Tag Archives: the today show

Food Styling Makeovers :: Before and Afters

This week I am going to tackle your food presentation on the blog. All week we will be playing with our food. Fun, right??

As many of you may know I was on theToday Show 10 days ago talking about before and after food presentations. The segment went over BIG and Hoda Kotb actually stopped me at the end of it to tell me how much she enjoyed it. It’s clear people want to make their food look better not just for guests, parties and gatherings but in general making your food look pretty is a pretty popular subject. …just check out pinterest. I thought it would be a fun idea to include more food styling tips this week on my blog.

I will be offering stylist solutions to plating and presenting food as well as what I think about when styling food for my guests. I hope you enjoy this series and let me know if you have any questions! Happy to answer any of your plating presentation questions.

Let’s start with Sunday Supper, shall we?

1. Before :: Roast Chicken and Vegetables


After:: Roasted Chicken and Vegetables


Check out the composition on the after plate, the easiest way to compose your plates is to separate the vegetables and lay the chicken in a concise pattern, you can never go wrong with a white plate. I always like to say think like a 5 year old and separate your food, like a 5 year old would say… “no food touching.”

2. Before :: Dip


After :: Dip


No comparison here. Dips are tricky because they are innately not pretty. A good solution to presentation is  what you place a dip in. Make sure to use a simple and low profile bowl and surround the dip with artistically placed crackers, breads or veggies in a random composition. The surrounding composition becomes important because it takes the eye all over the plate and makes the focus the entire presentation and not just the dip. Garnish (like the dill randomly placed here) is a nice touch. Using herbs in general as garnish is a great idea.

3. Before :: Salad Nicoise


After :: Salad Nicoise


The before surely tasted delicious but it could not be more unappetizing, it’s a hot mess. The after is separated which is always a great styling solution. It’s not only visually pleasing but gives guests a chance to pick what they like. A big styling tip is to separate things in a plate creating a pleasing composition, it’s a styling basic.

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.

Photo of chicken after :: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn Picture Perfect Parties

Photo of dip after :: Bon Appetite

Photo of Salad Nicoise :: The New York Jewels

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Cinnamon Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce :: as seen on The Today Show

Did you see this recipe today on The Today Show? Well here it is! If you don’t own a copy of Picture Perfect Parties yet, you will be happy to see this dessert just in time for Cinco De Mayo! I will be posting a couple of Mexican-themed recipes to celebrate. As you saw today these desserts are served in paper cups, perfect to scoop ahead! Just pop them in the freezer and pull them out about 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve and drizzle with caramel sauce. High quality store bought sauce is just fine.



I love serving these with sweet tortilla chips on the side. Gather it all up in a tray and raise your game, simple and special just the way I like it.

Have a great weekend, and let me hear about your Cinco Celebrations.

All Photos from Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli, NY

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Pool Party Lamb Burgers

I don’t know about you, but I love burgers and I love lamb, so it seemed natural to add one to my cookbook:  Picture Perfect Parties. This is a burger with a Greek twist. Can I tell you I can hardly wait for summer and this burger says summer to me. Recipe below!



Stylist tip: I love serving burgers in a pita, it makes for a really pretty presentation and a clever twist to something that is perceived as a ho-hum burger. Give your burger a little style lift and serve it in a pita pocket.

Talk about Stylist Tips! Watch for more of my tips on The Today Show tomorrow, Friday May 2nd in the 10:00 hour with Kathie Lee and Hoda. I will show you how to take your basic dishes and give them my food/prop stylist extra style touch. Serve food with some flair, entertain like a pro and please tune in.

Photo from Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY

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Cinco de Mayo from Picture Perfect Parties


Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! Since it’s right around the corner I wanted to share some recipes from the Cinco di Mayo chapter in my cookbook Picture Perfect Parties. Today I am sharing a killer guacamole and salsa verde recipe. You can find the rest of the recipes from the entire party in my book. Pick up a copy to add it to your library and you can throw the most amazing parties and have fun doing it! Ole!

Serves  6-8
You will need:

– 4 ripe avocados
– 3 tablespoons lime juice
– ½ cup chopped tomatoes
– 2 cloves of garlic minced
– 1/3  red onion diced fine
– ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
– ¼ teaspoon sea salt
– 5 drops hot sauce * optional


Half and scoop avocado into a bowl and smash the avocado with a fork. Next add the rest of the ingredients and combine with the fork.


Salsa Verde
You will need:

– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 12-15 tomatillos, husked
– 5 garlic cloves
– 2 green chilies
– 1 yellow onion peeled cut in half
– 1 cup fresh cilantro
– 2 tablespoons lime juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F


In a bowl toss tomatillos, chilies, onion and garlic cloves in olive oil and salt.

Place on a cookie sheet and in the oven for 20 minutes.

Let cool and then place roasted vegetables into the bowl of the food processor with chopping blade, with the cilantro lime juice and pulse for 5 seconds.

*This is a make ahead recipe it allows the flavors blend

I am off to New York tomorrow to pre-record a Today Show segment :: NOTE* The segment will air on Friday, May 2nd . Please tune in to see me show you how to style up your platters and plates like a professional stylist.

All Photos from Picture Perfect Parties, Rizzoli NY

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Design Inspiration Friday: Fishs Eddy NYC

As most of you know I am writing my first cookbook (SO EXCITED). When I was in NYC a few weeks ago for The Today Show I had just enough free time to buy some fresh “proppage” for my upcoming cookbook photo shoots. One of my all time favorite go to prop destinations is Fishs Eddy in New York City. After a yummy lunch at Manzo at Eatly, with my Rizzoli Editor I wandered over for a peek.This visit did not disappoint me. I found all sorts of interesting elements and paper products to use on my upcoming shoots.

Last week was the first of many photoshoots for my cookbook, out fall 2013 from Rizzoli Books. So far it’s been a career highlight to create all the beautiful imagery for my own book. I hope to share more of my prop resources in the upcoming months (and of course there will be all my go to resources in the back of my book, yes all the secret ones as well, how’s that for a teaser?). Stay tuned for lots of behind the scenes. Follow me on Twitter at @AJSTYLIST for up to date behind the scenes photos. To check me out on The Today Show, click here.

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