the appetizer:

The Food Stylist's Handbook by Denise Vivaldo includes excerpts like Basic Food Stylist's Kit; Bacon; Getting Good Grill Marks; and Pizza Cheese.



Basic Food Stylist's Kit

by Denise Vivaldo

The Food Stylist's Handbook


Basic items that every food stylist should have in their kit:

  • Apron.
  • Angostura Bitters—an orange-brown coloring agent for food or beverages.
  • Bamboo skewers—to move small pieces of food onto and off of a plate or adjust food once on the plate. Skewers can also be used to hold different foods together.
  • Can opener.
  • Cookie cutters—round, in various sizes.
  • Cosmetic sponges, wedge-shaped—use as a wedge to help angle and adjust pieces of food.
  • Cotton balls—same use as above and as non-collapsing stuffing for foods like omelets.
  • Disposable lighter with adjustable flame, or a barbecue lighter.
  • Exacto Knife or matte knife—used to cut a multitude of things.
  • Forks, table and meat.
  • Fruit Fresh anti-browning powder—edible white powder that dissolves in water. Dip cut fruit and vegetables into the solution to prevent browning. Also use for reviving wilted greens and herbs.
  • Garnish tools.
  • Gloves, tight-fitting latex—for cutting hot chiles or handling stinky food.
  • Glycerin—use straight or add to water for making long-lasting water droplets (example: controlling the exact placement of water droplets without them moving or disappearing).
  • Kitchen Bouquet.
  • Kitchen towels, cloth—buy lint-free bartender's towels, or use old cloth diapers.
  • Knives—paring, bread slicer, meat carver, and chefs knife are the basics.
  • Ladles—in a variety of sizes.
  • Matches.
  • Metal skewers—heated on a stove and used to create grill marks on different items such as steaks, grilled fillets of fish, chicken breasts, grilled vegetables, etc.
  • Museum Wax, Quake Hold putty or florist clay—to hold items very securely in place. Museum Wax is our preferred material and we use it on every shoot.
  • Needle and thread—white, beige, brown and black thread to stitch up tears in meat or poultry before cooking.
  • Piping gel, clear—can be used as a lightweight food glue or thickener for sauces.
  • Ruler or tape measure.
  • Sharpening or diamond steel for knives.
  • Spoons, assorted sizes and materials.
  • Squeeze bottles—for placement of larger amounts of sauces and liquids.
  • Tape—transparent, gaffer's, electrician's (in various colors), duct, and painter's.
  • Timer, standard kitchen.
  • Thermometer, instant-read and oven.
  • Tongs—in a variety of sizes.
  • Turkey baster—used to extract or add liquid to a dish, keeping the mess to a minimum.
  • Vaseline—for gluing food together.
  • Vodka—an excellent cleaner of surfaces, it also slows down the browning of avocados.
  • Windex—don't leave home without it.
  • from:
    The Food Stylist's Handbook
  • by Denise Vivaldo
  • Gibbs Smith 2010
  • Hardback; $50.00
  • ISBN-10: 1423606035
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4236-0603-1
  • Reprinted by permission.

Buy The Food Stylist's Handbook


The Food Stylist's Handbook


Also check out Food Styling by Delores Custer


This page created October 2010


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