News / USA

Stylist Gets Food Ready for its Close Up

Making meals appear tempting and delicious

Food stylist Lisa Cherkasky preps a sandwich during a photo shoot.
Food stylist Lisa Cherkasky preps a sandwich during a photo shoot.
TEXT SIZE - +
June Soh

When people think of stylists, it's usually a fashion or hair stylist. Many haven't heard of food stylists. But if you've looked through a cookbook, a newspaper food section or at a restaurant advertisement on TV, you have seen evidence of their work.

To food stylist Lisa Cherkasky, every detail makes a big difference. Her job is to make food look tasty and tantalizing for a photo shoot. At the moment, she is looking for just the right position for the garnish on a salmon bagel. After numerous tweaks, the bagel is ready for what she hopes is the final shot.

“It helps to have a good eye, being able to look at an image and see if it needs a different color, needs to be balanced another way," she says. "Also you need to understand food. You understand how it works chemically, how it works gastronomically. It is sort of like making a painting, I think, or a sculpture, so it has to be appealing aesthetically.”   

Today, Cherkasky is styling bread from the Gold Crust Baking Company. She gathers the ingredients, cooks the dishes and garnishes them so they're camera-ready. She often uses tricks or employs gadgets intended for other things.

“It might be a paint stripper because it produces heat but it does not blow like a hairdryer so you can warm something," she says. "It might be a grill starter that is used to make grill marks. I use Armor All (car product) that I spray on to keep things moist.”

Cherkasky began to explore food in her family's kitchen when she was in high school. She went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and worked as a chef for more than 10 years.

“Then I was looking to make a change to get out of restaurant work and I started working for Time-Life books in Alexandria (Virginia)," she says. "I started there doing recipe development and styling was part of the job.”

She's been a food stylist ever since and now partners with food photographer Renee Comet.

“We are all working as a team. If I don’t have a stylist I can’t concentrate on what I need to do," says Comet. "It is what makes a great photograph. Lisa and I probably have done maybe 30 cookbooks together over the years.”

Food stylist Lisa Cherkasky has produced numerous cookbooks with her partner, photographer Renee Comet.
Food stylist Lisa Cherkasky has produced numerous cookbooks with her partner, photographer Renee Comet.

Cherkasky has clients at magazines, cook books, newspapers, bakeries and food companies. Nausika Lyubinsky, a co-owner of the Gold Crust Baking Company, is watching the step-by-step process of today's shoot. Her company is planning a website to showcase its products.

"They see things that we are not used to seeing and it is wonderful," says Lyubinsky. "What we wanted to do is make sure these photos are attractive, that the chefs say 'I want that on my menu, mmm' or 'That looks good, I can make a sandwich out of it.' So, it is very important.”  

Cherkasky says in the beginning there was a lot of trial and error. “You could not really read anything. Now you can read. There are tons to read about food styling, but 25 years ago, right, you teach yourself. You can now take classes, and you can take it online. ”  

Cherkasky believes it helps to love food. She loves to look at it, eat it and even read about it. She says food pulls people together and it's essential.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid