Chloe learns all about the art of food styling at Leiths School of Food and Wine

This week I attended Leiths School of Food & Wine, somewhere that I have dreamt of going to for a long time.

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As a business we create a lot of content for our clients, for use on social media and in print media. Therefore, when the opportunity came up for me to attend the course, I jumped at the chance, it was only going to benefit me and who we work for.

This course allowed me to cook and style six different dishes, both working to specific briefs, with the help from two of the best stylists in the industry, Jayne Cross and Rebecca Woollard.

As well as Jayne and Rebecca, on the second day, we were lucky enough to be joined by food photographer Charlie Richards to finish the two-day course with a professional shoot of our very own styled plate – keep an eye on the PamLloyd PR Instagram to see my final image next week!

Day 1 included a talk around tips & tricks for food styling, a demonstration on the best techniques to style a pasta dish and a burger demo. Each time a demonstration was given by Jayne or Rebecca, we all then had the opportunity to create and style our own dish.

Linguine with ricotta, roasted hazelnuts, fresh lemon zest and parsley.

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Burger

Probably one of the hardest things across the two days to style. The combination of making sure you can see every layer of the burger, plus the added complication of dealing with the gravity of all the ingredients pushing down on the bottom bun and sauce, resulted in a tricky construction job.

As well as this, sadly, my slate background fell on my bun mid photo, creating a rather large dent – it adds character though yes?!

Final image:

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Day 2, we were split into two groups. My group were first to create our shot that was to be later shot by Charlie. The brief for the this was simple, to create and style a dish focussed around toast/open sandwich. The shot had to be overhead and the background supplied was a beautiful piece of zinc.

In terms of ingredients we were so lucky to have a huge array of lovely produce available including, fresh figs, various types of cheeses, peppers, mixed heritage tomatoes, salads, butternut squash, herbs and a variety of nuts and tonnes more.

I decided to keep things simple, picking mixed heritage tomatoes, feta cheese and coriander – in my head I had the idea of whipped feta, lovely colourful tomatoes and some sort of coriander salsa type thing.

Construction in process:

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I was keen to really allow the tomatoes to be the star of the show, as when cut cross-sectionally they are beautiful and when photographed it only amplifies this, especially against the contrast of the zinc background!

It was brilliant to be able to work alongside Charlie and have Rebecca to help, to learn about building the image step by step. It was great to see the shot building as we kept adding things, taking a shot, adding some more, and so on and so on – you can always add more, but it’s much harder to take away!

My final image is still with Charlie having a few last-minute tweaks so I will share this on the PLPR Instagram next week – thank you Rebecca and Charlie for helping me see my vision for this shot.

After lunch, our afternoon was spent having a demonstration on salad styling, styling our own plate, styling brownies and then finishing with decorating and styling our cheesecakes that we had prepped the day before.

Images can be seen below.

Tenderstem broccoli, frisée, soft boiled eggs and roasted hazelnut salad topped with chilli breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Chocolate and sour cherry brownies (recipe from Jayne Cross)

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Vanilla cheesecake with an Oreo biscuit crumb

+ I added blitzed fresh pistachios, cocoa powder and edible flowers

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If you are looking into a career change, running a restaurant, work in the food world like me, creating content for other people, or simply just love creating beautiful plates of food at home (also me), I couldn’t recommend this two-day course enough.

Rebecca and Jayne have so much knowledge to share and just ooze enthusiasm for food styling. It is always great to meet people that clearly just absolutely love their jobs!

Leith’s also offer a huge array of other courses from evening classes learning to make pasta, to a full year cookery diploma. Have a look at their website to see more information on the food styling course and many more! https://www.leiths.com/