Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



A Feast for the Eyes

Rachel Bachrach

Blowtorches, artists’ brushes, dental tools, and crinkle cutters. Food stylists use an eclectic set of instruments to prepare food for photo shoots. How they make any food look appealing, and some tricks you can try in your own kitchen

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

David Kolotkin and Ezequil Vasquez stand side by side in 80-degree heat. Outside, a chilly winter rain is soaking passersby, but in the kitchen of The Prime Grill, in the narrow space between the countertop and the row of stoves, ovens, and ranges, it’s toasty warm.

Ezequil watches as David, the executive chef at the midtown Manhattan restaurant, demonstrates how to serve the soup of the day, which is garnished with a parsley and mint pesto.

David squirts some of the paste into a bowl. “This is good for pasta, but not for soup. Thin it out,” he says. He squirts some oil into the bowl and mixes rapidly. “That’s not enough. Can you get me some extra virgin olive oil. Please.”

“For the soup, I want to drizzle it,” he says, adding the olive oil someone passes to him. “We need it thinner.”

He mixes. Ezequil watches.

“We’re breaking this down, almost there.”

He’s still mixing. “Do it till it’s broken.”

He lifts the spoon, takes a closer look at the paste, then drops a spoonful into a bowl of soup.

“Place a crouton on top.”

Ezequil does, and the bowl of fava bean soup with curry topped with parsley and mint pesto and croutons is ready to go.

The point, says David, is that anything a customer orders has to not only taste good, but also look good.

Chefs like David, along with recipe creators, food photographers, cookbook publishers, and food-product marketers, are all concerned with presentation.

“You’re trying to make someone react, to make someone hungry,” explains Dan Engongoro, photographer and owner of Studio E Imaging in Lambertville, New Jersey. “You want people to see the picture and think, ‘I want to make that.’ ”

People in the industry say they work with a pretty cooperative subject. “Walk into any grocery store, stop and look around the fruit and vegetable aisles. The colors are just breathtaking — there’s so much to work with!” says Estee Kafra, a Toronto-based food stylist and photographer and editor of Cooking with Color, Kosher Inspired, and e-magazine KosherScoop.com. “From an artistic point of view, food is intrinsically beautiful. It’s just a matter of presenting it properly.”

 

 To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha. To sign up for a weekly subscription click here.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"