Food Styling Tips from Chris Oliver

I always assumed the food in TV and movies were… inedible.  That those dishes had to be plastic food props that were painted really really well. Wrong! I recently spent the day in Food Stylist Chris Oliver’s kitchen learning tips and tricks on how to make that magic happen for the camera. Chris Oliver is the master at making food on-camera ready and delicious, having recently been featured on Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks.

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When I arrived in her kitchen last week, I took in all the racks of seasonings and spices, shelves of cookbooks, counters of fresh fruit, veggies and props on props on props. To set our day in motion and how I knew Chris is the real deal, she casually reached in her freezer and pulled out two bags of snake – one was real and the other she made. Yes, hand crafted.      

The following is just a few tidbits of what I learned during our experience. My biggest takeaway from Chris Oliver: food is playful and simple. She took what she had on hand and made me envision my own plates and tablescapes with stuff I have in my kitchen already.  Just saying that she makes food art just isn’t enough. You need to see the Saving Mr. Banks food universe for yourself when the blu-ray/digital comes out on March 18th. Take a closer look at the food scenes and maybe even hit the pause button. I think you’ll look at everything in a mouthwatering new light. 

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I need a chalkboard wall in my kitchen, stat.  This was our menu for the day, yum!

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Research!  Pick up vintage cookbooks and build a small library!

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Make your deviled eggs fancy by using a piping/pastry bag!  

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“Layer” your dishes by using curly parsley in the center, cutting cherry tomatoes in half, adding black olives, slicing celery and sprinkling paprika!  

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Use what you have!  That’s a sliced apple as the base for the fruit kabobs!

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Even one grape to tilt your dishes!  Tilt those plates – makes the display a bit dramatic and gives depth!

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Color makes food pop!  Red plates…

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And red peppers in tuna sandwiches!

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Caryn, Tee and I were on the fondue team and I was inspired to make cute veggie trees!  Add your own touch!  

Coverage brought to you by Surf and Sunshine Contributing Journalist Xenia. (You can visit her blog at Raised by Culture). Thank you to Disney for inviting us to learn about food styling from Chris Oliver. For more info on Ms. Oliver visit http://www.hollywoodfoodstyling.com/. All opinions remain original.

33 thoughts on “Food Styling Tips from Chris Oliver”

  1. I’ve seen a lot of Disney events and thought – wow that’s cool. This one I really in love with! Would love that opp! How much fun!

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  2. Love the pictures. Making me hungry! LOL
    I love the tip about the grape to lift the bowl. I really need to work on my food photography. Thanks!!

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  3. That’s such a great idea about the deviled eggs. I love deviled eggs and make them the plain old boring way. Thanks for the tips.

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  4. I want a chalkboard wall in my kitchen too. I have an old easel from the kids that I need to repurpose

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  5. Those are some great tips, I’m actually going to share this post with some food bloggers I know. I also didn’t know that the food on movie sets was real!

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  6. I figured most of the food you see on TV was fake too. It’s interesting to see how one simple change to a dish can have a dramatic effect in your photography (or videography).

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  7. These are wonderful food presentation tips. I could use these! I have been wanting a little chalkboard for my kitchen area for the longest now.

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  8. OMG everything looks so good! I love that chalkboard too. I’ve seen boards like that in a lot of magazines and websites and I’d love to buy one.

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  9. How fun!! I bet you are inspired to make wonderful food presentations. It would inspire me to make meals more fun for sure.

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  10. The food in the movies may be real, but it is COLD. Unless you see steam rising because it’s in the script, that food is downright CHILLY. And not fun to eat.

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  11. I’m always in awe of fancy foods like that. I can barely cook as it is let alone decorate them in some fancy style.

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  12. What a fun job!! I have spoken with food stylists who do work for things like TV shows and magazines, but I think doing research for films in earlier eras and creating appropriate food would be fascinating!

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