FOOD ART TIPS FROM THE EXPERT:ERT:
1. Everything you need is already at hand in your own kitchen. ‘Food art should always be practical. You don’t need any fancy equipment,’ advises Lee, who simply uses the likes of paring knives, kitchen scissors and bowls of various sizes to shape her ingredients.
2. Fast, not fastidious. Perfectionism will get you nowhere. ‘A lot of parents who haven’t made food art think they have to wake up at 4am to start cooking,’ says Lee. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to lose sleep over your kids’ meals. ‘Japanese mums prepare bento boxes with very simple designs. It’s all very practical. After all, your kids are going to eat everything!’
3. Cook healthy and swap ingredients where possible. Preparing your family’s meals means having the freedom to incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables in their diet. Besides regularly including greens in her food art, Lee avoids using artificial food dye by swapping around ingredients. ‘My art doesn’t perfectly resemble the characters I’m trying to depict. For instance, I used cabbage for Cinderella’s dress even though it’s blue in the cartoon.’
4. Experiment beyond solid food. Plastic squeeze bottles come in handy for embellishing with sauces or liquids. Lee is fond of writing words and phrases in her signature ‘soup art’ (refer to the bumble bee platter) – a simple technique that reaps delightful results.
Check out her food art on Instagram, @leesamantha, or her website, www.leesamantha.com.