Have you ever wondered why your homecooked dishes rarely look as good as the picture beside the recipe that you strictly followed? This happens to me all the time. The answer is food styling. I recently had the pleasure of attending a workshop on this modern art, thanks to the Maya Kitchen.
Maya is a trusted brand in our family. When I was a kid, I helped my mom make pancakes using Maya flour. Now that I am a mom myself, I buy Maya pancake mixes to save time. Now, aside from baking ingredients, Maya also produces cookbooks and offers cooking classes.
There’s another classroom with several kitchen stations ala Master Chef.
The food styling class that I attended was facilitated by Ms. Cleone Baradas. She’s an art director for Summit Media. Aside from her regular contributions in well-known magazines like Yummy and Good Housekeeping, she is also a food stylist for a lot of major brands.
She shared a lot of industry insider secrets to us. I would love to share everything I learned here but I think it would be better if you attend the class.
Our workshop was very interactive. Cleone gave us run down on some basics and later gave us an opportunity to ask questions. Based on our favorite foods, she gave tips on how to style them for the camera. Later, she taught us how to cook summer treats like Vichyssoise and Thai salad. She styled the dishes and taught us how to angle our pictures.
I told Cleone during the workshop, that I often cook “ulam” which often do not look good in pictures. She said that local dishes can be a challenge to style. Most of our traditional foods have dark spots. For shoots, professionals prepare the ingredients separately and carefully plate them. For the sake of art, the actual styling process which may include use of food color to improve the color and glue to keep ingredients in place, are often different from the recipe.
When I got home, I was very excited to practice what I learned. Because of the pressure of a waiting hungry husband who does not understand that one photo is not enough, I don’t think I can prepare a separate set for photos and another for my family. I just concentrated on the props and lighting.
So presenting my fried pork cubes slathered with unappetizing but actually yummy bagoong (shrimp paste) sauce.
For the best light, I shot this by our main door, just a few inches from our slippers. Hehe. And the yellow placemat is actually Aki’s shirt.
For more information on other courses offerings, log on to http://www.themayakitchen.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center every Tuesday to Saturday at 8F Liberty Building, 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City or call 8921185 / 892-5011 local 108 / Mobile No. +63947 835 2290.