Tag Archives: food makeovers

Food Styling Before and After :: Pasta

Everyone loves pasta, honestly it’s one of the easiest and one of most difficult things to style on photo shoots. When it comes to a macaroni and cheese, sheesh that’s a tough one on set. The cheese sets up quickly and it’s just hard to make it look appetizing. Pasta has great texture in photographs, but sometimes the toppings are overwhelming and become the focus of the photograph and not in the good way.

The exact same thing applies to pasta at home or at a dinner party. The vessel you choose to serve pasta in is the most important element in making pasta look delicious. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to a party and the pasta comes out looking, well pale, overdressed and unappetizing.

Here are a few stylist tricks to remember next time pasta is on the menu.

1. Before :: Macaroni and Cheese. We love Mac&Cheese! However… how can something so yummy looks so un-yummy?


After :: Forget the glass casserole, in fact I don’t even own one. Stylist tip *FOOD DOES NOT LOOK PRETTY FROM THE SIDE WHEN BAKED PERIOD! Instead, think about something earthy to present your Mac&Cheese in. An iron skillet is perfect! I own lots of iron skillets in all sizes. Not only are they great looking, great to bake in, but they make awesome presentation vessels. I love making corn bread, pulling the baked bread out of the skillet, slicing it, then laying it back into the same skillet lined with some parchment paper. Voila! A super homey and appetizing presentation.* this was a pretty cover shot for Southern Living I styled a couple years ago. I still think it’s so yummy looking. It’s one of my favorites. *Stylist Tip* the cute little linen tea towel under the skillet elevates the Mac&Cheese just perfectly. A subtle touch like this can make the food look special on the table.


2. Before :: Pesto Pasta


After :: I love using glasses in unexpected ways. Pesto pasta is pretty, so seeing all the bits of basil in the clear glass is great, plus it’s easy to serve. I love these brandy sifters. They are the perfect size for 1 serving. Think of all your tableware in different ways. Glasses can be used for more than just drinks.


3. Before :: Seafood Pasta


After :: Styling tip * Always think about the bowl or platter you’re serving a dish in. Here the scallop edged bowl really makes a difference. It’s a nod to the sea, it looks a bit like a sea shell. You will never go wrong with a seafood presentation if you introduce the sea in some form. Even the serving spoon looks like something you would find along the beach.


4. Before :: Pasta with Zucchini, although this dish looks great, it could look so much better! Always think about the vessel, if the dish looks bland, then jazz it up with a fantastic bowl or platter.


After :: This bowl is magnificent! It’s an antique French handpainted bowl, one of my favorites in my collection. I have never seen another one like it. The pasta looks amazing because of the vessel.


I hope that this has helped you look at how you serve your pasta dishes. The key is to always think about the vessel options you have. It’s very important especially with something like pasta, to bring out the cool props.

If you’re interested in learning more about food styling check out my workshop June 7th. Hope to see you there, it’s always a super fun day of learning, sharing, creating and of course eating.

Photo credit: Jennifer Davick, Lauren Rubinstein, Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyen

Zucchini and Seafood Pasta Dishes from my cookbook Picture Perfect Parties


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Food Styling Makeovers :: Jars

It’s clear that JARS are HUGE in the world of food. My personal opinion is that it’s the trend of pickling that brought on all the jar mania. Desserts in Jars, cocktails in Jars, pickles of every imaginable variety, sauces, salsa, spreads and salad Dressing. Are we over it yet? I’m NOT! I love jars. What a perfect little container to eat and drink from. Shake your dressing and stack your dessert into… Love them. The truth is recycling jars is one of my great pleasures. Tossing a perfectly usable jar into the recycling bin, well it makes me cringe. More than cringe it’s a sin and waste and never done in our house.

Cocktails: charming right, it never gets old! I know people may say I am so over it, but I am not!


Appetizers: This recipe from Picture Perfect Parties, for Tempanade is great in this recycled glass jar, it’s such a fun way to serve spreads.


Sauces : served out of a jar, heaven!


Dessert: Ice Cream, I love putting ice cream in jars on ice, it makes for such a pretty presentation.


Dessert: This recipe in Picture Perfect Parties. It my version of Tiramisu, it’s a gorgeous recipe and how appetizing are they in these lidded jars with a little whip cream in the lid?! C-U-T-E!


Things that should not be served in a jar? Steak, chili, a taco or a burger… that’s about it. Everything else is pretty much perfect.

Send me some of your jar creations! Connect with me on my site and I will post some great jars presentations on the blog. Come on let’s see what you’ve got jarred.

If you’re interested in learning more about food styling check out my workshop June 7th. Hope to see you there, it’s always a super fun day of learning, sharing, creating and of course eating.


Photos: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Cocktails : Style Me Pretty

Sauce: Lily Finland





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Food Styling Makeovers :: with Parchment Paper

The second before and after installment is about styling food with parchment paper. How food is presented is everything. The saying you eat with your eyes is the truth. One of the staples in your kitchen should be parchment paper.

1. Before :: Sweet Potato Fries with a savory or sweet dip is a wonderful addition to any meal. In this before, the bowl of dip is overwhelming. All you see is a big bowl of dip.


After :: This presentation is pleasing. I love using parchment paper. Make sure you have some in your pantry, it always comes in handy. Stylist Tip :: when in doubt just lay down some parchment paper and voila it makes any food presentation upscale and chic. The vessel is great, pretty and the perfect color to compliment the sweet potatoes. Think about the vessel and the coloration of the food when plating your food. For example, don’t plate brown food on a brown or grey plate, it will create an unappetizing plate. Note* The dip is in 2 containers, this scale is much better to highlight the fries.


2. Before :: Halibut with Tomatoes is a great combination, however why not make it a pretty dish. This  presentation has nothing special to offer. It needs a makeover.


After :: For this fish dish, why not use one of my favorite stylist staples, parchment paper? As I said above, it always makes a food presentation exciting. I love placing the little paper packages on guests plates for them to open like a gift. (in French: cooking these little paper packages is called en papillote). Here the same recipe in parchment looks appetizing and interesting


3. Before :: Ice cream sandwiches for dessert are always a big hit, but serving them this way is messy and unappealing. They’re too hard to handle.


After :: Parchment paper to the rescue again! With just a band of parchment and some bakers string you can create an instantly pretty presentation. Now you have a functional dessert. The parchment not only looks great but helps guests eat this somewhat messy dessert.


If you’re interested in learning more about food styling check out my workshop June 7th. Hope to see you there, it’s always a super fun day of learning, sharing and creating and of course eating.


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