Learning About Food Styling

In case you didn’t know, I am currently in school for Food Media, and these two weekends of school are being dedicated to learning how to style food — sooooo exciting! Who knew school could be so interesting?!

What’s even more exciting is the fact that our teacher for this course is Janice Poon, the mastermind behind the Hannibal series. I remember binge watching that show like crazy. Each time I would get scared, but I couldn’t help but be in awe of Hannibal’s amazing cooking skills. I always thought that even though he was eating people, he really knew how to present his food in the most breath-taking ways. It truly is a great experience to be able to learn from the best (Janice, not Hannibal).

This course is the epitome of the saying “looks can be deceiving”. These pancakes look delicious, and I definitely wanted to eat pancakes after this lab, but trust me, you do not want to eat these specific pancakes after I tell you what we did to them.

After learning about techniques and style elements, we were able to get into the lab and get to styling!!

Here is what I used:

  • 240g (2 cups) pancake mix
  • 188mL (3/4) cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 45mL (3 tbsp) oil
  • cardstock
  • fixative spray
  • a square pat of butter (about 1 tbsp)
  • 3 fresh strawberries
  • 1 slice of fresh orange
  • corn syrup

Instructions

  1. Make a well into the centre of your pancake mix and add your eggs and milk. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat a medium saucepan on medium heat and put in about a teaspoon of oil at a time. Wipe away excess with a paper towel.
  3. When the pan is hot, ladle pancake batter into the pan and let it cook until the batter starts to bubble and looks matte around the edges (about 2-3 minutes)
  4. Flip the pancake and let it cook for another minute. Continue cooking pancakes until you have none left. DO NOT stack the pancakes while they cool so that they don’t deflate each other.
  5. Once you’ve run out of pancake batter, pick your best looking pancakes. We judged them based on even colour, height/fluffiness, size, and shape.
  6. Once you’ve decided which pancakes you’re going to be using for the stack and the order you’re going to stack them in, cut a circle of card stock so that it’s smaller than the top pancake and use it as a little barrier between each pancake. This allows for movement of the pancakes after you’ve stacked them, just in case you want to make some changes.
  7. Spray the top pancake liberally in fixative spray. Aim to do two coats or more. Spray the edges of the bottom pancakes as well.
  8. Using your fingers, soften the edges of your butter pat to make it look as if it’s melted.
  9. Place on foil and a tray or a small metal bowl and put the butter in a warm or hot oven for 10 seconds at a time.
  10. Once the butter looks like it is in the process of melting (make sure it isn’t completely melted!), put it in the fridge to set up.
  11. Cut your fruit in any way you’d like for garnishing your pancakes and arrange it on the pancakes.
  12. When it’s time for photos, take the butter out and place it on your pancake, warming up the edges of it with a heat gun.
  13. Right at the very last second, you should carefully pour the syrup over the pancake either during photo-taking or right before, making sure the syrup dribbles over the edges of the pancakes. Try not to pour too much syrup onto your plate.
  14. Take as many photos as you can and enjoy the eye-candy. Feel free to eat the left over pancakes that you didn’t spray, of course.

This was a great experience, and I definitely learned a lot. Food styling is all about how it looks, not how it tastes. I still hope Hannibal gets picked up again, it was such a great show.

Anyways, that was my exciting learning experience on food styling!!! Thanks for reading and see you next time with a new recipe! ❤️

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