Food Art Hints and Tips

We asked food artist Carl Warner to give us his top 10 food art hints and tips.

Carl Warner's food art hints and tips

  1. Have a rough idea of what you want to create before you start. Try to make a sketch, use a children's drawing or find a reference picture from the Internet. This could be a landscape, a portrait, a still life or an abstract theme.

  2. Once you have an idea in mind, think about the food that you would like to use. Look at the shapes and colours of your sketch or reference image and think of ingredients that look similar to those shapes and colours.

  3. Wash hands thoroughly before handling ingredients or use rubber gloves so that the food can be eaten after you have made your creation.

  4. Have fun with making your image. It doesn't have to be perfect it just needs to be recognisable as a picture of somewhere, something or someone.

  5. Let the children get involved. We have all heard parents saying to their children: “don't play with your food" but so long as they eat it who cares if they play a little. Food should be enjoyed on many levels, and so seeing and touching are just as important as tasting and smelling.

  6. Make your food art within some kind of frame. A chopping board, a sheet of baking foil a tray or even a large frying pan. It can be any shape so long as it gives you a frame to work with. This will help you to compose the image better.
  7. Try to get as much colour and texture into your picture. Food ingredients can offer a wide palette for making art and so try to explore the many possibilities. Go shopping with your camera or look at images online to be inspired by the wealth of colours and textures on offer.

  8. Try to make your ingredients look appetising. If you cook greens like broccoli or beans, plunge them into ice cold water after you have drained them from the boiling water. This will bring their colour back with great intensity.

  9. Make sure you have things like tweezers and scissors to hand before you start. Cocktail or satay sticks are also very handy to pin things together. Also use a small paint brush to add a little water or oil to ingredients that are drying out.

  10. When you work of art is complete, photograph it from the best angle and make sure the light is bright. You may also want to use a desk lamp to give you shadows and warmth. But whatever you do, try to avoid using the flash on the camera as this rarely looks good. Try to use bright, natural light near a window or even take it outside if you can. Having a good photograph will be a great memory of your efforts and serve as a reminder of how much fun you can have with food before you actually eat it.