Since the time I started styling there have been instances where I have sewn the back of puffed phulkas which are stuffed with cotton or made the perfect looking grilled paneer with the amazing grill marks and even made the perfect tandoori kebabs without the tandoor; I have even made the best looking ice cream scoop from powdered sugar and eggs and even swirled fake ice cubes that sit in glasses for hours without melting. Well these are the things and tricks we are skilled for and love their tools that enhance the beauty of any dish at any given point.
I won’t be going too deep into the tool kit but would give you a glimpse of the top 10 essentials we usually carry with us at any given point.
Tweezers- If you tell any food stylist to go on a shoot with just one tool it would be this 5 inch tweezer. They are easy to use than fingers when it comes to giving final touches to any dish. And to make the garnishes stand.
Water Spray Bottle- A good old water spray on any product will freshen up the dish and revitalize anything that has lost moisture from sitting for too long. A light spray of water helps to catch the light and give the photograph a lively look.
Q tips/ Ear Buds- The most important tool for touch ups. When you realise you have poured more sauce than required a few of these ear buds can save a lot off your time and energy and absorb a lot of unwanted sauce or oil drippings. You can also dip them in soap water to clean a few spots away.
Toothpicks/Satay Sticks- these are used for all sort of things. For example you can keep stacks of lettuce in place while building a burger. You can also pin a boneless chicken thigh for a nice shape before cooking it so it holds the shape while searing. Satay sticks come handy for larger stacks
Glycerin- A really useful stuff in the tool kit. Glycerin help in keeping the food moist for a longer time and it also helps cut fruits from discoloring. Glycerin when mixed with cold water and sprayed on the outside of the glass mimics the condensation of cold drink.
Medicine Dropper- Last minute touches for sauce pouring and chocolate drippings work well with medicine droppers. You can use the same ones you use for children while feeding them medicines.
Blow Torch/Heat Gun-Blow torch or heat gun is a multipurpose gun. These are also known as food stylists life lines. From melting cheese, to caramelizing sugar and even cooking marinated kebabs, to shining the chocolate these guns do everything.
Butter Curler- This is a handy tool designed to produce decorative butter shapes and is also used for chocolate shavings for cake decorations or dessert decorations.
Blue Tack- The tacky property of blue tack makes it the perfect tool for securing small props in place; it also helps in making nuggets stand in any direction we want. You can also use it for fixing any plate at an angle as per the photographer’s liking.
Paint Brush-Paint brushes help in doing a lot of chocolate works and crumby jobs. Paintbrushes help in oiling poultry and breads to give them a shine and also help in giving finishing touches to the dish.