking world before she became a food stylist, and her experiences as a party giver, caterer, culinary school student, line cook, sous chef, private chef, restaurant owner and banquet chef all taught her one important lesson:""flavor and balance are the most important aspects of a dish; but without beautiful presentation, they're essentially lost."" It's surprising then, she says, that cookbooks rarely give any advice about plating a dish. In her guide, she teaches readers to""style outside the box,"" encouraging them to serve hot chocolate in fancy brandy snifters and goat cheese hors d'oeuvres on curly lettuce leaves. Each of her delicious recipes is followed by two style ideas (one formal, one casual) to help readers understand how the same dish can be served in multiple ways. For example, Grilled Tuscan-Style Steak with Focaccia Salsa can be brought to the table on a pretty wooden cutting board for a family dinner, or it can be thinly sliced and arranged in an S-pattern for a more elegant meal. Trovato's down-to-earth tone is particularly refreshing. Though many of this book's presentations involve exotic ceramics and unusual linens, she encourages readers to use whatever they already have around the house, reminding them that""more often than not, necessity is the mother of invention."" Some quick tips on party planning round out this useful volume, which could teach anyone to make food look magazine good.