Whether you’re wondering how to make your home cooking look as if it was created by a Michelin star chef or just want your Instagram foodie account make the grade, Frankie Unsworth has the answers.
The London-based food stylist works on professional photography sets and has acquired many tips for food preparation and presentation over the years. Her cookbook The New Art Of Cooking offers an insight into the realm of beautifying food, and Unsworth hopes it shows home chefs how easy it is to make your dinner look as good as a professional dish.
Top tips for beautiful food presentation
Here are Unsworth’s top tips for presenting food…
1. Freshness is key
“Keep things on ice, and source foods that are really fresh. Even plant a few things on your windowsill – you’ll get a better result. On a photo shoot, we could be under studio lights and the food might sit around for a while, so we put herbs and leaves on ice. Not only is it good for the colour, but it makes them crisper, adding a flavour enhancer too.”
2. Take a moment before you dish things up
“We’re often quite rushed and hurry food onto a plate, but if you take a slightly calmer approach, have a quick look at what’s going on your plate, and think about how you arrange everything – it can make a big difference. Mise en place helps, because if you’ve got it all laid out, you can see what colours are going to work with one another.”
3. Don’t crowd the plate
“Not overfilling your plate leaves breathing space for the food, so you can see the shape of things and it looks more elegant. If you see a massive hunk of quiche on your plate, it’s got a less appealing look than a thin slither.”
4. Add a final flourish
“Putting something on the top can harmonise what’s on a plate if you’ve got different components. A sprinkling of dukkah – which is an Egyptian spice blend – scattered over at the end, unites everything on the plate in quite a gentle way, and adds a lovely texture and crunch.”
5. Think about the atmosphere you’re trying to create
“It’s things like laying out a piece of linen – it doesn’t take long, but setting the scene will make you enjoy the food more. It will feel a bit more precious, a bit more special. Light a few candles; it feels more relaxing and people then appreciate the look of the food more as well. A subtle, diffused light makes food look its best.”
The New Art of Cooking: A Modern Guide to Preparing And Styling Delicious Food by Frankie Unsworth is published by Bloomsbury. Photography Kristin Perers.
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