Thursday, March 13, 2014

This is a FAKE cake!

By Rebecca Blasdel
When you see stars on the red carpet, you have to wonder how they look so amazing. They must be getting some sort of help, maybe with a syringe maybe just some nicely contoured makeup, but I'm going to let you in on a secret, almost everything is faked.

Not just lips and breasts, but much of our work as Food Stylists is pretend too. A lot of it is real when it has to be physically eaten, but right now we are working on phony wedding cakes for two of the biggest prop houses in Hollywood. These are not just any  fake wedding cakes you can get at a bakery in LA, these have to be made to last.

Because these cakes are going to be used for countless movie and TV weddings for years to come they need to:
  • look fresh and fabulous for a long time on set. 
  • come back in one piece still looking fabulous
  • be rented over and over again but still look gorgeous, no sagging allowed!

 In Hollywood, everyone needs to look marvelous all the time and so does the food. Some of the materials and tools we used to test the first cake were:

Perma Ice, Fondant, Clay rolled out to look like fondant, Spackle, regular royal icing, fake royal icing, fake flowers, ribbons, bows, and all kinds of inedible decorations. There can be no rodents or insects around our cakes, they need to hit their mark and look pretty.

A new trend at weddings is that some couples actually prefer to buy or rent fake cakes for their weddings and only make the top layer or two edible. It saves time, money, potential accidents, and makes for a beautiful cake cutting ceremony. Which is why we are also in the business of making fake wedding cakes for movie studios.

But back to making fake things look real in Hollywood.
We started with styrofoam rounds and filed them down. Then we layered on the spackle. This worked well at first, but eventually it began to crack a little so we moved on to clay. Huge crack, moving on. Time for Perma Ice.

Much like applying make up to an aging actress we smoothed, sanded, contoured, and pinned until we perfected our final product.
To quote Betty Davis, "Old age is no place for sissies," and neither is the food styling business.
Finally we turned to Perma Ice which is sticky, difficult to apply, and expensive, but somehow did the trick!

Next we needed to figure out a way to make the tiers movable from place to place. We made them so that each piece could be assembled and carried separately in a box, taken out, placed on top of each other and Voila! Fake wedding cakes that don't fall apart, and cannot be snacked on by rats (with fur, not the agent/ manager variety.)

In closing we would like to present the most beautiful FAKE HOLLYWOOD CAKE made by us, food stylists who start projects without a clue and somehow bring them to the silver screen with such elegance and grace that no one ever thinks twice about what is going on behind the scenes with the most sought after Food Stylist in Hollywood.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving on TV! To hell and back in the world of the most sought after Food Stylist in Hollywood...

By Rebecca Blasdel

"Castle" and "Last Man Standing"

THANKSGIVING. Everyone's favorite meal... unless you are a food stylist and are cooking anywhere from 10-25 turkeys in one season, six weeks before turkey day.

That's 25 turkeys, 10 pounds of stuffing, 15 vats of mashed potatoes, dozens of pans of candied yams, 50 pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies; cranberry sauce, the list goes on. Not to mention the "Martha Stewart" version with roasted brussels sprouts, sliced fresh yams with honey, farm to table organic free range turkeys and geese that run around the stage before they hit the oven. Also sometimes the disgusting - including tofurkey, turdukin, and anything deep fried.

Complaints aside, it's actually fun to get to do it way before anyone else. To power through Pinterest, Google images, and the Food Network in search of the latest, greatest, and prettiest versions of a wonderful traditional meal. No wonder it takes us only five minutes to carve up a bird compared to your Uncle Ralph who takes 40 minutes. The truth is, our feasts mostly look great.. unless of course a big shot actor is eating... then it needs to TASTE great too.

Recently, we were lucky enough to create a turkey dinner for everyone's moms favorite show, "Castle" as well as for Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing". Castle was traditional with a huge turkey, and Tim Allen was "smoking" his turkey. There were 'manly hors d'oeuvres for Tim Allen's show including smoked meats, nutty cheddar balls, and ritz crackers. And girly ones too - burrata with prosciutto and roasted peppers. There were pies, oh were there pies. Pies that had to be tossed, pies that didn't have the exact dough leaf pattern we were searching for, pies that were beautiful, and pies that just were so happy to be sprayed with pam and left alone to chill for a while.

We also had yams with marshmallows, yams without pecans, potatoes with skins, potatoes with chives, potatoes with yams, and yams with cranberries. Cranberries on pies and well... you get the picture.

Here are some pictures of what we do to the poor turkeys, once they are ready for cooking, to make them look perfect. And some more pictures of what is done to make the rest of it look great.


If you would like to learn more about Food Styling classes and how you can learn about the fine art of culinary design... write us at

But since we are only human and we love thanksgiving food as much as anyone else... here are some wonderful, delicious recipes that are tried and true to make Thanksgiving a wonderful meal for our families as well.

Friday, September 27, 2013

INTERNATIONAL TACO NIGHT!! Featuring the cast of RAISING HOPE and Fischer & Wieser's delicious sauces!

Entering its fourth season, RAISING HOPE, is the critically acclaimed comedy from Emmy award winner Greg Garcia ("My Name is Earl") that follows the continuing adventures of the Chance family as they raise an adorable toddler named Hope. In the episode above, a cow at the petting zoo has bitten Hope and the butcher who runs it has given the family a huge supply of meat to prevent any lawsuit.

At 23, JIMMY (Lucas Neff) unexpectedly became a single parent (by unknowingly impregnating a serial killer) and now his life's goal is to be the world's best dad. Jimmy's parents VIRGINIA (Martha Plimpton) and BURT (Garret Dillahunt) who had Jimmy at the tender age of 15, don't mind being back in the baby game. They made mistakes with Jimmy, but now with their granddaughter, they finally have the opportunity to get everything right. The Chances live with Jimmy's erratic great-grandmother, MAW MAW (Cloris Leachman) whose eccentricities now force everyone to stay on their toes.

In this episode that we recently worked on, the Chances decide to clean out the fridge and hold an International Taco Night, which in their world consists of "French" fries, "Greek" yogurt, Chinese noodles and a myriad of other foods that have, of course, nothing to do with tacos, but everything to do with cleaning out the fridge!

In reality however, we have come up with the most delicious tostada using Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods, Inc.'s salsa along with their Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce for a marinade for the chicken. When we were first contacted by the marketing department of Fischer and Wieser based on how much they liked our blog, we were asked to use their products in a recipe and add them to our blog if we were interested. We were so excited and the sauces were so delicious we used them multiple times during our shoots.

In our "Ironside" blog post we used the Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce and dribbled it over our fried chicken. It has just the right amount of mango and spice to give it the perfect kick.

For this post, we decided to use both the Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce to marinate the chicken breasts - which is really delicious - and then we used the Salsa a la Charra to top our tostadas.

So far, we have used Mom's Garlic & Basil Spaghetti Sauce on one of our shoots with pasta and it was very well received. We topped it with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano and fresh basil.

We also loved The Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce® and served it with warm brie and crusty baguette slices topped with cilantro. The Smokehouse Bacon & Chipotle Grilling Sauce is to die for and we basted some racks of baby back ribs and chicken with it for another shoot and a party as well! Fischer and Wieser has generously offered a few of their products to us to raffle off in a giveaway with our loyal blog fans! Please feel free to enter the raffle below using your email or Facebook and a winner will be chosen on October 2nd. To enter, leave us a comment about what you would make with the Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce we used for our chicken and earn a chance to get an amazing assortment of sauces delivered right to your door! To get more information about Fischer and Wieser and their fabulous sauces please visit their website here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  
But wait... A post of ours just wouldn't be the same without some strange request in the food styling world. In this episode, MAW MAW needs to eat a napkin that she thinks is a taco. "Are these supposed to be hard or soft shell tacos?" To which Virginia replies, "That's a napkin Maw Maw." It was our task to come up with something to pick up that was edible and resembled a napkin but whose color needed to be either white or close in color to the yellow napkin. We experimented with real tortillas, cut them with scissors, and painted them with edible color. Next we experimented with edible paper (aka thin fondant sold in sheets). We mixed the color that matched the napkins and blotted it with a special cloth. After that, we let it dry and then turned it over to do the other side. We made 20 of each. Success! She ate the fondant yellow napkin. No complaints!

Here are a few more edible creations we've made for "Raising Hope!"

Easter Island Sculptures made with cheddar cheese by Skylar Thomson

Click read more to get our delicious recipes

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

IRONSIDE: Blair Underwood and Dominican Food...can I get a what what...

A new sexy approach to detective work from a wheelchair and we got to fry his chicken...

Whoa. Blair Underwood.

I first worked with Blair Underwood on the set of LA Law.. Is this a kush job or what?

In his IMDB profile it states, and I quote, "Blair Underwood is a smart, confidant, eloquent, exceptionally handsome African-American actor who was born in Tacoma Washington in 1964, the son of an Army man, and, with his family lived all over the world. Trained in musical theater at Carnegie-Mellon, he moved to New York and got his first break on his second day there by winning a part on "The Cosby Show," and later scored the charismatic role of attorney Jonathan Rollins in the hit dramatic series "LA Law"

BUT WAIT.. We were discussing movie food...

We arrived at the "O's Chicken Shack" location in downtown LA (posing as NYC) at 6 am with massive amounts of lime marinated Dominican fried chicken with a mango sauce, creamy cuminy delicious cole slaw, cheesy gooey mac and cheese, spicy fried okra, not to mention a sumptuous island banana pudding with toasted coconut.

The cuisine of the Dominican Republic reflects it's melting pot roots of Taino, European and African cultures with
later additions from Lebanon, Syria, and other communities of the Middle East and Asia. 

Arriving anywhere at 6 am is a challenge, but arriving with food, food warmers, coolers, knives, cutting boards, spray bottles, gloves, microwaves, a tool kit...well you get the picture...

6:30 AM. Interior of O's Chicken Shack with food in place warm and ready to go. 

Once inside and settled in we carved out a space for ourselves and got to work putting together a Dominican buffet behind the "shack" counter. In this industry everyone is constantly jockeying for position, but at the same time being extremely polite and respectful (well most of the time) of each others work. After all there are hairdressers, makeup artists, a wardrobe department, camera crew, sound engineers, grips, video village, electricians, cinematographers, directors, assistant directors, set decorators, property masters.. all who need a place to be, and sometimes in some very tiny locales. One needs to know who to ask the proper questions of, how to quickly get out of their way, and how to set

Picking up his chicken

The scene opens on an actor walking up to the counter to get his chicken. No sooner had we turned around, and he was pushed up against a wall. Cut! 50 chicken legs later that man was fried chickened out.

And apparently Blair Underwood... Also loved the chicken. Now he too is tweeting about the most sought after food stylist in Hollywood

Just kidding.

Recipes for Lime marinated Fried Chicken, Creamy Cumin Cole Slaw and delicious Caribbean Banana Pudding

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sullivan and Son-Bacon Pizza!

The amazing cast of "Sullivan and Son"

Food Porn at its Best


Food porn is a glamorized visual presentation of food in every type of visual media. Usually it involves foods boasting a high fat and calorie content or exotic dishes that arouse a desire to eat or cook. Food porn often takes the form of food photography and styling that presents food provocatively, in a similar way to fashion photography or pornography. 

When you think about it, what is more delicious than a photograph of a cheeseburger dripping with ketchup, special sauce, cheese, lettuce, grilled onions, and tomatoes weighing just enough to squeeze out little spurts of mustardy mayo deliciousness?

Imagine a flourless chocolate cake that oozes molten chocolate onto the plate mixing with a mint creme anglaise and raspberry coulis with fresh sugared raspberries dancing around nearby. And who these days doesn’t love bacon? We now have bacon butter, bacon donuts, bacon cupcakes, bacon lollipops, and of course the old standby... bacon pizza.

What better example could there be than a recent assignment where I was asked to produce 30 pizzas so bacon-y and decadent that the bacon had to be baked INTO the crust, for the comedy TV hit, “Sullivan and Son”. In this particular episode comedian Ken Jeong (Hangover trilogy, The Office, Knocked Up) played a depressive urologist, and at the prompting of his friends discovers the miracle of pizza washed down with many sake bombs. He exclaims drunkenly, "beer and pizza! Does anyone know about this combination?” The funny thing is that Ken Jeong actually is a doctor and an amazing comedic actor who graduated with his MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.. But back to Bacon pizza...

In this episode, Brian Doyal Murray, a bar regular, is supposed to be scarfing down the bacon pizza, and we were called in to produce this tasty prop. My team and I sourced out the best Pizzeria for the job as the producers were very specific about having a perfectly round pizza dripping with bacon and cheese that looked exactly the same in every shot, which is never an easy task.  In food styling there is something called continuity. If the principal actor is eating a slice of pizza it has to be replicated exactly as it was in the first ten takes (then the next 10 takes often using a spit bucket), but back to delicious food and the need for 30 perfect pies.

After calling 25 pizza places, we found “Pizza Cookery”, in Woodlands Hills CA, They were personal friends of one of my amazing assistants, Skyler Thomson and the only ones that would bake cheese and bacon into the crust as well as on the surface. It still took three tries (driving out to Woodland Hills each time) to get them close to the effect that we wanted for the camera. After arriving at the set we had to strategically place tons of perfectly baked, sliced and shined up pieces of bacon onto the slice to make it look truly mouth watering.  Check our next blog for tricks on the road to shininess...

Bacon Pizza is the perfect food porn. With a calorie content of 2,340 and enough saturated fat to clog any artery, it is just tempting enough, with its great color and visual appeal (accented with Pam), to look irresistible. We knew we had succeeded because it was difficult to fend off the crew from eating the props throughout the shooting.  In fact everyone in the cast and crew got to eat tons of bacon pizza leading to a truly happy ending again, in the life of LA’s most sought after food stylist.

Artisan Pizza
Sophie Clark, (of "Sophie's Choice” and another of my great assistants) is a pizza maven extraordinaire. We wanted to include an updated delicious classic and much healthier version of bacon pizza that involves prosciutto, shaved brussel sprouts, home made mozzarella, and tiny little farm to table red and orange button tomatoes.