I have just returned from Singapore where I attended the Food Styling Master Class for the second year. This is taught by LA food stylist Denise Vivaldo. It was wonderful to see her again and she was full of food styling advice, industry tips and of course fascinating Hollywood stories. There were three of us from last year who travelled from Australia, Russia and Dubai with new students from the Philipines, Hong Kong, Italy and Singapore.
As well as covering the all important hamburger and cheese pull, this year we covered packaged food, grill marks, plating noodles and pasta techniques, working with frozen deserts ie real ice cream, ice lollys etc, foam on beer, chocolate, pie crusts and cheesecakes and fake bbqs.
It was all fascinating to me, here are some images of Denise’s demonstrations and my work….
TIP: With frozen microwave food It is important to get the proportions right. Usually there isn’t much food so use smaller plates. This may seem a bit of a con but legally the weight is correct so it is not false advertising.
TIP: Noodle and pasta need a little support so place vegetable shortening, stiff mash potato or cotton wool in the base of the bowl so the noodles don’t slump down. Place the noodles on top and try to create some movement in the bowl. Small droplets of fat/oil in the sauce can create a jewelled effect on camera. Only add the sauce once the dish is on set to stop the noodles from going mushy.
TIP: Heat grill pan, and spray both the pan and food item with oil. Hold down and don’t move it around. It doesn’t matter if its not cooked through, no one will eat it. Spray with a darkening agent, kitchen bouquet or soy sauce. Fix lines with an eye brow pencil if you need to.
Other gems we learnt were:
- Use red lipstick to enhance tomatoes and pears.
- Paint lobster and prawns with a little pink nail varnish to make their colouring more uniform for the camera.
- Spray varnish french fries after they have been cooked to protect them from the air and so from going limp.
There was so much more and these tips and techniques can all be found in Denise’s new (award winning!) food styling book, The Food Stylist’s Handbook.
Once again, thank you Denise for all your inspiration and humour! And thank you to Palette Sensations Cookery School.