“Good Food gotta look Good!”
Well! I couldn’t agree more. And I am sure all of you out there also agree with this philosophy practised and preached by the very humble and awesome Vishal Amin or Wannabechef_ as he likes to call himself.
A plate loaded with a super yummy meal is only half finished if it doesn’t have the looks to kill and doesn’t invite you enough to just attack the plate! But more often than not, we either do not have the patience enough to plate well; or the skills required to style the food properly. Yes – you heard it right! Styling your food as they show it in the TV shows and clicking a good picture of the same is a skill not many possess. And that is exactly what a bunch of 52 foodies (including me) gathered to learn at the Food Styling and Photography Workshop hosted by the very awesome and positive duo – Esha Shah and Rohan Bhatt of the Foodaholics in Ahmedabad fame!
I never knew so much of thought process went into being able to click one good picture of a meal styled well using simple plates and crockery. For someone who always clicks n different pictures after cooking a good meal but is never satisfied with the outcome, the event did give a lot of ideas and concepts to work around and practice the next time you prepare a meal. Starting from the concept to be thought before even cooking the meal to actually preparing and plating it to clicking a good picture using a smartphone with the correct lighting and focus, Vishal Amin touched upon all the points thoroughly over a 2.5 hour session!
For anyone who missed the event, here are the key points that the man discussed in his candid manner; points to be taken care of while plating and clicking!
- Keep the plating clean and clear with the focus on the main dish and not the sides. Don’t muddle your rice with rajma and onions and lime and curd.
- Styling depends a lot on the type of food, cuisines and the type of course.
- Crockery or the cutlery used plays an important role in food styling. You don’t necessarily have to have expensive crockery. Focus on the fundamentals – A simple brass plate with brass bowls would work perfectly for plating a Gujarati thali but not so much for an alfredo pasta!
- Patterned plates and bright crockery takes the focus away from the food – a bright flower design on a white plate with noodles plated in it might just cause the attention drawn towards the flowers. Avoid!
- Keep the plating simple, minimal and with the accompaniments on the sides. Everyone knows what are the accompaniments for. No need to highlight it explicitly marring the entire look and feel.
- Garnishing doesn’t always have to be chopped coriander on top of any dish. Relevance is the key!
- Use of knives, moulds or any cooking equipment is good only if it is relevant to the dish and gives out a meaning!
- Surroundings or the setup for clicking a good picture is equally important. You just can’t have a dark feel if you click a picture in the broad daylight.
- Props – a half finished painting blurred in the background but providing the right balance of colours to the picture; or just a stem of leaf relevant to the dish prepared – choose the props wisely and in tune with the entire setting and the dish
- Correct lighting, angle and use of focus while clicking from a mobile phone – very important! Avoid phone flash and broad daylight pictures – it hurts the brightness and the colour. Use dark background wherever necessary!
- EDIT! Edit your pictures to remove that someone standing on the side from your picture. Edit to add just a little blurring effect in the front or the back. Edit your pics for not every picture is perfect and editing is necessary!
As they say, practice makes a man perfect! Or as Vishal rightly mentioned during the talk – think of a concept, visualise the image, experiment and practice – it really is your own creation; your own piece of art!
Wait! There is more for all who missed the workshop. We were treated to a beautiful and mouth watering spread at Tinello by Hyatt Regency – the famished souls devoured the delicacies and why not! After a long session about food, it was too good to not have. And the event then ended on a high note with a super gift – well you missed the event and so the gift! Keep guessing! 😀
Cheers to the FIA family – one of the first of its kind events I have attended and had fun in!