Food as art: bringing London Produce Show recipes to life

Natalie Pavich

Have you ever looked at a photo on Instagram that made your mouth water? Or come across a foodie photo on Pinterest and felt inspired to recreate the recipe? Have you even used a foodie hashtag on social media so others could be inspired by you? #Pinspiration

In the produce industry, it’s natural for us to give credit for the beauty of a photo to the ‘juiciness’ of a ripe tomato or the ‘crispness’ of fresh lettuce. In reality, it’s the unsung heroes of the foodservice industry who bring recipes to life: food stylists and food photographers. Their collaboration turns basic food into pieces of online art. #Foodie

Today, glamourised food is in high demand and heavily driven by social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Last month on Produce Business UK, we discussed the importance of the fresh produce industry paying attention to the Generation Y megatrend and how it is changing the landscape of the food industry – with 88% of the group willing to try new foods.

Gen Y is driving the obsession for big, bright and sexy food photography and an even bigger obsession of sharing food experiences over social media. We’ve even become amateur food stylists ourselves with the help of Instagram filters. #FoodPorn (52 million posts on Instagram, look it up.)

One of the London Produce Show and Conference’s (LPS15) chief goals is to help the fresh produce industry become more accessible to the public. We recruit some of the best UK chefs including this year Chef Ambassador Jeremy Pang of School of Wok and Nikkei Boys Jordan Sclare and Michael Paul of Chotto Matte to create inspired recipes and bring them to life using social media as a tool to share them with everyday consumers via mainstream media. #ChefLife

We put a lot of effort into recipe ideation with our demo chefs. We take trips to New Covent Garden Market and New Spitalfields Market where we hold brainstorming and recipe ideation sessions over boxes of fruit and veg. Demo sponsors arrange private tours of their farms to help chefs understand their mission.  

These experiences inspire the chefs’ recipes they’ll demo live in the Chef Demonstration Theatre at LPS015. #NomNom

To promote the media and consumer-facing aspect of LPS15, recipes are brought to life by London-based food stylist Camilla Baynham and photographed by photographer John Ashford. The end result: recipe cards that are easily sharable on social media, inspiring consumers to cook like their favourite London chefs using fresh British produce. #EatLocal

These photo shoots involve much more than putting hot food on a plate and pressing the shutter release. They include weeks of planning: booking the right studio, selecting props and hunting down out-of-season Heritage Carrots and the elusive Monk’s Beard. #MonksBeard

On the set, Camilla, Jon and an LPS creative director discuss the focus of every dish that will be shot: “What’s the hero of the shot? What props will look best? What was the chef inspired by when he came up with this recipe? What sort of lighting will capture the emotion we want to evoke?” The days are long, but definitely very enjoyable. Who do you think eats the food after we take the photo? #FoodiePics

As I write this post, we are patiently awaiting our photos to be retouched and finalised for LPS15. As the client, this is the most exciting part of the process! For the stylist and photographer, the highlight is seeing their glossy image calling out from the online newsstand. #celebratingFRESH

For more foodie news, follow LPS15 on TwitterInstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.

More about Camilla

Experience: Food Styling for 5½ years
Mentor: Susie Theodorou
Aspires to work with: Food Photographer Con Poulos
Style: Rustic, messy, interactive (like people are actually enjoying the food!)

More about Jon:  

Experience: Photographing food for roughly 4 years; previously an Art Director for over 15 years 
Photography Style: Relaxed, thoughtful and (hopefully) inspiring! 
Mentor/Inspiration: Maja Smend, Philip Webb and Katie from the popular blog ‘What Katie Ate’
Aspires to work with: Katie from ‘What Katie Ate’ and discuss her shooting style, favourite props and food

To learn more about the London Produce Show, to join our chef line-up and watch them recreate their wonderful recipes, please visit



The Latest from PBUK

Subscribe to PBUK!

Get regular produce industry insights, sign up for our email newsletter below.