Food for thought

(Aug. 10, 2018) Have you ever seen a photograph of food that looks so good it almost jumps off the page?

What about a photo that is so well composed that it looks like a work of art? Getting food to look amazing in a photo is not an easy task.

Food styling is an intricate profession that entails numerous tasks. With that thought in mind, let us take a closer look at an occupation that is literally before our eyes.

Food stylists are individuals who prepare, plate and present food. They arrange food items in a way that looks appealing through the lens of a camera. The trick is to turn a real-life dish into a two-dimensional image that catches one’s eye.

According to an article, “What Does A Food Stylist Do,” the job of a food stylist has changed over the years as advancing technology has made food photography a digital art.

In the old days of film, food would often sit for hours under hot lights while the photographer fiddled with f-stops and depths of fields. These days, digital cameras make the process much easier but it’s still important for food stylists to understand the ins and outs of photography.

Contrary to popular belief, food stylists do not have to have a culinary degree but they need a strong understanding of food and cooking techniques. For example, stylists need to know what are the differences between a poached egg, soft boiled egg, egg over light, etc. and how to prepare these dishes for a successful photo shoot. Without this knowledge, the photo shoot would not be nearly as successful.

Creativity is another prerequisite if one wants to become a food stylist. They must not only focus on the dish itself, but also on the entire surroundings that affect the picture.

Furthermore, food stylists must have a good eye in choosing what props will accentuate the food. In addition, they must be able to improvise when things do not exactly go as planned.

Finally, food stylists must be a master of details; a simple change in the angle of an ingredient can make a substantial difference in the design of a photo shoot.

If you want to bring out the food stylist part of you, consider serving an amuse bouche. Amuse bouches are a complimentary little bite that chefs offer to diners at the start of their meal. The petite sampling showcases style and technique, and is a preview of what follows.

Smoked salmon amuse bouche is a great way to impress guests and an economical way to serve pricy smoked salmon. This delectable delight consists of a layer of smoked salmon mousse topped with smoked salmon tartar. Salmon caviar is the final touch to this decadent bite. The smoked salmon amuse bouche is served in a Chinese soup spoon (optional).

Smoked salmon amuse bouche is elegant and fun way to begin your celebrations. Remember, a chef is not only a cook but also an artist. Enjoy!

* Twelve Chinese soup spoons can be purchased at Amazon for $14.97.

* Harris Teeter sells smoked salmon Nova bits at $11.99 per pound. Remember, you will only need 8 ounces. Nova smoked salmon is well worth the extra money.

* Harris Teeter also sells a 2-ounce jar of salmon caviar for approximately $20. The caviar is being used as a garnish so it will last you for some time.

Smoked Salmon Amuse Bouche

Smoked Salmon Tartare

4 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped (make sure the salmon is chopped evenly for presentation purposes)

1 teaspoon freshly chopped dill

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 splashes fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to plate.

Smoked Salmon Mousse

4 ounces smoked salmon

2 tablespoons heavy cream

8 ounces whipped cream cheese

½ teaspoon prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon shallots, minced

2 teaspoons fresh dill

kosher salt to taste

1. Using a handheld immersion blender, blend the ingredients thoroughly in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Presentation

1 piping bag with piping tip

fresh dill as a garnish

capers as a garnish

salmon caviar as a garnish

1. Place smoked salmon mousse in the freezer for 10 minutes before piping. This produces a more successful and prettier piping.

2. Using a piping bag, pipe salmon mousse on Chinese spoon.

3. Top with smoked salmon tartare.

4. Garnish with fresh dill

5. Crown with salmon caviar.

6. Repeat this process for the remaining smoke salmon amuse bouches.

Yields 12 Amuse Bouche Portions

Secret Ingredient – Details. “When you pay attention to detail, the big picture will take care of itself.”

– George St-Pierre

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