The wine always comes first. That’s the easy part. Here's the complex creativity behind our recipe collection.
In a photo studio in British Columbia, a food stylist places a pomegranate seed on a flank steak salad before drizzling poppy seed dressing over fresh greens. This may sound like a day at Bon Appétit Magazine, but this is actually a behind the scenes peek at an Outshinery photo shoot with the team from EAT Creative.
EAT Creative is a bespoke, remote, full service photo studio serving artisanal food and drink brands. Danielle Acken is a professional food photographer; Emily Lycopolus is a cookbook author and head of the R&D department, and Aurelia Louvet a food stylist and also a cookbook author.
They are the perfect match for Outshinery’s new line of recipe and food pairing imagery because they perfectly understand the value of creating a look that is not only right for being photographed, but also captures the beauty of the food in just the right way. Danielle says that there’s an artful difference to “creating food for a camera as opposed to pretty food.”
This is a key element that may be a delightful surprise to some Outshinery customers. EAT Creative has thoughtfully invented these recipes specifically for wine pairing. In addition, they have arranged the presentation and all the details to be absolutely flawless through the lens. People may assume that someone just takes the photographs, but there are proven processes that enable these three women to create food that is photogenic. As Danielle says: “The photographer is only as good as the food stylist they work with!”
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It’s immediately apparent, when looking at the collection that EAT Creative conceived for Outshinery’s customers, that mood and atmosphere capture the emotional feel of the dish. This is not an accident. Everything from the color, to the textures, to the ingredients has been chosen with a wine-consuming audience in mind. “I play with the flavors and try to ensure that whatever we are creating works with the wine,” says Emily. “The wine always comes first.” “My background is in chemistry, so many of the research books I use to ensure pairings work are science based,” says Emily. “I do my best to treat my kitchen like a science lab and that allows me to be creative within the perimeters of what the client needs.”
For Outshinery’s clients, this is a depiction of how their wine will fit into the homes of the people that purchase it. Wine isn’t a bottle that sits on a barrel—wine is a drink that shares a table with nourishing, enticing, comforting food, friends, and family.
“It’s incredible how a flavor can be one with the wine terroir,” says Emily. “There are so many different regional flavors, and flavors that evoke memories which are also associated with the wines from the region.” With an awareness of the specifics of the product, EAT Creative always has a goal to assemble images that help people integrate the product into their lives. This is largely dependent on the styling, and the EAT Creative team has decades of experience that give them an instinct for subtlety. “There is a lot of work that goes into it,and this is where you need individuals and dare I say specialists,” says Emily.
This takes more than understanding the food and wine connection—there is also a bit of psychology in the mix, in order to present the images in the most appealing way. “You also need to mirror what the color tones mean to people,” says Danielle. “You could have a blue, but people in California connect with blue in a different way from the people in the Pacific Northwest or people from the East Coast.”
Food, like wine, is an emotional connection and these images marry them together. The collections that EAT Creative makes for Outshinery evoke the feel of being inside the kitchen or dining room, of eating and drinking in a space that feels like home. This is where people will enjoy and get to know the wine they purchase, so it makes sense to present the bottles in this natural habitat, if you will. “You are able to tie that in and create the continuity globally,” says Aurelia. “There’s so many layers and levels of goodness that goes behind it.