Saturday, May 23, 2009

Food styling: Tools and Shopping for food

I am off on a food styling job this week. Three days of food styling in a photographer's studio and one day of grocery shopping for said shoot. I love it but am always a little nervous about the whole thing. With every job I must do my best and can never rest on my laurels. This week its' all about cheese. I imagine mentioning my clients name and the soon to be published recipes is not a good idea on my blog. I do know that this week I will definitely not have time for blogging but I would like to put something out there related to the food styling part of my blogs title. So far real life has been exclusively covered.

Because I only work out of house occasionally I need to clean out and organize my tool box for every job. I need the tools that I need and if I do not have them I appear quiet unprofessional.

My essential tools:

  1. chef's knife
  2. vegetable peeler
  3. Stainless steel tongs
  4. tweezers
  5. q-tips

All a chef really needs in the knife department is a sharp chef knife. I do have several other types but I rarely use them. I even stopped using a pairing knife a few years ago unless absolutely necessary. I have an amazing peeler that is always sharp. I bought it a Stokes of all places, and I have sent a few family members and friends there for one. It has a plastic handle and doesn't look like much but it does the job well. My tongs are like an extension of my hands, an extension that can't get burnt. Tweezers are for the finicky and final plate assembly. With these I manipulate tiny flecks of herbs and I force food to do things that are really not possible in a home kitchen. Q-tips are used to remove smudges, among other things, from the plates themselves. I often spray them with Windex before cleaning up a plate.

My tool box holds many more tools than mentioned but those are my stars.

Grocery shopping for work is always a challenge. I need the best and most beautiful produce, no exceptions. I need things that are not in season. I need things that are rare and hard to find. And I need them now. I must look to other shoppers like the finickiest shopper ever when handling fruit and vegetables that I intend to buy for a shoot. If I find a fruit that is still in possession of some of its foliage I am ecstatic. Since I cannot teleport myself out west to the Okanagan Valley to but fruit for my shoots I'll take what I can get.

This week I was developing a recipe for a stuffed turkey breast and I ordered a breast in advance. What I got was a sad little breast from a very small turkey that looked like a drunken butcher had deboned it. It had 2 gashes in it that made it hard to stuff, but luckily it was not intended to be photographed so I just took my turkey without complaint.

For more photogenic fare I go to the Maison du Roti on Mont-Royal, Montreal. They are not confused by my very specific requests and are quiet competent to fulfill them. For produce I often end up at Chez Louis and Chez Nino at Marche Jean-talon. Also Adonis, has been supplying me with lovely produce for much cheaper this last year and I always check them out first because I do have a budget. Words of wisdom: Never go into Adonis hungry!

And now for a food stylist's prayer:

May the cheese appear melted and not rubbery. May the sauce not congeal under hot lights. May the dessert unmould without trouble and may the porc be pink but not the poultry...Amen.


  1. I love the new background color and layout. Hope you job goes well this week and keep the reciped coming, can't wait to try the creamy polenta.

  2. I love the new background color and layout. Hope you job goes well this week and keep the reciped coming, can't wait to try the creamy polenta. Need any managed services visit us


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