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Food Stylist's Handbook, The Hardcover – September 1, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 282 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


In this weighty manual by Denise Vivaldo, longtime Los Angeles food stylist and food -styling business owner, aims to educate prospective food stylists about the industry. The book mostly focuses on the business aspects of the industry, such as what is expected at a styling job for a magazine image versus a television cooking show.

Vivaldo teaches readers how to write a press release, business plan, and contract of work. One hundred pages of the book do contain food-styling instructions. Bacon, for example, should be arranged across a wire rack or weaved on a wooden skewer before cooking to achieve a crispy, curled look. Salads should be arranged leaf by leaf. Make coffee appear hot by spooning detergent bubbles into the cup, and always make your own "ice cream" with a recipe of shortening, powered sugar, and corn starch. Although the styling section is interesting, the tricks used to make a food look appetizing are useless if the stylist does not know how to prepare the food item in the first place. Therefore, this book is best for a person who is already has a high competency in culinary arts.

(Megan Just Sacramento Book Review 2011-12-09)

From the Inside Flap

Denise Vivaldo

"What a successful food stylist does is help produce a photo that sells a dream, brand, product, sandwich, plate, lifestyle, chef, or restaurant. We style everything and anything connected to food. Think of it this way: every picture tells and sells a story."

The secret world of food styling comes into focus in this handbook for chefs, artists, and food lovers who want to make the transition to food styling. Learn how to turn banal food into ambrosia before the camera's eye. Master the tricks of the trade to keep food looking fresh and mouth-wateringly delicious, even after hours on the set.

Denise Vivaldo has been a food stylist in Los Angeles for twenty-five years. Originally a professionally trained chef catering in Hollywood, Vivaldo was discovered by Aaron Spelling and put to work on his television shows building food presentations for the camera. Her company, Denise Vivaldo Group, Inc., styles food for cookbooks, packaging, television, and film. Vivaldo won the 2010 IACP Award of Excellence for food styling. The Food Stylist's Handbook is her sixth book.

A former art director and graphic designer, Cindie Flannigan manages marketing and communications for Food Fanatics, develops and tests recipes, and styles food for film and print. She teaches food styling classes and workshops in Los Angeles through the Culinary Entrepreneurship Program, along with plating and presentation seminars through the St. Joseph Center in Venice, California.

Front cover photograph by Jon Edwards, courtesy of Bristol Farms.
Back cover photographs: left top and bottom by Jon Edwards, courtesy of Elizabeth Tenhouten; right top by and courtesy of Heather Winters; right bottom by and courtesy of Jon Edwards.
Jacket Design by Debra McQuiston

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Gibbs Smith; 53860th edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 264 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1423606035
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1423606031
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 18 years and up
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 3.25 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9 x 1.25 x 10.75 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 282 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
282 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars "In the end, it's playing with your food!" Denise Vivaldo. Who doesn't want to play with their food?
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2017
"Hundred of Media Styling Tips, Tricks and Secrets" . . .? More like THOUSANDS. Wow. My book arrived Tuesday and I can't put it down. The photos are spectacular (duh?) but even more so, the tips, tricks and secrets just keep coming, page after page. I am not sure I have ever seen professionals share so much of their trade, but I am glad they did. Thank you Denise Vivaldo for sharing your career of excellence with us all, and thanks to Cindie Flannigan for helping you through the process. "In the end, it's playing with your food!" In a world gone mad, doesn't playing with my food sounds incredibly enticing? I can't wait to get some great photos for both of my businesses. You know those friends whose Instagram photos make you nuts ('cause they're so bad)? Well here's their birthday/Christmas gift. We can all up our food photo game now!
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Top reviews from other countries

2.0 out of 5 stars Not useful for me. (Maybe what you're looking for though)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 20, 2018
3 people found this helpful
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Enda Mc Cormack
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 20, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 21, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars Ottimo libro per food stylist
Reviewed in Italy on December 23, 2018
Marco S
5.0 out of 5 stars Lleno de recursos
Reviewed in Mexico on November 2, 2018