...details that make a difference

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Food Stylist Secrets: Who Does The Shopping

 Clients who are looking for a food stylist often wonder: "Will I do the shopping or will my stylist do the shopping?"

I can tell you that shopping for a photo shoot is much different than just shopping for groceries.  For example, a food stylist will take extra care to pick out the perfect produce, taking size and color into consideration to produce the best result.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "the camera adds 5 lbs?"  I don't know if that is necessarily fact, but things do tend to look larger when put under camera, and scale is import to understand when you want to feature a specific product.

In certain cases, particular brands perform better than others and substitutions are not going to perform the same way.  Let's take a simple example, such as ketchup.  On your grocery list, it may just say "ketchup", but that leaves a lot up in the air as to what brand, thickness, color, and amount needed.  Working with your food stylist to shop for the project avoids confusion and in the end saves time and money by not having to send someone out for extra items on the day of the shoot.

The bottom line is to keep your food stylist in the loop about your products, and use them to help gather the best ingredients.  It can save you and your stylist time, money and headaches!

If you are looking for a food stylist, please contact Impressions Food Styling at (612) 636-1994 or visit http://impressionsfoodstyling.com

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Best Part of Wedding Planning

What is the best part of planning a wedding?  Picking out the dress? The location? The cake?  As Joey and I near our wedding date in August it was time for our tasting. For myself and almost any food lover this is considered the best part of planning. 

We chose our caterer with care wanting one that would let us personalize the menus not just have the standard "wedding chicken" we chose a local family owned group in Minneapolis Three Sons Signature Cuisine. Not only can they serve a group of 200 dinner in 20 minuets.  When they say customize they were not kidding. They don't even have a set menu just a list of suggestions that have created in the past. Our entire wedding menu is chosen with care incorporating both our tastes as well as cultural influences  like traditional Polish recipes and some family favorites like stuffed shells that I have every year for my birthday dinner.

As we had lunch with the chef we were able to make slight adjustments to the flavors and presentation. Also, no need to worry about diet restricted guests, all of the four options are made to order and can be adjusted to fit any needs on request. I am so excited for our menu.  I know I can't possibly make the food for my own wedding but if I could this would be it. I feel it is a meal I would truly make and serve my guests at home.  Here is a sneak peak of our big day meal. To be honest I am most thrilled about the vegetarian option. I think the biggest problem is the guests won't know what to choose.
My Polish and Italian creation Pierogioli with vodka sauce

Even The butter was cute!

Ta Da! The Vegetarian option yes, it tastes even better than it looks

Stuffed Chicken Roulade with MN wild rice

Friday, February 15, 2013

Food Stylist Secrets: How Much Grocery Do You Need?

"You need how many cases!?"

Don't be alarmed when your stylist asks for what may seem like a ridiculous amount of product.  This may not always be the case, but if the product being shot is fragile, or has ice cream or melted cheese, a few extra would not hurt.  Remember, the photo you are creating will serve your company for a long time - start with the right product and enough of it to get the best results!

8 carts of groceries for a live television segment, don't worry it is not usually so much

It often benefits to get a bit extra product because it can get damaged in shipping, or we need to sort through and find the perfect shape and size of a particular item.  Also keep storage in mind when ordering product. You want to be able to keep it fresh and stored properly for the best results.  Consult with your stylist about ordering product. He or she will be able to help gauge what is an appropriate amount.  If possible it may be beneficial to have the product shipped in component pieces.

Example: Pizza
Purchase blank crusts or dough, then the correct amount and type of sauce, cheese and toppings can be assembled in the studio for the perfect shot!

The amount of product needed can also be dependent on how the photo is going to be set up.  Here are some situations that can affect the amount of product ordered:

* If someone will be eating it
* If a scoop or slice will be taken out
* If the project is more recipe-focused rather than as an individual product

In some of these situations, the stylist will buy for roughly three times the recipe - one set for practice and to learn about how to best handle the food, one for the photographer to get the lighting on set correct for the shot, then one for the final perfect beauty shot.

Again, there are many variables that can factor in with how much product to order.  Consult with your stylist before the shoot to make sure you can get the right foods for the job!

If you are looking for a food stylist, please contact Impressions Food Styling at (612) 636-1994 or visit http://impressionsfoodstyling.com.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Make Something Sweet

I am getting ready for Valentines day and I just had to share one of my favorite dessert recipes with you. It is easy, decadent and can be made in advance. I thought it may inspire you to do something a little extra sweet for someone special in your life. 

These are sure to delight your guests and make you look like a star in the kitchen.They fit everything from casual events with children to sophisticated dinner parties. With only five ingredients these are my signature go-to dessert. Make it a special day with chocolate.   Enjoy!
 Molten Lava Cakes

 Prep: 15 min             
Bake: 10-15 min        
Serves: 6-10

6 oz bittersweet or semisweet baking chocolate
10 Tablespoons butter
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks

Grease: 6 (6 oz) custard cups or 10 (4 oz) custard cups
Place chocolate and butter in a large microwavable bowl. Heat in 30 sec intervals until butter is melted; stir occasionally to melt chocolate completely. Add powdered sugar and flour, then mix well. Add whole eggs and yolks, then stir with a whisk until well combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared cups.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 9-10 min for 4 oz cups or 14-15 min for 6 oz cups. Cakes should be firm around the edges, but soft in the center. Let stand for 1 min. Run a small knife around the edges to loosen. Carefully turn the cups upside down onto dessert plates; garnish as you desire and serve immediately.

Note: The batter can be made a day ahead and poured into prepared cups. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve allow to come to room temperature uncover and bake as directed.

P.S. The secret to this recipe is not to tell anyone you are making Molten Chocolate Cakes in the odd chance that you may over bake them no worries, your guests won't know and you will still serve them delicious individual chocolate cakes.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fighting with Frozen Foods

This past weekend I came home to my fiancé Joey trying to make himself lunch. He found some soup in the freezer but was hungry now and just could not wait a minute longer for it to thaw. He knows that when things are smaller they will melt faster. So, he had the great idea to cut the soup in half! As I see him sawing away at the frozen solid soup I could not contain my laugher. 

Don't get stuck fighting with your food. Here is a simple way to freeze soup and have it ready at a moment notice.

My love attempting to "cut" soup with a knife
 When you have extra soup portion it out into individual servings. I like to use a 1 1/2 cup liquid measuring cup to get the same amounts. Then pour the soup into a freezer zip top bag. Be sure that you completely seal the bag. Then lay it flat on a cookie sheet. Repeat this step with the remaining soup then place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the bags have all frozen solid. At that point you can remove the cookie sheet and stack the bags in the corner of the freezer. This way they will take up less space and thaw quickly.
A stack of frozen soups
When you are ready to eat remove the package from the freezer. In the sink, run the frozen bag under hot water just until it is slightly thawed, enough to be able to break the flat disk of soup in half. Open the bag and put the frozen chunks in a soup pot. Heat the soup over low to medium heat stirring occasionally until it is heated through.
Keep warm this winter with a delicious soup. What is your favorite kind of soup?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Creating a Team

Food Stylist and Chefs

People are often surprised to hear that food stylists and chefs work very well together. It's true, getting two artists to work on the same masterpiece can make each team member pull their hair out. However, if both the chef and the food stylist leave their attitude and judgment at the door, they can work wonders!

Here are two key tips to remember:

1. You're working toward the same goal.
2. Communication is key!

Both the chef and the food stylist have the same passion and desire - they want to make the food have mouthwatering results. The chef is crucial in composing the photograph because he or she can make sure that the photo is representative of the proper serving size and presentation that the customer will actually receive. The food stylist ensures that the camera captures the food at its very best, so that the vision of the chef can be shown through the camera and appreciated by the customer - using only the eyes.

Here's a great real-life example:

I was working with a chef who was not thrilled with my presence at the beginning of the project. He just about died as he saw me plate his salad on a base of mashed potatoes. I could tell he was not pleased and I wanted to assure him that we were on the same team and my goal was to make his food look its absolute best.

It wasn't until the next shot that he understood what I meant. He brought out a huge platter the highest quality T-bone steaks. I asked if I could show him what the camera saw so we played a little game. We both chose what we thought was the most beautiful steak. The results could not have been more different.

The chef chose a thick, well-marbled steak that had a nice edge of fat that would sear nicely and create a rich flavor. The one I chose would not have even made his top 10 list. It was slightly thinner with very little fat and a perfect T-bone" look" as far as the bone structure. Both were excellent pieces of meat - however, one was chosen for flavor and one was chosen for the camera. When cooked the chef's would taste superior. However, on camera the fat appeared as gristle and its thickness made it appear like a huge slab of mystery meat next to a potato. My choice may not have been as rich in flavor, but when the camera captured it you instantly read "delicious T-bone steak with a proportionate side dish".

The chef and I have come to adore each other despite his initial feelings about the way I styled his food. Together, we created effective marketing material that translates his delicious food to a photograph.