The Art of Food Styling: How to Turn Any Dish into a Work of Art


Food styling is an art form that turns ordinary dishes into visually stunning works of art. Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook looking to improve your plating skills, mastering the art of food styling can enhance your culinary creations and impress your guests. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the vital principles of food styling and provide actionable tips to help elevate your dishes to the next level.

Our previous blog discussed the basics of food styling and the role of color, texture, and shape in food styling. Click here to read it.

Food styling is primarily important because it enhances the visual presentation of the dish, making it more appetizing and inviting to the viewer. Secondly, it can convey the mood or theme of the food preparation and create a cohesive and memorable dining experience. Lastly, it can make your dish stand out and be memorable among competitors.

Choosing the Right Props and Backgrounds

One of the prime elements of food styling is choosing the right props and backgrounds to showcase your dish. The choice can make or break your dish’s presentation, so invest in quality dishes, utensils, and props fitting the food. Here are some crucial aspects to consider:


The importance of plates, bowls, and utensils

The choice of plate or bowl can significantly impact how your dish is perceived.

• Different dishes demand different types of tableware.
• Choose the right-sized plates and bowls to highlight the dish’s ingredients.
• The utensils should match the style and aesthetics of the dish. Use utensils that complement the dish, such as a long fork for spaghetti or chopsticks for sushi.
• Consider the crockery’s color, size, and shape to best suit your needs.

Food under the lens: Choose your linen

Linen is a crucial part of food styling that can be used to complement your dish. Choose napkins or kitchen towels with a similar color scheme to your platter.

• The tablecloth or placemat should not divert attention from the dish.
• Textured linens can add a sense of depth and interest to your presentation. Select a neutral-colored and texture-free cloth if it complements the dish.


Using kitchen towels or Napkins

Kitchen towels and napkins are versatile props that can be used to create a variety of effects. Fold towels into unique shapes to create height or use them to wrap bread or crackers for added texture.

The impact of backgrounds and surfaces

• The background and surface you choose can change the entire dynamic of your presentation. Use white or neutral backgrounds for a classic look, or select more natural settings for a rustic approach.
• Experiment with different surfaces like slate or wood to add texture and interest.
• The background or surface should complement and enhance the dish’s aesthetics and color scheme.
• Avoid complex patterns or bright colors that distract from the food.

Tips for sourcing props and backgrounds on a budget

You don’t need to break the bank to create stunning presentations. Visit thrift stores and garage sales for unique and affordable props. Utilize nature for free backdrops such as leaves or stones.

• Utilize second-hand shops and garage sales.
• Repurpose items like boards to use as backgrounds.

Tips for Elevated Food Styling

Elevate your food styling game with these actionable tips to help you:

• Focus on balance and symmetry in the presentation of the dish. The shape can be used to create symmetry and evenness in the layout.
• Color can create contrast and draw the eye to the most significant elements of the food. Use a limited color palette to create a cohesive and visually appealing look.
• Create contrast through the use of complementary colors and textures. A texture can create interest and depth.
• Use garnishes and toppings strategically to enhance the overall presentation of the dish.
• Experiment with colors and textures to create visually appealing plates.
• Use fresh, high-quality ingredients as they are more photogenic and delicious.
• Highlight the hero element of the dish by placing it centrally and building around it. Use props such as cutlery, napkins, and flowers to add depth and interest to the presentation.
• Use photography techniques such as angles, lighting, and focus to improve the visual arrangement of your dishes.


Food styling is a creative and rewarding skill that can impress your audience with the presentation of your creations. This guide presents the principles and techniques that can take your culinary skills to the next level with food styling and create dishes that are not only delicious but also visually stunning.
The world is your canvas, so let your creativity flow and transform your cooking into art.


  1. What is the difference between food styling and food photography?

Food styling involves the presentation and arrangement of food, in contrast with food photography this capturing that arrangement in a photo. Basic knowledge of color schemes and aesthetics is sufficient. However, culinary training can bring expertise in combining flavors and ingredients.

Basic knowledge of color schemes and aesthetics is sufficient. However, culinary training can fetch expertise in combining flavors and ingredients.

2. Can I use everyday dishes and utensils for food styling, or do I need specific sets?

While specialty dishes and utensils can make beautiful presentations, day-to-day sets can also be used with creative arrangement and pairing. Yes, you can use daily dishes and utensils. Moreover, choosing accessories according to casual and formal dining is crucial.

3. Is it necessary to have formal culinary training to excel in food styling?

Formal culinary training is unnecessary, but basic knowledge of color schemes and aesthetics is sufficient. However, you can attend short-duration culinary training can help to gain expertise in combining flavors and ingredients. Knowledge of food preparation and presentation techniques can be helpful.

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