Last Updated on 30 September 2010

Within the ads in this morning’s paper was a glossy ad for a national sub sandwich chain.

It is a given that the food presented in TV commercials and in print ads rarely if ever matches the true presentation you get in-store.

I’ve written about this before. But, c’mon… Honestly with this one?!

Has there ever been a time – other for than this “food hero” photo – that someone at this (or any sub shop) invested the time to weave the sliced meat back-and-forth like gift ribbon?

artful lunch meat

Trust me, if any frontline employee even tried to get close to a presentation like this, they would blow the labor figures and speed of service goals.

Secrets To Food Styling

By no means complete… Here are a few examples of how food is actually prepared for our ads:

  • Diluted Elmer’s white glue is used as cereal milk.
  • Cake comb” used to add texture back onto a piece of cut cake.
  • Dishsoap bubbles on top of a cup of coffee make coffee appear fresh brewed.

And here is one method to prep a hamburger for a photoshoot…

  1. Fry the hamburger for 20 seconds on each side.
  2. Use red-hot skewers pressed against the meat to give it that “grilled” look.
  3. Paint the hamburger with food colouring to give it that plump, brown, juicy appearance.
  4. Pick the best out of hundreds of hamburger buns (strategically gluing on extra sesame seeds if necessary).
  5. Line the buns with cardboard so that they don’t get soggy.
  6. Snip and spread the burger from behind so that it looks bigger in the bun.
  7. Select only the most perfect condiments and securing them in place with toothpicks.
  8. Secure the top of the bun to the hamburger with toothpicks.
  9. The finishing touch… artificial ‘steam’ placed behind the food to give it that ‘fresh from the oven’ appearance.

(Source: Food For Thought: Making Food Look Good)