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Why restaurant meals don't look like the ads
CNBC.com ^ | May 19, 2014 | Kattie Little

Posted on 05/19/2014 8:51:43 AM PDT by upbeat5

Blowtorches, tweezers and glue: These are just a few of the items used to create those mouth-watering restaurant ads.

To make food look as appealing as possible, food stylists and photographers use a range of instruments, good lighting, fresh ingredients and attention to detail. These tricks of the trade help explain why restaurant meals from the drive-thru often look very different than they do in promotional images.

"Nothing is just plopped down and put in the center like it is when you order at a restaurant," said Jean Ann Bybee, owner of Bybee Photography and co-author of a pair of books about food styling.

During shoots, stylists use tweezers, toothpicks, scissors, small blowtorches, paper, tape, glue, pins, paint, oil and glycerin to manipulate and enhance food, Bybee said.

(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ads; meals; restaurant
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My wife and I discuss this all the time. I once was in a Taco Bell and a customer came back to the order counter with some sort of Burrito thingy she just had been served. Looked awful and was just plopped on a serving dish. Taco Bell was pushing this particular item at the time. The customer told them that she wanted her food to look just like that picture (pointing to advertisement on counter). They took it back and reserved it. I didn't see what it looked like as I had to leave.
1 posted on 05/19/2014 8:51:43 AM PDT by upbeat5
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To: upbeat5
Can anybody tell me whats wrong with this picture?


2 posted on 05/19/2014 8:55:17 AM PDT by skeeter
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To: upbeat5

In a related breaking news story, most wives and girl friends do not look like the TV ads when served in Victorias Secret lingerie either…..


3 posted on 05/19/2014 8:55:36 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright
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To: upbeat5

TV advertisers have been putting Elmer’s Glue over the breakfast cereal for decades.

Heck, the contents of most canned foods don’t look as appealing as the picture on the can label.


4 posted on 05/19/2014 8:56:49 AM PDT by elcid1970 ("In the modern world, Muslims are living fossils.")
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To: upbeat5

i have gone to Taco Bell and asked them to put as much cheese on my taco as they show in the picture... they do... once i took my taco back to the counter because it was so “not filled.” at that time i was a pretty regular customer... the manager had all three of my tacos done again, and they were nicely filled :)


5 posted on 05/19/2014 8:57:55 AM PDT by latina4dubya (when i have money i buy books... if i have anything left, i buy 6-inch heels and a bottle of wine...)
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To: upbeat5

We don’t eat out as much as we used to because we now live in “Northern Mexico”, otherwise known as the Houston area and I don’t trust the cleanliness of the third world workers. I recently read that photos showing ice cream dishes often use mashed potatoes to represent the ice cream


6 posted on 05/19/2014 8:58:23 AM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: C. Edmund Wright
In a related breaking news story, most wives and girl friends do not look like the TV ads when served in Victorias Secret lingerie either…..

ha!

7 posted on 05/19/2014 8:58:46 AM PDT by latina4dubya (when i have money i buy books... if i have anything left, i buy 6-inch heels and a bottle of wine...)
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To: upbeat5

Do they mean small propane torches, not small blow torches?


8 posted on 05/19/2014 8:58:54 AM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: upbeat5

That’s how it’s done, and movie stars get made up before they get photographed, and politicians get a new suit and a haircut, and ads for cars tell you only what they want you to hear and leave out the details that you won’t like, and people make up the attributes that they post on “dating” sites, etc etc.

I look past what they want me to believe and try to find out for myself what things are really like.


9 posted on 05/19/2014 8:59:08 AM PDT by I want the USA back (Media: completely irresponsible. Complicit in the destruction of this country.)
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To: upbeat5

They hire models with small hands to hold their burgers for the ads too.


10 posted on 05/19/2014 8:59:32 AM PDT by Hugin
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
I recently read that photos showing ice cream dishes often use mashed potatoes to represent the ice cream

on Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Ramsey, one restaurant used butter on their dessert display... it was on a brownie to look like ice cream... Chef Ramsey found it "effin" unbelievable!"

11 posted on 05/19/2014 9:00:40 AM PDT by latina4dubya (when i have money i buy books... if i have anything left, i buy 6-inch heels and a bottle of wine...)
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To: skeeter
Can anybody tell me whats wrong with this picture?

The lib actor expects an Oscar for his left-coast portrayal of angry conservatives?

12 posted on 05/19/2014 9:01:52 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (I'm a Christian, pro-life, pro-gun, Reaganite. The GOP hates me. Why should I vote for them?)
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To: upbeat5

Food is one of the tougher things to photograph and actually make look good. With actual fast food off the line its pretty much impossible because it starts out looking like crap.


13 posted on 05/19/2014 9:02:16 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: Hugin

Ha ha—makes sense, in an advertising sort of way.


14 posted on 05/19/2014 9:02:40 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: skeeter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeGk1bgBa7s


15 posted on 05/19/2014 9:03:11 AM PDT by BulletBobCo
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To: skeeter

One of my all time favorite movies.


16 posted on 05/19/2014 9:03:31 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: goodwithagun
Do they mean small propane torches, not small blow torches?

You can't go wrong with a blow torch...


17 posted on 05/19/2014 9:04:40 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (I'm a Christian, pro-life, pro-gun, Reaganite. The GOP hates me. Why should I vote for them?)
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To: upbeat5

I’ve done food styling and photography in the past. It’s heavily idealized. Anything that’s glistening has been sprayed with glycerine. Actual water droplets on fruit, etc. or a hot, juicy-looking steak are not going to stay that way long enough to get the shot. So, something more stable like glycerine is used. There is an entire industry centered around creating unbelievably realistic looking artificial food for this very purpose.

People putting food together in a restaurant are not going to struggle to get that absolutely perfect piece of lettuce for your hamburger, or that vine-ripe, flawless red tomato for your salad. They work with what they’ve got under severe time constraints. Some restaurants are better than others for delivering upon expectations.

Decent places get close but it’s very seldom going to be picture perfect. That takes a whole ‘nother type of focus that you’d only get in a fine dining establishment that strives for presentation and makes enough money on the sale to afford the time and effort to get it that way.


18 posted on 05/19/2014 9:05:53 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: upbeat5

Many years ago I read that steam rising from a hot burger or steak doesn’t photograph well so they blow cigarette smoke onto the food for commercials.


19 posted on 05/19/2014 9:06:19 AM PDT by eartrumpet
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To: upbeat5

I’ve done food photography. Not as hard as weddings but it’s hard. I doubt you could eat just about anything after its been made to look pretty for the camera. Heck, it took 2+ hours to get a plate of pasta right once.
\
there’s a reason that a meal at a three star place, one that DOES look like a photo, can set you back $750 for two before wine.


20 posted on 05/19/2014 9:07:08 AM PDT by RedStateRocker (Nuke Mecca, deport all illegal aliens, abolish the IRS, DEA and ATF.)
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To: latina4dubya

I can see how that would work - we have a family joke about a time, many years ago, while flying, my sister was served a little cup of whipped butter and she thought it was whipped cream and downed it before my parents could stop her (yeah she was like that) - the look on her face was priceless to the family. Served her right for thinking she was going to eat dessert before her dinner.


21 posted on 05/19/2014 9:07:12 AM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: I want the USA back
and ads for cars tell you only what they want you to hear and leave out the details that you won’t like

My wife told me a story about when she went to a dealer way back in the early 90s. They had a car she liked sitting on the lot. She got in, and asked the salesman what the SRS stood for that was on the dash. He tried to tell her it was a performance upgrade. She looked at him, laughed, and walked out.

22 posted on 05/19/2014 9:07:26 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Has anyone seen my tagline? It was here yesterday. I seem to have misplaced it.)
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To: skeeter

There’s two bugs on the guy’s shirt! In addition the pic was taken in the ‘60’s ie: Pocket protector; haircut; glasses; tie. (Must have worked for Bill Gates.)


23 posted on 05/19/2014 9:08:23 AM PDT by TaMoDee (Go Pack Go! The Pack will be back in 2014!)
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To: COBOL2Java
The lib actor expects an Oscar for his left-coast portrayal of angry conservatives?

The funny thing is, that all backfired. Kinda like Archie Bunker. He was not supposed to be a sympathetic character, but he ended up being one, primarily because so many identified with the BS he had to put up with. Gang-bangers identifying their turf with pictographs, crap food, numb-nuts all over trying to screw everyone over. The guy just wanted to see his kid.

24 posted on 05/19/2014 9:10:03 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Has anyone seen my tagline? It was here yesterday. I seem to have misplaced it.)
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To: latina4dubya
i have gone to Taco Bell and asked them to put as much cheese on my taco as they show in the picture... they do... once i took my taco back to the counter because it was so “not filled.” at that time i was a pretty regular customer... the manager had all three of my tacos done again, and they were nicely filled :)

LOL - what a great idea... Either bring a picture from an ad - or point to the picture on the board. "THIS is the taco I want"... Great one latina.

25 posted on 05/19/2014 9:11:42 AM PDT by GOPJ (If dems will "death panel" our vets they'll damn sure death panel the rest of us...)
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To: upbeat5
They need to go to the Japanese and get them to make plastic models of the food. Much cheaper and reusable as well. Lots of foreigners whom I knew in Japan would go to the wholesale district to buy models of that plastic food displayed in the windows of better restaurants.

I had a favorite curry rice restaurant when I worked in downtown Tokyo. The owner/chef made a great curry rice for a reasonable price, but operated on a shoestring. He rented a floor above a fancier restaurant and had a small display at the entrance to the stairs, so he put out the actual food. He probably ate it before he closed the shop for the day.

26 posted on 05/19/2014 9:13:08 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: upbeat5

Several decades ago, Campbell soups were accused of adding marbles to bowls of soup in their advertisements. The marbles would force the meats and veggies to the top, making the soups appear to be more filled with them.


27 posted on 05/19/2014 9:13:11 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: GOPJ

Given the general level of nastiness among fast food workers in some establishments, I would be concerned about doing that if the food got out of my sight after being sent back.


28 posted on 05/19/2014 9:13:15 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: cripplecreek

“Food is one of the tougher things to photograph and actually make look good. With actual fast food off the line its pretty much impossible because it starts out looking like crap.”

....’starts out’ looking like crap.”

Looks like it.

Smells like it.

Tastes like it.

Could it be .... ?


29 posted on 05/19/2014 9:14:10 AM PDT by GladesGuru (Islam Delenda Est - because of what Islam is and because of what Muslims do.)
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To: Vigilanteman

High quality “prop” food for photography or display is not cheap at all.


30 posted on 05/19/2014 9:18:34 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: upbeat5

I once was in a Taco Bell and a customer came back to the order counter with some sort of Burrito thingy she just had been served. Looked awful and was just plopped on a serving dish. Taco Bell was pushing this particular item at the time. The customer told them that she wanted her food to look just like that picture (pointing to advertisement on counter). They took it back and reserved it. I didn’t see what it looked like as I had to leave.

I hear they use oatmeal as a “meat filler”, unless that is an urban legend..


31 posted on 05/19/2014 9:21:02 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: RegulatorCountry

Maybe not and that includes some of the plastic food sold in Japan. But when measured against the cost of a professional photographer spending a couple of hours to get it to look exactly right and all the other associated costs, it is at least competitive.


32 posted on 05/19/2014 9:23:27 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: cripplecreek
“Food is one of the tougher things to photograph and actually make look good. With actual fast food off the line its pretty much impossible because it starts out looking like crap.”

Way back when we had to tinker with our TV a repairman told me the best way to adjust the color was when food was being shown. I eyes are very fussy about food color.

33 posted on 05/19/2014 9:24:01 AM PDT by CrazyIvan (I lost my phased plasma rifle in a tragic hovercraft accident.)
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To: GraceG

Cooked ground beef is a problem once it gets cold, and it will on a photo set before the final shot is achieved. All manner of things get used to work around the problem of fat congealing, things like that, that the camera will pick up on and ruin the shot. I’ve never heard of oatmeal being used for this purpose but would not be surprised.


34 posted on 05/19/2014 9:25:10 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: GOPJ

Not so sure that getting more of whatever it is Taco Bell puts in their food is doing yourself any favors.


35 posted on 05/19/2014 9:25:37 AM PDT by Trailerpark Badass (There should be a whole lot more going on than throwing bleach, said one woman.)
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To: C. Edmund Wright

nice


36 posted on 05/19/2014 9:27:04 AM PDT by redhawk.44mag
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
I recently read that photos showing ice cream dishes often use mashed potatoes to represent the ice cream

Have you any idea what studio lighting does to ice cream? It's almost impossible to photograph.

We did the advertising for an ice cream chain and we overcame the problem by a.) installing a large freezer at the edge of the set and b.) hiring a "professional ice cream dipper" (there is such a job specialty).

At that, you're still constantly dipping and switching...

At one time, especially sculpted and painted plaster was used to stand in for ice cream at photography sessions. And I understand why...

37 posted on 05/19/2014 9:27:20 AM PDT by okie01 (<b>The Mainstream Media: </b> Ignorance on parade.)
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To: okie01

Oh I wasn’t making fun - I can’t imagine even using butter as one freeper mentioned - I actually thought using mashed potatoes was very clever


38 posted on 05/19/2014 9:28:48 AM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: RegulatorCountry

Making fake food for display, is a really big thing in Japan.


39 posted on 05/19/2014 9:29:24 AM PDT by redhawk.44mag
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To: upbeat5

Why don’t most actors and actresses look like they do on TV?

The food in an advertisement has been made up - airbrushed, etc., until it has little to do with the real appearance of the prepared food. The only limitation on doing this is that the food actually has to be edible for a VERY broad definition of edible.


40 posted on 05/19/2014 9:30:30 AM PDT by Little Ray (How did I end up in this hand-basket, and why is it getting so hot?)
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To: upbeat5
If only McDonalds hamburgers had as much meat in the burgers as the ones in their advertisements...
41 posted on 05/19/2014 9:30:41 AM PDT by Cowboy Bob (They are called "Liberals" because the word "parasite" was already taken.)
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To: skeeter

Michael Douglas doesn’t look at all like that anymore...ate too many tacos


42 posted on 05/19/2014 9:31:25 AM PDT by redhawk.44mag
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
We don’t eat out as much as we used to because we now live in “Northern Mexico”, otherwise known as the Houston area and I don’t trust the cleanliness of the third world workers.

Reason number 15,672,839 why open borders and multiculturalism are horrible ideas and do not benefit or "enrich" Americans.

43 posted on 05/19/2014 9:40:28 AM PDT by Nea Wood (When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.-Sowell)
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To: TaMoDee

The movie’s name was Falling Down. It was about an “angry conservative” the problem was most Americans were sick of the issues shown in the movie then and are surely more angry now. Essentially we identified with the guy. Michael Douglas did a good job.


44 posted on 05/19/2014 9:40:31 AM PDT by Nuc 1.1 (Nuc 1 Liberals aren't Patriots. Remember 1789!)
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To: Hugin
They hire models with small hands to hold their burgers for the ads too.

Hmm, wonder if any of those models work in XXX movies /chuckle

45 posted on 05/19/2014 9:41:19 AM PDT by ChildOfThe60s ((If you can remember the 60s.....you weren't really there)
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To: Nea Wood

A local pizza joint has had a sign in their window for “help wanted” for about a month. Yesterday I saw a new banner, stretched out near the highway for help wanted....but this time in spanish.


46 posted on 05/19/2014 9:42:48 AM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA

When I was in HS in the 60s, all new hires in any food service were required to get tested for TB before starting work.

I’m pretty sure that’s not happening anymore. I assume it would be considered racist and discriminatory towards illegals.

The TB rate in SE Florida is bad. Duh. Pack your lunch if you’re driving through there.


47 posted on 05/19/2014 9:45:10 AM PDT by ChildOfThe60s ((If you can remember the 60s.....you weren't really there)
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To: Hugin
They hire models with small hands to hold their burgers for the ads too.


48 posted on 05/19/2014 9:45:20 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (Only Liberals can look at an amendment that says "shall not be infringed" and see blank parchment.)
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To: Vigilanteman

I never saw anything like the plastic food displays in Tokyo! Isn’t there a street there devoted to many manufacturers of fake food?


49 posted on 05/19/2014 9:45:52 AM PDT by JimSEA
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To: upbeat5

50 posted on 05/19/2014 9:47:02 AM PDT by dfwgator
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