Food Stylist Shows How to Make Your Christmas and Thanksgiving Dinner Look Good | Food Styling Tips

– Aren’t they beautiful? They’re so green, like a bright spring morning, moist. As a food stylist, my job is to make food
look absolutely beautiful and the best it can be. I have a few tips of the
trade to share with you, things that you can do
at home for any meal to make your food a
little bit more elevated. Tip number one, blanching green vegetables. Everybody’s familiar with
the army green green beans that come out of a can and they taste delicious, but not really a vibrant green color that somebody wants to
see in a photograph, or in this case, on
your dining room table. So in food styling, we blanch our green vegetables. First we’ll do our broccoli. So the broccoli will take
a little bit longer to cook than say a green bean because it’s a little bit more hearty. As soon as you put the
broccoli into the hot water, you can immediately see the color change. It turns vibrant green almost instantly. For blanching your broccoli to eat, I would say probably only takes like three to four minutes for it to get tender but still crispy. When transferring your
cooked green vegetable to an ice bath, you want to make sure that it’s all the way
submerged under the water. That way it cools off, almost instantly and you don’t have to worry about your vegetable overcooking. Smells a little farty. (laughs) Once your veggie is cooled,
we’re going to transfer it to a sheet tray with a
paper towel to let it dry. And then we’re gonna
blanch the green beans. I really love the transformation that green beans take
when they are submerged into warm water. Even right now, looking
at these green beans, they’re still a little
bit, almost, dusty looking. But as soon as I put
them in the hot water, you’ll be able to see
how bright they turn. Stirring the vegetables while they’re in the
hot water for blanching is really important, so
that way they cook evenly and they get even color
from the hot water. Green beans probably only take
about two to three minutes for them to get tender. Once you’ve transferred your
veggies to the ice bath, they really only need to stay in the water until they’re cool enough to touch. But you can leave it in there
for two to three minutes just for safe measure. We’re gonna transfer the green beans to a paper towel and let them dry out until we’re ready to use them again. Today I blanched broccoli and green beans, but you can blanch any vegetable just as a method of par-cooking something and then picking up the
cooking method later on. An ice bath is also a great
way to revive green herbs and leafy greens. Maybe they’ve been in your refrigerator for a little too long, or you have a party coming over and you need a quick garnish for something and your herbs look a little sad. You can dip them in an ice
bath and it will revive them. Boom. Once your herbs seem like they’ve
freshened up a little bit, they may still seem a little droopy because they’ve been sitting in water. So take them out and put them in a dry paper towel or cloth and allow them sit just a couple minutes so they can dry off a little bit. Once you’ve revived your
herbs in an ice bath, if you don’t need them
all or if you bring home a fresh bunch of herbs
from the grocery store, a really great way to make sure you get an
extended life on your herbs is by wrapping them in a damp
cloth or damp paper towel and storing them in a plastic storage bag, wrapping them in plastic, or just make sure the leafy
part of the greens are covered and store them in your refrigerator. Tip number two, roasting your vegetables in
a skillet versus an oven. Browning vegetables or meat in a skillet give you a little bit more control than browning something in the oven. It creates a beautiful caramelized color, a crispy texture, without
overcooking anything, which sometimes happens in the oven. My examples today are
potatoes, garlic bulbs and this beautiful blanched
broccoli that just showed up. It’s gorgeous, don’t
know how that happened. We’re gonna do some of
the potatoes in half and some in quarters. We’re going to put the
potato cut-side down into the pan first. The face of the potato is the part that you want to see the most browning on. When preparing potatoes like this at home, cooking them in a skillet, depending on the size of your potato, may not actually cook the
potato all the way through. You can get a nice caramelization, a crispy exterior on those potatoes, and then you can actually
either cover them with a lid to allow the steam to cook them
the rest of the way through or, yes, then transfer them to the oven. See this nice browning
caramelization on this potato happened very fast and
it’s really beautiful, that golden brown color is perfect. But as you can see with
these quartered potatoes, I’m turning each one onto that cut face so it gets an even browning
color on each side. And then I’m even flipping
them over onto their skin side so even that gets a little bit of color. Our potatoes are beautiful and brown. I’m gonna do the garlic in two ways. The first way, I just want to show you, is just like a simple
cutting the bulb in half and roasting the two halves. Okay, and then the second way I’m going to take a couple cloves out and show you how I would brown those off. So I usually slice
garlic from top to bottom and get these elongated slices. Oh, that got dark real fast. Multi-tasking. Yeah, that got dark. So I just have sliced
two cloves of garlic, so now I’m going to put them in my hot skillet and I’m not going to leave them alone. I’m going to babysit them
until they are cooked the way I want them to be cooked. I guess that’s sort of a disclaimer for cooking things on a stove top in a skillet versus the oven. You have more control over the heat, but you have to be there
and be attentive to it. If you put something in the oven, generally you can just sort of walk away. I’m gonna try roasting
these garlic bulbs again because I got my first
ones a little bit too dark. It’s not too burnt, but, I mean, it’s still kind of darker
than I would like it to be. Oh, it’s just so beautiful. It’s perfect! Yeah. The last thing I want to show
you how to roast in a skillet is this beautiful blanched broccoli. It literally just takes a couple seconds for this broccoli to start browning. That ones the best one
because it’s cut on that side. It’s able to lay flat in the skillet and get that beautiful
texture on the stalk there. So we have our beautiful
skillet roasted vegetables. You couldn’t tell, necessarily, that they were roasted in an
oven versus a skillet before, but now you do. I’m really happy with these and I’m, probably gonna eat the crap out of them. Do I have broccoli in my teeth? Tip number three, spritz your food. We’re spraying some shiz. With a bowl of fresh berries,
some even cut in half, you really wanna make
sure they don’t dry out. And there’s nothing wrong with adding just a little spritz of water. Which not only enhances the berry’s already beautiful bright color, but you might even get lucky and get a couple water droplets. And for food photography, that’s
a really cool thing to see. So nice, so fresh. The same thing with salad greens, if you’re entertaining and
you’re putting a big bowl of fresh mixed greens on the table, just give it a little spritz of water. It’ll help a ton, keep the
veggies crisp and fresh and looking really, really nice. And then for our browned,
beautiful casserole, it looks golden and beautiful, but then you add your Pam spray and you can see one side is a little bit more
glistening and vibrant and it looks, I’m gonna say, moist. Because that’s the proper word to use. If you’ve seen any of my other videos, specifically the Whopper video, I did use Pam spray to add a
glistening sheen to the bun. The same effect is here. It’s already beautiful and golden and it looked great, but you add that little bit of oil, that little bit of glisten and it really just takes
it to another level. If using Pam spray is not
your favorite product, you can definitely just
do a brushing of oil or even one of your own spritzer bottles full of your favorite cooking oil like olive oil or even coconut oil. Each of these little tips,
that really enhance your food, are completely edible
and completely harmless. You obviously don’t want
to go too over the top with any cooking spray, per se, or oil. But adding just a touch is enough to really set your food apart. Especially for a gathering,
entertaining, holiday meals and that sort of thing. Well, hello there. Tip number four, how to garnish your
holiday meat masterpiece. First thing I would like to do is actually incorporate
one of my other tips that I’ve shared with you guys. Which is, adding moisture back
into food by spritzing it. I’ve actually saved the
rendered juices from the ham which I would like to brush back over the face of the ham to
give it some more moisture and some glisten. If you, unfortunately, threw
out any left over au jus from you meat or vegetables, definitely just use oil or,
like we talked about before, use your good old fashioned cooking spray. The ham looks great. It looks juicy, moist, it’s glistening. It definitely doesn’t look
dry, which is awesome. So now I think that we
can go ahead and garnish. Having a small citrus
to garnish your plate will not distract from
the main piece of it. It will just add in color and vibrancy without being very large and
overshadowing your centerpiece. I think having a varied
slice on your citrus really adds an extra element. So I’m gonna cut a few
of these into wedges and then I’m gonna slice a few in rounds. And I’m gonna leave some
of my lemons just in half. So if you can see, slicing this
into a wedge from this shape gives you that really clear,
segmented look on that lemon. I also have a couple pomegranates. These are in season, so they
do definitely play a role in a lot of holiday garnishes. So, I’m just going to prep
a couple of these out, just in case I decide to use them. If not, obviously,
they’re delicious to eat. What I normally do is start
with the leafy green herbs and sort of fill in some spaces that maybe I don’t want to be seen. So, with the sage leaves, I’m taking it and sort of tucking it in and almost making a frame around the face. But we have a couple other things that we’re gonna incorporate. I have these beautiful bay leaves, which are also very
traditional in fall cooking. You might brine a turkey with it or incorporate it into
your stuffing recipe. They’re just really nice. I’m also gonna incorporate
these really beautiful skillet-roasted garlic bulbs. So, I kind of want this to be up front. So we’re just gonna kind
of tuck him in up here next to the sage. And we’ll have his partner
not too far behind. Does that look good? Friends and family? Framily? And now we’re going to add in
our beautiful sliced citrus. And now, since I have
two rounds on this side, I’m going to add a lemon wedge back here to give it a little diversity and color, but also a difference in size and shape. I’m gonna rotate it back
around to the other side and we’re gonna do the same thing, but we’re gonna use a different slice. So, and since I used rounds
of oranges on the other side, I think I’m gonna come in and add a round of lemon on this side. And then we’ll tuck in some
orange wedges back here. And they don’t all have to be facing up. We can turn it over so you
can see the beautiful skin. This looks really pretty just with those few garnishes
added onto the platter. But it is also a really good opportunity to get as creative and
playful as you would like and incorporate colors. We have cranberries here, which
are actually the same color as this pomegranate, which is beautiful. You could do one or the other. The cranberries add a little pop of red, which is really nice. And it also screams fall
and Christmas and holidays when you incorporate those cranberries. Just showing you here what incorporating one of those pomegranate
wedges would be like. Maybe I would take out
this little orange wedge and just bring him in right there. That looks really nice to me too. So maybe we’ll just, since
we’re having fun with this, I’ll do a little bit of both. We’ll have cranberries on one side and a pomegranate wedge on the other side. Which do you like better? Comment and let me know. What kind of garnishes would you like on your holiday, whatever? As a final touch, I’m gonna
add some delicate thyme leaves to this platter. It really is sort of like one
of the last things you add as a filler because it’s so petite. But then it’s also really tender and you don’t want it to
get smooshed or bruised or anything like that. So I’m tucking a little bit
in right here on the side. It also brings back that
greenery that we started with, and maybe has gotten
covered up a little bit by all those other really
beautiful elements. So now we’re just kind of
bringing it full circle. You can see, this is not necessarily the only beautiful part of this platter. You have all these beautiful garnishes along the sides of the platter, which is eye-catching at any angle. So it really can serve as a centerpiece for your holiday table. We have moved everything
over to our photo set up. And now our photographer’s
gonna take a final beauty photo of everything we’ve done. Everything looks really
great and I’m super happy with the way everything turned out. If you happen to do any
of these tips at home, tag me on Instagram,
show me what you’ve done. We would love to see how you’ve
incorporated these things into your everyday life. While you’re at it, follow Well Done on YouTube and Instagram and be sure to like, comment,
subscribe to these videos. We would love to know what you
wanna see me food style next. That’s a wrap. (upbeat music) I guess broccoli is more
chartreuse than green beans though. Because I would way, this
is like pine forest green. Where as, that’s leprechaun green.

About the author


  1. Love your videos and after watching a bunch of them I can proudly say that my food looks so much better thanks to your incredible advise 🖤

  2. Extremely talented with this skill. Pleasently funny personality coming through ( like Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials), also. Everything looks GREAT❣ She make me want to try All of the ideas in this video, eventually. 👩‍🍳👍

  3. Absolutely love these videos!! The quality and production is incredible and super entertaining to watch. Can’t wait for y’all to blow up big 😎😎

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