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Posts Tagged ‘Food Stylist’

Recently I was asked to style a feature for BBC Good Food Magazine, ‘A Day in the Life of a Kitchen’. The venue chosen was the new Sapori Di Bice on Citywalk, Jumeirah. It is a large, bright, airy restaurant, with a welcoming atmosphere. The latest venture of the Bice group, Sapori Di Bice is more family friendly offering all day dining from breakfasts to lunch, tea and cakes, gelato and of course dinner. They do kids parties where kids can go up to the large pizza counter and make their own pizzas! They are even introducing gluten free pastas and organic mozzarella but what was so special about our day was that every member of staff helped and looked after us in the kindest way. Even when I accidentally broke one of their display boxes, the very good looking Head Waiter was more than happy to hammer it together with some kitchen utensil the Head Chef handed to him!!! Amazing!!!

 

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I had the Ravioli alla Massala for lunch which is a homemade ravioli stuffed with veal and spinach in wild mushroom cream sauce.  It was excellent! Of course all this hospitality just meant our photoshoot, shot by Avi Chatterjee, went extremely smoothly and the results can be seen in this months issue of BBC Good Food.

 

 

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A massive thank you to Sudeshna Ghosh and Nicola Monteath from BBC Good Food, Avi Chatterjee, photographer and Gianpiero Ciceri ,Restaurant Manager and Chef Luca from Sapori Di Bice.

 

 

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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.

Lunch!

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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Its done! We have completed the new kitchen in The Studio, Al Quoz. With bespoke kitchen units, a new fridge, 5-hob gas cooker with electric fan oven, a new extractor fan, a new hot water tank and even a moveable centre unit with a gas hob insert! This has been designed to be a functioning kitchen for all food stylists as well as ideal for shooting cookery webisodes. The colours are neutral greys which can be propped with numerous complimentary colours to achieve different looks. It is also equipped with chopping boards, pots, pans and knives to help food stylists lug a little less. And thanks to Rehana from Kenwood we can also boast top of the range cooking machines, blenders, coffee machines and more which are on their way as we speak!

To book this space go to The Studio. Thank you to Nick Davidson, Selva, Jumeirah Carpentry, Rehana, Elisa and Candice for making this happen.

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The one-piece is back! Check out these amazing swimsuits from Ralph Lauren, Moschino, Roberto Cavalli and Dolce&Gabbana, all featured in this months edition of Tatler. What better way to enjoy the summer that with delicious ice lollies and ice cream. Make your own ice lollies with fresh fruit juices or try a new flavour ice cream.

Food styling tip:

To avoid ice lollies from frosting over, blow on them using a straw or use compressed air such as ‘Dust Off’.

 Try  green tea ice cream served with shiratama dumplings (rice flour) and sweet adzuki bean paste, available at most Japanese restaurants. This desert always reminds me of summer in Tokyo.

Food styling tip:

Make fake ice cream using icing sugar and food colouring, see ‘I Scream for Ice cream’ blog. I used acylic paint as well to get the colour right on this ice cream.

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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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Last week I met Fadi Younes who is the proud owner of The Frozen Yogurt Factory in Dubai Mall. As you can imagine shooting anything frozen is tricky, with ice cream it is preferable to use fake as it can be controlled and therefore quicker in the long run. These yoghurts however had to look like Mr Whippy straight out of the machines. Sometimes these are made in resin by very talented props makers, but this is very expensive, takes time and once the model arrives there is only so much you can do with it!

I went down to the store earlier in the week to select some of the 50 toppings for our shoot, these range from fresh fruit, gummy bears, mini choc chips and grated oreos (one of the top sellers I was told!) I also had a little practice on the machines and as I suspected it was hard to get that perfect pyramid swirl! We also timed the yoghurts and worked out we had 3 to 4 mins to shoot each one! Scary!!

Fadi had three machines and the yoghurt mix, strawberry, mango and coconut delivered to The Studio the night before the shoot. Once the machine is turned on this mix is frozen in a matter of minutes ready to be dispensed, amazing! Luckily Fadi is excellent at making these yoghurt swirls so I concentrated on working on the composition and balancing the colours of the toppings. We worked out that freezing the yoghurt once a perfect swirl had been created gave us a valuable few more minutes on set!

Just after lunch, Fadi, whose background is in graphic design came up with an idea he wanted to try. We had earlier discussed that we like the yoghurt clean and I had placed the strawberries around it as opposed to on it. Fadi wanted to go step further and do circles in the flavoured syrups around the yoghurt and place the toppings in this. It made for a much more exciting image as there was movement as well as texture. I loved Fadi’s enthusiasm once we got going with this idea!

Frozen yoghurt is a much healthier treat than ice cream as it has a lot less calories. The Frozen Yogurt Factory has positive feedback in Time Out and when I visited the store there were people constantly popping in. One of the great things is that you pay by weight and it is self service so you can decide exactly how much of each topping you want.

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You will find the store by the cinema, opposite Sega Republic, Dubai Mall. If you are off shopping this weekend why not pop in for a guilt-free treat!

Thank you to Roger Payling, photographer and his assistant Selva and to The Studio and of course to Fadi for being such a creative and enthusiastic client!

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Last week we were at Palmonade, a kitchen showroom on the Beach Road for four days to shoot a Kenwood campaign. This time we were specifically shooting images for the Indian market which meant both the food and the wardrobe had a strong Indian influence. The photographer was Daryl Patni, the agency TMH and the crew and models from Bareface. Both Angie, the wardrobe stylist and I threw ourselves into it spending hours at a time down at Mina Bazaar, myself looking for pots, pans and rolling pins etc and Angie picking out the loveliest saris,(on one of the shoot days we actually counted her saying the word ”sari” 15 times in three minutes! Just a little obsessed!!!)

I had treated myself to two new cookbooks for this shoot, one for its incredible information on Indian spices, THE INDIAN KITCHEN by Monisha Bharadwaj and one on its fantastic propping, EAST INDIAN COOKBOOK by Manju Malhi mixing both Indian antique with modern western tableware. I was able to achieve something similar by buying props in Karama, Mina Bazaar, Zara Home  and Tavola.

We shot 4 to 5 machines a day over the three days with the last day concentrating on the the Kitchen Machine and the  Kitchen Chef with Chef Osama, who brought down lovely Arabic pastries from his own baker. The three new machines featured were the …..

HB 890 KMIX Triblade 5 in 1


This hand blender  comes with the the triblade, the soup XL and a durable metal balloon whisk as well as a chopping blade and shredding disk with the 1 litre food processor and is available in white, cream, black, silver and red. We shot the red model so we coupled it with a lovely green coriander chutney amongst other dishes.

The BL 480


This blender has three speeds and crushes ice, has a grating mill and a grinding mill. Ideal for those spices needed to make curries!

The BL718


This slick blender is a little more hardcore being more powerful with five variable speeds and metal body. It is the first Kenwood blender to have a thermal shock resistant glass jug which means both hot and cold liquids can be blended. I very much liked the weight of this machine!

Some styling tips when doing curries:

1. keep bowls small to make and curries more attractive by having a smaller mass of sauce as it is often brown in colour.

2. use ready made curry sauces (to save time but adjust colours if needed) and cook vegetables and meat separately and mix together  last minute to keep ingredients defined in the sauce.

3. think outside the box! I didn’t have any saffron to garnish my mango lassi so i cut very thin slithers of beetroot  to place on top. it worked a treat!

Here are some behind the scenes shots of this very fun shoot…..

A massive thank you to Rehana from Kenwood for being such a cool client, Zahra and Darine from TMH  and to Palmonade for letting us totally take over again! And a little special thank you to Ant for keeping my work space so tidy and functioning!!!

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