Culinistas's Kitchen,  Recipes & Cooking

Easy Food Styling Tips & Tricks From the Pros

by The Culinistas

Last week our very own culinary director DyAnne Iandoli walked us through a few of her favorite food styling tips and tricks. While we were busy drooling over her gorgeous food (Pork Tenderloin & Apples, Roasted Carrots & Dates, and Winter Baby Kale Salad to be specific) over Zoom, we also managed to learn a thing or two along the way. If only Zoom could have a taste-tasting feature…

Follow these easy styling tips & tricks and you’ll be on your way to being your own personal chef at home:

When salads go low, we go high

Salads can be a stumper — especially when plating for a party. Use a shallow bowl and build up. Salads love height. Start with greens and build the salad in layers so late arriving guests aren’t stuck with all arugula and no mix-ins. Dress the components separately so that you have more control. Remember: You can always add more dressing but can’t take it away so start small. For ingredients you can’t see in the dressing (i.e. herbs or nuts) use them to garnish the top so guests are clued in.

Whole foods

Don’t be afraid to leave ingredients like carrots whole — including the tops. Go in with a Y-peeler to gently clean the dirt off the seam where tops meet carrot. With shape in mind, mix up cuts on other ingredients. In order to make clean cuts on a soft ingredient like dates that have been soaked in water, choose a variety that will hold up when you cut it (like a Deglet over a Medjool). 

Protein power

Use a neutral green to fill in your protein platter. For example, when making our Pork Tenderloin & Apples, place pieces of pork on a platter either on top of or under a bed of arugula. Instead of shingling your protein on a plate, cut thicker pieces and scatter them flat across the platter. That way, guests can see how an ingredient is cooked (rare, med-rare, etc). For a two-protein dinner, remember to cut smaller portions (4 oz as opposed to 6-8 oz) of each. Drizzle sauce on each piece of protein and on any additional components for full flavor potential.