I've always been a little curious about the artistry involved in making food look good for TV ads. Donuts rolling by in slow-mo, chicken landing plumply on a grill and sizzling, cheese bridges. Wait, cheese bridges? Yep, that's one of the terms I learned from this fascinating piece from the New York Times about how those tasty-looking shots are produced.
"Tabletop directing," as it's called, inhabits a tiny niche that lies at the intersection of several of my interests. I minored in studio art in college and I've loved to cook since my first restaurant job at 16. Not to mention my professional interest in advertising as the Marketing Manager of the Flyer.
The artist in me admires the composition and dynamics of these images, but my inner cook knows that food is inexact. It's not supposed to look that good.
And the food really doesn't. Not on its own, at least.
I love looking at the luscious images of slow-mo food and knowing that it's almost certainly inedible — smeared with shiny vaseline, sprayed with glue, or filled with a cheese-delivering hypodermic needle*.
It's a job I think I could enjoy. Until something like this happened:
"Seven people, looking at a sandwich, saying things like: ‘There’s a hole here. Move that piece of meat.’"
Then again, maybe not. I'll leave the donut-throwing and chicken dropping to the pros.
*Actually, that one sounds delicious.