There are many reasons why NYNHB lives up to it’s ‘Not Normal’ name – one of which is I rarely post pictures of what I eat on here. Mostly because it involves chips and cheese, but also because whenever I take pictures of food it looks very much like something got run over on its way to my plate. Food styling is not my thing.
I simply don’t have the patience – and I like my food hot. On the rare occasions I do photograph something it it’s a case of snapping as many pictures as possible in the shortest possible time rather than actually seeing if any of them are in focus and look okay. However, the other day I went to a work event for the sprouted food and supplement range Fermentanicals and one of the speakers was chef Jordanna Levin from The Inspired Table who did a short food styling presentation on how to make food look insta-perfect.
As I listened I realised that her tips were actually super simple – my first thought was ‘do you know, even I can probably do this’ – and my second was this also makes a super useful blog post for any other ‘artistically challenged’ health bloggers out there. So, here are her tips – note: I didn’t take copious notes (everyone else had their iphones on record to catch what she was saying and I would have felt like a dinosaur writing stuff down), so I’m paraphrasing all of the below.
Seven Super Simple Food Styling Tips
- Use a small bowl – and fill it right up to the top. Admittedly this did grate a little bit as one thing I do hate about instagram is that so much food goes to waste in aid of getting a good picture (I nearly yelled at a couple taking pictures in a burger restaurant recently who spent 15 minutes photographing their ‘meal’ then threw it away)- so, please people, keep the bowl small – or at least share the food on to two plates afterwards if you can’t eat that serving.
- Choose a serving dish that contrasts with what’s going on it. The dish Jordanna was making was a turmeric porridge so it had a yellow hue so she photographed it in white bowl.
- But then stick with the same colour family: So rather than going mad adding green fruits and strawberry sauce (which is probably what I would have done) Jordanna added yogurt banana, walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup – the yellow and brown tones of which toned in well with the yellow of the porridge
- Until you add one thing that pops: in this case a sprinkle of chopped goji berries
- Have a central focal point: The first thing Jordanna added was a dollop of yogurt right in the centre of the dish to draw the eye.
- Work in odd numbers: Apparently they make the brain pay attention more than even ones – so, have three toppings not two or four or use five colours like in this dish.
- Take pics at every stage. Just in case whatever you do next goes wrong – at least you have something usable.
Some Other Useful Advice re Turmeric
It wasn’t just food styling tips I picked up at this event either – Jordanna did something I would never have thought of doing to make her porridge. She used the contents of a supplement. My mind was actively blown. As you possibly know turmeric is one of the hot health trends right now because of it’s reputed anti-inflammatory properties – but raw turmeric is fiddly to use and the powdered stuff you buy in the spice rack may not have that much of the active ingredient curcumin left if it hasn’t been stored correctly – most reputable supplement brands however use potent forms of turmeric (and often add a dash of black pepper that helps our body absorb it into the mix as well). Fermentanicals USP is that they actually use fermented turmeric in the range which is based on a Japanese idea that it’s claimed also boosts bio-availability. Admittedly, it’s a pricey way to use the spice – but, if you’re consuming it for health reasons it’s better to get a dose that might actually have effects. . If you’re in Australia and want to check out the Fermentanicals range you’ll find it in independent health stores, there’s a full list on their website; UK readers, my supplemental turmeric range of choice there is Pukka Herbs – I love their turmeric tea.