Posts Tagged ‘Food styling workshops’

I recently went back to Japan to celebrate my Grandmother’s 95th birthday. I travelled around visiting temples, old friends and well, eating! Every other shop in Japan is a food shop of some kind whether it is a restaurant, cafe, bar, speciality bakery or supermarket. It is quite strange how the Japanese manage to stay so thin!! Every restaurant and cafe has a window display of fake food showcasing their menu. This food is all made of resin but is so incredibly well done that it is by looking at this plastic food you decide what you feel like eating.( It is also a godsend for any bemused foreigner who is struggling to make sense of a Japanese menu!)





Kappabashi is an area of Tokyo which is famous for kitchen shops, restaurant retail shops, amazing Japanese knife shops and plastic food shops. I signed up for a one hour course on how to make fake food. They taught us the traditional method of using wax instead of resin. (All this food was made of wax originally until resin was decided to be longer lasting) It was facsinating!! We made lettuce and tempura….





I then treated myself to a couple of kits where you can do this at home… just for fun! As you do!





ice sundae

And Voila! A delicious plastic and silicon ice cream sundae!! You can order these kits online at www.ganso-sample.com. The instructions are in Japanese but there are very good diagrams to follow.


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Last week I was lucky enough to attend a food photography and styling course here in Dubai. It was held by Meeta K Wolff who is the author of the very successful ‘Whats for lunch Honey?’ blog. It was organized by Sally Prosser of My Custard Pie  blog fame and was held at Nasimi Beach at Atlantis where I have to say we were totally spoilt! We had cocktail demonstrations and cooking demonstrations from their talented chefs as well as a full on Arabian banquet in the evening where all course attendees got to know each other better after our first day of learning. It was great to talk and share with other bloggers and foodies.

It was very inspirational to hear how Meeta has developed her skills of photography and food styling over the years driven by her love of food and to learn of the success she is now experiencing. I personally learnt  a lot about my camera, what I want from my camera and how to use it as a proper tool.


Cocktails and Chefs

On day two we all met at Lafayette Gourmet at Galleries Lafayette for a guided tour by Chef Russell and for more photography challenges!

Meeta showing us how its done!!

A huge thank you to Meeta, Sally and Alison from Nasimi for all the effort and organization that went into this inspiring course!

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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.

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This week I had the privilege of meeting Scott Crawley who together with Richard Lambert and Executive Chef, Andrew Burn run Yes Chef! We did a food shoot for their new website which will be up and running in the next few weeks.

Andrew created delicious meal after delicious meal. The shoot was fast with 10 shots per day so the food was being shot fresh from the kitchen without the need for all the usual food styling tricks. It is of course better to shoot food in this way and there is the added bonus of us being able to sample all these amazing dishes afterwards.

Yes Chef! having been going for about a year, successfully doing private parties, co-orporate functions, fine dining and even bbq’s. They will be expanding into restaurants, school meals, healthy eating and more!

I took some quick shots of behind the scenes…..

Nick the photographer

Andy in the kitchen

Arranging the food

And of the food…..

Mouth-watering bbq grill

Pan fried sultan ibrahim on a bed of grilled vegetables

Selection of bread from their own bakery

The photographer Nick England used a combination of day light with a little flash to achieve this look. The shots looked great. My own favorite dish was the Yes Chef! spiced pineapple with vanilla ice cream. The pineapple was gently simmered in sugar with an array of spices including chilli which gave it a little kick and looked amazing on the plate! See Nick’s shot of the dish below…..

The team from Yes Chef! are natural hosts and really funny too and i can’t wait to see their website when it is up and running!!!

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Last week I was in Singapore for a two-day food styling workshop with L.A. food stylist Denise Vivaldo. She was absolutely amazing! We got great advice about food, how to work with clients and how to work with photographers. Denise shared so many tips and experiences from her very successful 25 year career. There were fifteen of us who had travelled from all over; Russia, Melbourne, Philipines, Pakistan and of course Dubai. Watch my video of some of the workshop highlights…..

Follow Denise and her team on her blog: foodfanaticsunwashed.com or to find out more about the workshops she runs on www.FoodStylingWorkshop.com. I would like to say a huge personal thank you to Denise for being so inspiring and encouraging!

Singapore is a vibrant city and although it is fairly small in size it packs a lot in! I had a wonderful time exploring the street food stalls, visiting tourists sights and just generally observing how people live and move around the city. I look forward to visiting this lovely city again and next time maybe even staying at Raffles!!!!

Again a massive thank you to Xan Blacker for having the patience of a saint!!! And another massive thank you to the agency at Bareface for helping to make this trip possible. You’re all gorgeous!!!!

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