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    How A Food Stylist Makes A Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich


    – Hi, I'm Santos Loo I'm a food stylist

    Food stylists are the ones that interpret a recipe into an image form for TV, print, or social media Whenever you see an image of food, odds are, a food stylist had a hand in it I've been food styling for 16 years 10 of those years I worked at Food Network Six years I've been doing commercials, cookbooks, magazines, then a lot of YouTube shows

    Let me style a PB and J for you You've seen one a million times before Three ingredients: peanut butter, jelly, and bread When I think about a PB and J, I think about all the different components and the possibilities I think about bread and how it can bend, it can tear, it can crumble

    I think about jelly, how it can drip and how if I spread it thin enough, it can be translucent And I think about peanut butter and how thick it is, how gloppy it is and how it can be a glue if I want it to be Okay, let's start with the bread For me, this is the right shape for this peanut butter and jelly sandwich So, let's spread some peanut butter on it now

    So, I'm just concerned about what it's gonna look like on the edges, 'cause that's what you're gonna see And I'm not gonna spread it just flat I wanna try and create layers because layers, in this case, it will say it's creamy And I feel like it needs a little bit of texture, so let's say this peanut butter is chunky peanut butter I wanna chop the peanuts myself because I can control the shape and I can control the placement

    And I don't wanna place them evenly I want it to be random I want it to look natural All right, now, it's time for the jelly I wanna put the jelly where the peanut butter isn't dripping over the bread

    And again, I want this to look natural, and so, I need to look at this from different angles I'll look at it from the top and then I'll look at it from the side It'd be nice to get a drip here and also, it'd be nice to get a little bit of drip on the board You know what would look good too if I put a piece of peanut on the board as if it just fell over Okay, so let me prepare the top slice

    Spread a little bit of jelly on there so it doesn't look so clean, and then, I'm just gently going to press it onto the rest of the sandwich, okay, being really careful not to mess up all of the things that you just built up And so, what I'm showing you here is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich where the three components are being shown off in the best way possible The peanut butter looks creamy and chunky and then you have the jelly that's got the perfect consistency, right? It's not too loose, but it's runny enough And then, you have the bread, right? With just a little bit of crumbs around the edges, a really nice golden color And when you're flipping through a cookbook, this will get your attention

    This is what you'll wanna sink your teeth into One way I can create a PB and J for you is by showing you less Let's talk about how little I can show you but still say peanut butter and jelly sandwich The bread Do I need to show you a whole slice? No, you've seen that a million times

    Let me just show you a part of the slice And what about the peanut butter and the jelly? Do I need to show you the amount that you would put in a typical peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I don't think so What if I just show you a couple drops here and there? And what if I frame it in a way that describes the shape without showing you the whole thing? This is an example of less is more, where I'm showing you a little bit and your mind is filling in the rest That is a more exciting image to look at than one that is finished for you Okay, now, let me show you even less

    I'm just simply gonna put some peanut butter on a knife, put a jar of jelly next to it, and then a piece of bread You have the three components, but look how little I've shown you? And if you were flipping through a cookbook and you stopped at this page, you would still know that it's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich Okay, let's have some fun Let's set the scene for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich Okay, we have the plate, we have the knife, and we have a glass of milk

    Looks good? Nah, this is boring Let's take away the knife, and what if I draw the knife in jelly? Still looks like a knife All right, now, let me take the glass away Let me draw that in jelly Okay, now, let's take the plate away, and let's just do a big circle in jelly

    Now, if I tell you that's a plate, it's a plate, and actually, let's put milk in that Let's see if we can put milk into this thing And of course, we have the sandwich on the plate This is saying the same thing, but it's different, it's unique, it's colorful, it's original, and it catches your eye Think about when you're flipping through pages in a cookbook, you'll wanna stop at this

    You'll probably will because you'll think, wait, what is this? That's special, guys Every food stylist will interpret a peanut butter and jelly sandwich different, and the next time you're looking at a cookbook, find the story There's always the unique perspective that every food stylist brings to the table I love playing with my food Food is like paint, it's like clay

    I strip it away, I take it apart, and then, I rebuild it It's all for me about adding and subtracting, about finding its boundaries, finding its breaking point, knowing what it can do and what it can't I want the food to speak to me That is the job of a food stylist (blissful music)

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