Meet Versatile Ashwin Iyer - Beware, Your Food on table can go cold

Meet Versatile Ashwin Iyer - Beware, Your Food on table can go cold

Meet Masterchef India contestant Ashwin Iyer

Ashwin Iyer is now a proud contestant in masert chef India Season 5. Squapl Food Magazine wishes him good luck to be the title winner.

Versatile Ashwin Iyer wears many hats like freelance food stylist, food photographer, abstract artist, Culinary expert to name a few. Lovingly referred as "Magicplateman" by his fans and fellow members of food circle. Ashwin can make a food look appealing with warm colors he uses, clever spoon drags of sauces in your plate and a bit of natural trick. A popular person in this space. He has done professional assignmens for many clients in bangalore.

A well platted food gets additional presentation points either in a restaurant or in home. Your friends are guaranteed to whip out their phones to capture this visual treat.

Beware, your food may turn cold before you are finished with your selfies with food.

Food Styling tool for all, not just food professionals

In our interaction with him, he has shared his outlook on food styling and his passion for food styling. A Very interesting conversation which will make you look food different next time you have your hands on it.

1) We always had a curious question of what is this new word Food stylist. Why do we need to style food? Popular food stylist Ashwin speaks about what food styling means and their importance and role in food photography.

That is quite obvious because these shots are going to be used for food promotion of a particular chef/restaurant or food app and Food needs to be presented in the best way possible.  Food styling plays a very important role during food photography.

Food styling is an integral part of a dining experience. Dining is an experience for all senses and food styling contributes to the visual aspect of it. 
Well plated (styled) dishes are conversation starters.  They are a means of expression and also elevate the dining the experience.

Ashwin comes with caveat though –
Food styling must never be used to cover up the flaws of the dish.
Food Styling should sync with themes of the restaurant or the course.

Food Styling by Ashwin - Blue lagoon purple cabbage

2) Bloggers and food reviewers who spend a lot of time in taking pictures of food are curious to know if styling food can be learnt or is it a natural ability.
I am an abstract artist. I paint abstracts. I am a self taught stylist. For me styling is another form of artistic expression. Yes I do believe basic food styling can be taught and learnt. The rest is left to the creativity of the stylist (which cannot be taught).This must come from within.

Paneer Tikka - Styled to appeal for kids and elders

3) Some food photos are picture perfect and seem too plastic, Are fake food used to style food shots?
I personally believe that everything that you put on a plate needs to be eaten. So I don’t use fake things in my plating. I do know that a lot of fake food is used to style shots and I am not for it.

bisibelebath in a cup

4) Can you give us a peek into “typical shoot day”. Is there lots of pre-planning involved or is it spontaneous flow of styling and photo shoot.
I prefer to shoot in natural light so my shoot would start early around 8/9 am. Planning is definitely part of photo shoot.

I would have discussed the dishes that are being shot with the chef or restaurant owner, the theme of the restaurant etc

Selection of crockery and other props

Selection of the lens for the shoot

Spontaneous flow does happen during the actual shoot like in all creative process. I do tend to plate the dish in more than one style and shoot it.

burnt zuchini pasta

5) Your food styling has stunning combination of colors and props.  Do you have a thumb rule to match the dish you photo shoot.
As I am an abstract artist, I feel colors come naturally to me. I am grateful to nature for that. I don’t have any thumb rule as such. It all depends on the dish and what story I want the dish to tell.
I like to highlight the natural colors of the ingredients in the dish. I do like to incorporate unusual colors in my dishes. Eg the blue lagoon is a bluish purple colored consommé.

6) For aspirant food stylist do you see in India can it be a full time profession. Are there enough opportunities in this field?
People in India are more aware of food. The international audience is also more aware of the amazing Indian cuisine. As you can see one of the things I aim at is presenting Indian food in a fine dine aspect of things. I do feel and I hope that the opportunities grow in India for food stylists. I do believe that it’s a very niche skill.

looking great ladoo

7) Who is your favourite chef you loved working or like to work with in future.
When I am styling food, I like to follow my own instincts and aesthetic sense and put my creativity on the plate. I am also an abstract artist so food styling is like an expression of what I feel. I choose not to be influenced by other artists or stylists.

Having said that I do follow and admire the works of

René Redzepi of NOMA
George Calombaris of the Press Club and
Heston Blumenthal

I would love to work with them. I also like the work that Reynold Poernomo ( from Masterchef Oz) does.

8) Some food bloggers are good in food styling but understanding food photography is not their strength. Should food stylist also be a food photographer? Is it an added advantage?
I don’t think it’s a necessary thing for a stylist to be a photographer but it sure is one hell of an advantage if you are both. This way you are in complete control of styling and shot. Combination of both stems out  as one creative process.

scrambled eggs and mushrooms

9) Do you have plans to conduct workshop for food bloggers and aspiring food stylist?
I have consulted with many cooks and have given my inputs to them when it comes to styling or shooting a food picture.
I do plan to conduct styling workshops. That’s definitely on the cards. I am also planning to start a blog which focuses on the food styling rather than the dish or recipe and I also have plans to write a photo book on food styling for Indian cuisine.

Squapl team like to thank Ashwin Iyer for his Insights into this fascination world of Food Styling. You can follow his work in Ashwin Iyers Facebook fan Page.