Food + Dining Main

Behind the Scenes: October’s Food Shoot

It takes a village to get one picture of a dream dinner party just right.

BY October 5, 2016

Good food speaks for itself. But when you’re putting together a magazine, you want every picture to be so real, so tantalizing that you drop what you’re doing to have a bite. 

We’ve all heard less-than-savory stories of food stylists gluing sesame seeds on hamburger buns for commercials. In the world of fine dining, it’s different because the dishes themselves are often works of art—how they are presented is where the fuss comes in.

These snapshots give a glimpse at a team tasked with best representing the cuisine of chef Michael Mir from Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro in “Dinner Spreads of Your Dreams” in the October 2016 Gulfshore Life.

“We went through a lot of iterations. We had been mixing metals at first, but I’m glad we switched to silver,” says PJ Fuerstman-Meyer, a stylist who worked with Mir to select linens, plates, serving dishes and table accessories. “It was beginning to look too much like Ali Baba and not modern enough. It made a difference knowing Michael’s vision and marketing strategy beforehand to protect the look he’s going for.”

That meant choosing the right amethyst and silver tablecloth (that was actually a single swath of Iranian fabric), using intricately carved (but not dainty) metallic platters and incorporating crystal votives (for an unmistakable 21st century feel).

See for yourself how the table came to life. 

The prop table; less than a fifth of what we started with ended up in the final shot. Photo by PJ Fuerstman-Meyer


Testing linens for the backdrop. Photo by Michael Mir


Photographer Craig Hildebrand checks the lighting and initial layout. Photo by Michael Mir


Bha! Bha!’s chef-owner Michael Mir plates the food. Photo by Tessa Tilden-Smith


Almost ready—one of several test shots. Photo by Michael Mir


From left: Stylist PJ Fuerstman-Meyer, chef Michael Mir, art director Tessa Tilden-Smith and photographer Craig Hildebrand add the finishing touches to the spread. Photo by PJ Fuerstman-Meyer


Ta-da! The final “look” that appeared in the October issue. Photo by PJ Fuerstman-Meyer



Get the Hot Dish every Wednesday and Friday online and every month in Gulfshore Life.


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