Final Project: Paper over Food Stylists

Food Stylists: “Make-Up Artists for Food”

Evan Giesen


If you are watching commercials on television these days it is almost inevitable that you will see an advertisement for a fast food restaurant.  Often at the center of these advertisements is a big, juicy burger that looks absolutely delectable.  The image of that burger often makes your stomach grumble and groan with desire.  You eventually give into your stomach’s demands and order that beautiful burger that looks as if it was a handmade gift from God himself.  Unfortunately, what you receive in the restaurant looks as if it had been pulled straight out from under a heat lamp it had been sitting under for hours upon hours.  You may be asking yourself, how could this ever happen?  Is this really the same burger I saw in the commercial?  Unfortunately, this is usually the case.  The beautiful burgers from the commercials are a creation of people who work as “food stylists.”  In a nutshell, a food stylist basically is a “make-up artist for food.”

A food stylist’s main objective is to prepare food so it looks fresh and appetizing for advertising photos, television commercials, menu pictures, or any other situation that uses food imagery.  They do this by finding different combinations, ingredients, and various methods to prepare the food to look its best.  This is not a job for just anyone.  In order to become a food stylist, it is strongly encouraged to obtain a culinary school degree.  This is important because the occupation requires a broad understanding of how food acts both aesthetically and scientifically.

Now you might be wondering how a food stylist could possibly make an average, low quality fast food burger look so appetizing.  First they start with the beef patty.  The beef patty is only cooked approximately 20 seconds on either side so the beef doesn’t shrink.  This means that the burger in the advertisement is often still raw and very inedible.  After this, the beef patty is “branded” with a skewer in order to create those enticing black lines that create the illusion that the burger patty is straight off the grill.

Next is the bun.  The bun is incredibly important to the overall appearance of the burger, so dozens and dozens of buns are inspected until one is found with the perfect shape.  After the ideal bun is chosen, the stylist glues individual sesame seeds on to the bun using a toothpick and glue to give the bun the perfect fresh look.  Finally, a piece of cardboard is placed on the bottom bun to soak up all of the burger grease so the burger bun does not look soggy.  The cardboard also acts as a platform for the beef patty to sit on.

If the beef looks too small, or is scrawny looking when compared to the bun, the stylist takes two small cuts in the back of the burger in the shape of a V.  Then they spread the beef patty out on the bun by splitting the patty a little bit where the V is, making the burger patty fit better and look nicer when placed in the bun.  The viewer of the advertisement will never notice the cut because it is in the back of the burger and the ad is shot from the front of the burger.  After all of these steps are completed, the stylist paints the beef patty with food dye in order to give the burger a rich color that looks great on television and in print advertisements.

Finally is the addition of the toppings.  In order to find the best lettuce, the stylist goes through countless heads of lettuce to find the best.  All of the lettuce is stored in ice water in order to give them a nice crisp, fresh look.  Then the lettuce is pinned to the beef patty using straight pins and toothpicks so they stay in place.  These same steps are then repeated with tomatoes, pickles, onions, and/or any other topping that goes on the burger.

Of course, I have to mention as a disclaimer, these are just the basic steps that are known to be used on fast food burgers in advertisements.  That does not mean that every fast food restaurant uses these steps.  Some restaurants may use only some of the steps or possibly use different techniques.  But the bottom line is, the food stylist is almost always used in any fast food advertisement, and they create food images very different from the food that is received when ordered from the restaurant.  But all this means is that the food stylists are doing their jobs well.

Week 14: Video Games and Platform Studies

When analyzing the relationships between video games and some of the other media we have looked at in class this semester, I see quite a few similarities.  Some of the narrative pieces and poetry that were interactive were kind of like a video game.  When the reader is able to interact with the poetry, the reader is more captivated and their attention is more focused on the narrative.  The best example I can think of this is the most recent one, which is the poem, “Today I Die.”  This was easily the most interactive literature I had ever seen.

To be honest, I’ve never been much of a poetry buff throughout my life so far.  But when I was looking at “Today I Die,” I took a different approach to it.  It was fascinating, and the required involvement of the reader did wonders in terms of keeping my attention and interest levels high.  I would actually go as far as to say that “Today I Die” is like the literature/poetry version of a video game.  Overall, I really enjoyed the new experience.


Week 13: Forms of Digital Fiction & Poetry

The poem I am choosing to write about is “Today I Die.”  I have never before seen something like “Today I Die” in my life.  It was so unique and different.  At first, I was a little confused about how to navigate around the game and what was going on overall.  After a few minutes of playing around and messing with different things, I began to figure it out more.

I liked how you could change a word in the poem.  This kind of interaction with poetry is something that was much unknown to me previously.  I enjoyed the fact that changing one single word could change the vibe or “feeling” of the poem and game.  The fact that it is about death is also interesting to me, because there is often death in games, as with poetry.  But I had never seen death incorporated in both at the same time, which I was skeptical of at first.  But after a little while of playing around with it, I realized the creator did a very good job of combining the two types of media into one creation.

Week 12: Reading in Marketing

As a Marketing Major, I have always thought of reading as incredibly important in my field of study.  Without reading, there is no way to share information with others, and without the ability to share information, there is no Marketing.  Whether paper or digital, reading is critical.  There are reports, charts, data, surveys, and a variety of other things that need to be read.

While reading has always been a central part of my major, it has been transforming in terms of the forms of the readings.  Now information is shared through outlets such as email, the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other forms of digital multimedia.  This is a good thing, because it makes the sharing and reading of information quicker and more efficient.  What makes this such a good thing is the fact that there is such a major emphasis placed on reading in Marketing.

Blast Magazine: Original versus Digital

Recently I was able to see both the original copy of a Blast magazine in the archive, and the digital version of a Blast magazine.    Both were unique in their own way.  First off, there was my experience with the archive.  I honestly did not even know that this place existed and it was really cool to get to take a tour and learn more about it.  I think it is really neat what they are doing, and it gives people an opportunity to view original copies of books, some of which are very rare.  This is an experience that is open to any TU student, but is one that very few students take advantage of.

The digital version on the other hand was different.  It was weird seeing the Blast magazine on the computer and knowing that it is actually a giant magazine in physical form.  The advantages to the digital version are that it makes it accessible to a much larger audience, it is much quicker to read through since you do not have to worry about being gentle with an aged physical version, and it helps to preserve the original copy by making it unnecessary to require the usage of the original text.  While the original material in the archive was a beautiful piece of literary history, it is also aged and should be handled with care to increase longevity.  The digital versions lack the same specialness of handling the original copy, but are both practical and reasonably important to spreading the information in the text and preserving the quality of the original.

Mapping and Social Networking in Marketing

Social interaction used to be based around solely face to face interactions.  Then it progressed to letters, to phone calls, to email, to today’s social media options of skype, facebook, twitter, etc.  The opportunities for advancements are plentiful and exciting, and the opportunities to individually utilize these technologies are just as fascinating.  Personally, I am very interested in the future advancements, because I am a Marketing Major.  Mapping and social network analysis could potentially be incredibly useful in the field of marketing.  Mapping could be extremely important to utilize because in order to properly market a product, you need to do a lot of market research for various regions, groups, ages, etc. Mapping could be used to properly track this data in a way that is efficient and easy to interpret.

Similarly, social network analysis, when utilized correctly, can be a major assistance to the field of marketing.  These days, it is near impossible to find a company that doesn’t currently utilize social media in some way, shape, or form.  If a company wants to get the word out about themselves, or one of their products, social media is one of the best ways to do it. Plus, it is basically free advertising.  If the marketing division of a company is not already currently utilizing social network analysis to their benefit, they are going to get left behind by the competition.  That is the best way to describe how potentially useful they are to the field of marketing.