Weird secret ways to make food look delicious on Instagram
IN the age of Instagram – meals out, cooking and even snacks must be snapped and posted online for friends to envy.
But how do chefs and online foodies make those chow pictures look so good?
Food stylist Jette Virdi — who has worked with cookery writers Roz Purcell, Rachel Allen and Rosanna Davison — reveals her secrets to taking Instaworthy snaps.
Jette, 34, said: “Most people say, ‘but you just get to make food pretty’, and yes, I do, but it’s so much more.
“I’m not just in charge of how the shots look, I’m in charge of shot management and sourcing props. I have about five days’ work before the shoot even begins.”
There are many tales about the things food stylists have done to make the grub look flawless.
Like how hiding a microwaved wet tampon behind a bowl of soup, a cup of coffee or a baked potato makes for the perfect steamy shot.
Or how to make a turkey look mouth-watering by lashing it in a thick coat of motor oil.
Jette said: “For commercial stuff in America, it’s way more like that — motor oil, tampons, glue — whereas I haven’t ever been taught that. I can do it, but I don’t do it. My clients tend to want everything natural.
“The only fake thing I’ve done is ice-cream. Fake ice-cream is lard, icing sugar, and colouring dye. For a commercial they’ll take a thousand shots of the exact same thing with tiny changes, a lighting change or a spoon moved, but the ice-cream has to look the same in every single shot. So obviously if you’re using real ice-cream it will melt.”
There are other more palatable ways to make produce look good, although not for eating afterwards.
Jette explained: “For Christmas shots with turkey, you basically boil the turkey instead of cooking it, and then you’ll make a marinade of soy sauce, honey and sugar that gives it that golden brown. It’s not cooked but no one is going to eat it.
“For cook books we definitely cook things, but we just cook things differently from the recipe. It’s not that we’re changing the recipe, it’s just that we’ll undercook them.
“For example a steak recipe says to sear it on the pan and put it in the oven for ten minutes. We would just sear it on the pan because we want those gorgeous marks.”
So what does it take for an ordinary person to nail the perfect shot just like a pro?
Jette said: “It’s not just about getting food in your shot, it’s about getting people to understand that you are telling a story.
“It’s really great having a cup of coffee and a croissant on a table top, but then if you add in a newspaper and a handbag and maybe a lipstick, then people are thinking, ah this lady is out for breakfast and she’s reading the paper and she’s doing her make-up in the process.”
Jette is revealing her secrets to stunning foodie snaps as part of Airbnb’s new Trips app.