First, a little background. I am a home/amateur cook, self-taught. I enjoy entertaining and preparing meals for my guests and, in particular, I aim to create restaurant-caliber food. I have found some books that have helped me come a long way in my cooking skills, but my ongoing challenge is plating. I haven't found any particularly useful book for inspiring me or giving me guidance when it comes to plating. With that in mind, I pre-ordered this book as soon as I saw it, hoping it would finally be "the one" to take my plating skills to the next level. When it came, I knew I had to share my experiences to hopefully help others.
This book has exactly (as the title describes) 1,000 photos of various food plates (well not all food -- maybe 100-150 of them are beverages). Outside of the intro and the chapter titles (the chapters include Color, Global, All Natural, and Heat), plus the location of the photo and name of the photographer, there is basically no text. That means no how-tos, tips for plating, or anything else like that. It is literally and precisely a picture book.
Since the entire book is about its pictures, the real question, then, is how good are the pictures? Frankly, there is a wide range -- some are very simple, clearly more about the photography itself than about the food (for example, a full page photo of a bar with Miller Light bottles, empty shot glasses, and a Miller Light bucket is more than underwhelming). Fortunately, those photos only seem to comprise maybe 30-50 of the 1,000 photos. There are a similar number of photos showing beverages that are nice, but not helpful to me since they are not of food. Next, there are the home cook types of photos -- showing relatively unsophisticated platings of food, which are more than half of the remaining photos. The platings of these dishes range from quite nice to something that I think most cooks could easily replicate at home. The remaining photos look more like higher-end restaurant dishes -- and these are the ones I find most valuable. Again, don't expect technique, but if you are looking for inspiration on how to prepare a dish so that you can model yours after the picture, I think you'll find them quite useful.
I understand that my objectives may differ from others -- indeed, if you're looking for a coffee table book with great food and drink photos, you'll find this to be spot on. If you're looking for something for inspiration on plating -- I think you can extract quite a bit of value out of this book as well, but you will have to look elsewhere if you want tips or techniques to go with the photos.