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How We Make Food GREAT!

Food styling by Maria Sparks


Cafe Secret Ceviche before and after

It's always a treat for me to get to team up with a talented food stylist and go around town photographing the best food in San Diego. For our best restaurants feature this year, I worked with food stylist Maria Sparks. Maria has styled for a handful of our month-watering food features, such as the Asian Food Guide in October. If you need an example of her work, take a look at this: (After shot above; before shot below). Maria Sparks created this fab ceviche transformation. Seem different than traditional Baja ceviche? This is Peruvian ceviche from Café Secret.

Food styling is an art form unto itself. Here are five tools of the trade Maria Sparks shared with us:



Glues wet, slippery surfaces, like a tear or hole in a piece of meat, together



Gives drinks that chilled or frosted look, by adding fake condensation to
 the glass

Kitchen Bouquet

Kitchen Bouquet

Mixes with water to create the look of meat juice, and helps darken parts of meat that are too light in color

Mineral Oil

Mineral Oil

Adds that glistening, fresh-cooked sheen to foods that tend
to dry out

Paper Towels

Paper Towels

 Gets folded under juicy foods like steak to soak up unsightly liquids—it’s a “food diaper!”


Want to see all our delicious food shots? (I mean, who would say no to that?) See the final photos we featured in our 2013 Best Restaurant feature and get ready to be hungry!

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