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Food Stylist Shows You How to Style a Roast Chicken for Photos and Videos

Food Stylist Shows You How to Style a Roast Chicken for Photos and Videos

(playful accordion music) – I’m a food stylist. I make food look beautiful and photo-ready for cookbooks, magazines, and ads. I’m gonna take a boring,
average roasted chicken and make it look amazing. (upbeat music) So I have chickens. They’re raw, uncooked obviously ’cause they’re, like, naked. I bought four chickens just to make sure that I had a chicken that has the wing tips
intact, the skin wasn’t torn. I’m going to dry off the chickens, try and get any liquid
that’s on the skin absorbed because that’s the way the
skin is going to crisp up. So when you see an image of
a roasted chicken somewhere, whether it’s in the grocery store or maybe on a menu, it’s plump. You know, it’s just like a
little football of a chicken. And this one is really flat, so the one way to do that is to stuff it, but we don’t want to stuff
the chicken with food like you probably would if you
were just roasting a chicken to have for dinner. We’re gonna stuff it with paper towels. You can also use aluminum foil. Make sure that it fills that entire cavity on the inside of the chicken. I know that this is not
the most enjoyable part, but it’s essential to
food styling a chicken. Already, I’ve only put two
pieces of paper towel in there and you can tell a difference
from the chicken being flat to like really kinda being its best self. That also helps soak up any
of that extra chicken juice that’s on the inside of the chicken, which we don’t really care
about, we don’t really want. The next thing is tightening the skin, and the way we’re gonna
do that is with T-pins, which are super handy. So I’m taking the skin and pulling it back towards the back of the
chicken where the legs are and then I’m just tucking it under. We’ll take the T-pins out because you’ll definitely
be able to see them, but what this does is it allows, when you put the chicken into the oven, that skin is pulled that
way so it won’t shrink. I’m gonna do the same thing on the front like I did on the back. I’m just gonna pull the skin down, basically just as tight as it’ll go without making it look weird. I’ll just kinda make it so we don’t see the front of the chicken
when we do our final beauty because that’s not attractive. Nobody wants to see just like
a hollow neck of a chicken, or what used to be a neck. That’s kinda sad. The vegans are gonna hate me. Last thing I’m gonna pin are the wings ’cause I want them to be
really close to the body so they don’t brown quicker than the body, but then it also holds them in place so they don’t kinda fall out to the side. The last thing I’m gonna do before I put the chicken in the oven is truss the legs together in the back to give it that truly iconic
roasted chicken shape. Isn’t it so cute? Look at him. He’s like so plump and uniform. He’s like a little nugget. So I’m gonna take the chicken and put it on a prepared
baking sheet with a wire rack. What the rack does is
it elevates the chicken so it actually is getting
circulation underneath too. So now I’m gonna put this guy in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 or 30 minutes. We’re gonna let the skin dry out and get a little bit of color on it and then we’ll move on to the next step. Really, I know that you’ve been wondering why there are bottles of blue Dawn. Well, I’m gonna show you. For food styling, it needs to
be the most brown it can be with the most even color, no
splotches, nothing like that, and in order to achieve that,
you have to fake it in a way, so that’s what we’re doing,
is making a paint mixture to brush onto the chicken to
give it the color that we want. It’s kind of a secret mixture
so I’m not gonna like tell you exactly what I’m putting in there, but, you know, blue Dawn is
definitely one of those things. I’m just making a concoction. I’m just adding things. You can see things so
you can kinda get an idea of what they are. I’m gonna get one of my tester chickens and brush a little bit of the mixture on to make sure it’s the color that I want. The Dawn is what is helping
it stick onto the chicken, so it’s almost kind of
creating an adhesive effective, but then it also gives
it that glossy finish, which is essential. So I’m really happy with
the color of the mixture on the raw chicken. Now I’m gonna get my beauty chicken that’s been briefly cooked
in the oven and work on that. The skin is really nice and tonight. It’s definitely dried out. And then we have a little
bit of golden color happening right here, which is very nice. I can definitely tell that the chicken isn’t cooked all the way
through, which is totally fine. When a chicken cooks all the way through, it deflates a little bit, the
skin gets a little wrinkly, which is not anything that we want. So now I’m gonna start
painting the chicken. We’ll add the color on in layers. I’ll start with one and
then, if I feel like we need to have more color, I’ll add more. Now that I’m adding this
moisture back on top of it, I wish it was a little less wrinkly. You can kinda see here. I may have added too
much soap to the mixture, which is why it’s not acting exactly the way that I want it to, so I think I might have to
correct that a little bit, but all in all, I think it
still looks pretty good. I’m happy with the way
the chicken looks for now, but I definitely want to
put it back in the oven at 400 degrees for a little bit longer, let the skin tighten up,
and we’ll see how it looks. So it’s pretty normal in food styling to have a back-up of everything, and not just a back-up, but
like a back-up for the back-up. So then this is the back-up
and the couple things that I’m really liking about this chicken. It has already been in the oven. The skin looks a little bit tighter. It’s a little bit browner in places. I like the shape a little bit more. So now I’m gonna paint this
one and see if I like it more. I really do like this chicken
more than the other one, one, because the skin is
less wrinkly on this one, and also because I
think the first chicken, there was too much soap in my mixture, which probably helped the
skin become more wrinkly on that other guy. I’m basically blending in this mixture onto the skin of the chicken. I really want this to look
like it has been roasted and it’s completely golden brown. I’m really super happy with the way this one
looks, in particular. I’m gonna put it back in
the oven at 400 degrees for just a couple more minutes,
let that skin tighten up, and then I’ll show you
what this one looks like compared to that first one that I made. This is chicken one and
this is chicken two. So with chicken one, the
skin was a little off, the mixture wasn’t quite right. Put it back in the oven anyway
to see if it would help, but then it got brown
in some uneven places. But that’s okay because
there’s always a back-up. Chicken two turned a whole lot better. The mixture is exactly
what it needs to be. So we don’t need this guy anymore, so bye. (chicken thumps) So I’m gonna take this beauty chicken and touch it up just a little bit more. So you can still sometimes
see the brush strokes, so instead of stroking the brush, I’ll just dab it onto the spot so it doesn’t look like you painted. Okay, so for the final touch, I’m gonna spray it with some Pam. This is a must have in
any food stylist’s kit (aerosol sprays) The Pam gives it that final shine, that extra beautiful coat on it that makes it look moist and ready to eat. So sometimes when you spray cooking spray, there’s like little bubbles
which is not what you want so I’m just taking my God-given tools and just dabbing out the bubbles. So now it’s time I get ready
for the final beauty shot. I have background, a platter,
accompanying garnishes to make this beauty roasted chicken exactly what I want it to look like. I think the chicken’s gonna
look a little bit better if I lift the legs up a little bit, so I’m gonna take a skewer and prop the legs up on top
of the skewer so they lift up. I’m strategically placing
things around the chicken. If there was an imperfection
that I didn’t want the camera to be able to see, I’m hiding that, but I’m also making it look
like this chicken was roasted with these little vegetables
that I’m putting around it. Everything always look better with a little stud of greenery in there. I’m really happy with this chicken. I think it turned out so nice. The color is brown and even. It’s glossy. I love the garnishes. I think it really makes it pop. Not to mention, we have our on point props and background for the whole environment. When I look at the reference photo, I really think mine looks better. You can let me know what you think. Make sure you like, comment, subscribe, and if you’re watching on
YouTube, click the bell. (soft playful music)

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