Eating with your eyeballs gets tastier with every blink.
Your eyes may lack tasting glands, but they’re still enticing you into a culinary adventure. The Food Network wouldn’t be the hit today if savory visuals didn’t making your mouths water. Science has our back on this one: A study from The Journal of Neuroscience found that the brain’s reward center is triggered by viewing images of delicious-looking food. And according to a recent study from the marketing firm 360i, pictures of desserts—what some call “food porn”—are the most likely to be shared online.
Here’s the catch: Not just any picture will get your mouths watering. A skill and art goes into creating visual-taste masterpieces. Romina Rasmussen of Les Madeleines had to navigate the flavor-to-visual divide in recent pastry shoots with photographer Adam Finkle.
Q: What are your thoughts on eating with your eyes as well as your mouth?
Romina Rasmussen: “I absolutely agree that we eat with our eyes. We’ve formed an opinion about how something will taste before we take the first bite. That said, the look of something isn’t going to ultimately make it taste better if it isn’t flavored well. A friend of mine who is a chef has a saying: “Come for the look, stay for the flavor.”
Q: What goes into the “art” of making food visually appealing?
R.R.: “I like to consider the colors and shapes in creating something visually balanced and beautiful.”
Q: What are skills come into play in creating tasty visual art?
R.R.: “Skills for decorating include chocolate tempering, piping, and glazing. All of these should enhance the dessert. I tend to prefer simplicity. I also have to consider how it will be packaged when designing a dessert. It can’t have a lot of parts that will break or won’t fit in the boxes.”
Q: How do you decide what it will look like? What’s your process and inspirations?
R.R.: “I usually start by picking a mold or a shape based on the ingredients. If it’s a fruit, then I can also use color to decorate. Ultimately, flavor is the most important thing for me. So I start there and then every other component of the dessert enhances the flavor. Inspiration may come from the ingredients themselves or, if it’s something that reminds me of a place I’ve been, that could tie into the look of a dessert.”
Q: What goes into food styling? Anything you do differently for the photographer?
R.R.: “Food styling is a little different in that you have to consider an entire environment or mood that you want to create—not just the food itself. You’re photographing the food from it’s best angle. In its best iteration. Lighting and color will influence the look as well—putting the item in a context rather than a straightforward product shot. Sometimes an idea evolves during the shoot. While shooting madeleines, we noticed they looked like little spaceships, which led to a really creative and fun photo of madeleines invading Delicate Arch in Moab. So much can be done in post-production as well.”
Q: What is the most important part about visually creating your pastries?
R.R.: “It should enhance the overall dessert or the experience of eating it.”
Q: What are some of your favorite pastries and why?
R.R.: “I love éclairs. They lend themselves well to adaptation—a wide variety of flavors and looks. Tartlettes are also fun. Right now, we have a lovely strawberry tartlet in a rectangular mold. It’s not your typical round pie. It’s filled with strawberry Bavarian cream and strawberry-rhubarb compote (the rhubarb is from our garden) and it’s topped with thinly sliced strawberries and whipped white-chocolate ganache. June brings back the cherry tart that Adam photographed.
Q: When it came to working with two local artists, how did you come up with the shoot ideas?
R.R.: “With Adam, it was deciding what items we wanted to feature and then deciding whether the accompanying photo would be a process or ingredient. We talked about what the Les Madeleines is all about and some items that are beloved by us and our guests. With Traci O’very Covey, a local visual artist—she was making art and I didn’t want to restrict her. We talked about what the Les Madeleines is all about and some items that are beloved by us and our guests. She designed all of our new collateral including labels, boxes and cards.”
Q: What was your favorite part about working with Traci and Adam?
R.R.: “I love collaborating with Adam and seeing how our ideas evolve. Traci has brought a lovely colorful and whimsical element to us, which is such a nice change from what we’ve done graphically in the past.”
Lately, many of us have given up elaborate travel plans and embraced adventures a little closer to home. We kicked off our 2021 travel series with a guide to exploring the Cowboy State from corner to corner. Head to the link in our bio for Wyoming road trip itineraries, dining ideas and more! 🤠⛰...
Inspired by @oldsaltlake, we're celebrating #throwbackthursday with a favorite snapshot of early 20th century Salt Lake City. 🏖️
Photos shared by @oldsaltlake are inspiring millennials and zoomers decades later with visions of a different city: one with easily accessible public transportation, walkable streets, local businesses (open late) and distinctive architecture.
See more photos at the link in our bio.
Pictured: Women relax at what is believed to be Saltair Beach, date unknown...
It's like sunshine in a box ☀️
Even after losing her job during the pandemic, Mandy Madsen didn't lose her good cheer. She put her energy into creating @maddoughslc, selling unique doughnuts inspired by the nostalgia of your favorite childhood treats.🍩
Read our Q&A with Mandy at the link in our bio!...
@saltlakeclimbers are part of a long legacy of dirt baggers fascinated with the soaring granite walls of Little Cottonwood Canyon. They recently finished the Alpenbock Loop, creating an accessible, sustainable trail and preserving access to one of Utah's greatest recreational resources. 🧗♀️
Read more at the link in our bio! ❤️...
The bad news: Utah's inconsistent winters are hurting local bee populations. The good news: You can be a part of saving the bees in the beehive state 🐝
@deserethivesupply, a family-owned business in Ogden, is helping bees bounce back with educational classes that encourage people to pick up backyard beekeeping as a hobby.
Read more on how to save Utah bees at the link in our bio!...
Why did Utah's only Titanic passenger not survive her journey?
The descendants of Irene Corbett believe that the 30-year-old teacher sacrificed her life to save others. It's one of the many ways this remarkable figure bucked tradition and forged her own trail.
Read more about Irene at the link in our bio!...
"We must have done something right, cause you guys kept coming back."
@bluepelatedinerslc, one of Salt Lake's signature spots for everyone from hungover college kids to vegan food lovers, will be closing its doors this May after more than two decades of service. It's the latest casualty in a brutal year for the restaurant industry.
Head to the link in our bio for a tribute to Blue Plate Diner. (And keep supporting your favorite local restaurants. ❤️)...
A business is never more than the sum of its people: the ones who meet you, greet you, help you make the smartest purchase decisions.
Meet the people who make Salt Lake City work:
Lindsay Breinholt, CNM / WHNP @skinspiritslc
Amy Crawley, Founder @parkwayavenuedesign
Candice Itokazu, General Manager @luciennesalon.medspa.boutique
Tobi Roberts, CEO & Co-Founder @citycreekmortgage
Dave Turja, General Manager @kengarff
Read all of these Utah Faces & Places at the link in our bio! ❤️
Tony Caputo, a food evangelist and founding father of today’s SLC food community, passed away last night.
Tony started @caputosmarket in 1997, bringing his passion for the cuisine of his heritage to Utah tables. Most days during the lunch rush you’d find Tony behind the counter slicing meat and cheeses and then, after it wound down, holding court out front. He’d often rush back behind the counter and holler over his shoulder, “you have to try this!" only to return with a sample bite of veiny cheese, a paper-thin leaf of prosciutto or a perfectly crisp amaretti cookie that he’d recently added to his menagerie of taste. For his many contributions to Salt Lake City, we awarded Tony with a Lifetime Achievement Dining Award in 2007.
Today, we're sending love to @caputosmarket and the many people whose lives were touched by Tony. A full tribute is on our website now. ❤️...
Why is the Pleasant Grove theme park Evermore suing one of the most powerful women in music? Long story short: a playground for those who would choose lore over folklore is taking on Taylor Swift over the name of her most recent album. Both parties have their reputation on the line in a battle of undercover Swifties and novelty mug disputes. Will Evermore hit the gold rush? Or did they cross the wrong mad woman? The full story is at the link in our bio....
Even in the exploration boom of the 1800s, nobody dared to explore the terrain flowing through the Green and the Colorado Rivers.
That is, nobody until Major John W. Powell said the 19th Century equivalent of “Hey man, hold my beer while I try this.”
Read more about his dangerous expedition at the link in our bio!
Photo of Powell’s expedition courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division...
Whose mouth is watering? 🙋♀️😋
@granarybakehouse_slc is a small, immaculate and intimate 9th and 9th bakery with some of the best laminated pastry in town. (That means golden flakes that get all over your car because you can’t wait until you get home to take a bite.)🥖🥐🧈
Read more about Granary Bakehouse at the link in our bio! ❤️...
A brand new issue of Salt Lake magazine is coming your way!
We can't wait to share these stories with you. This issue includes our annual Blue Plate Awards celebrating those surviving and thriving in the restaurant biz. Plus, we take a road trip to Wyoming and ask why the only Utah passenger on the Titanic didn’t survive her journey.
A note from our editor Jeremy Pugh, including beautiful tributes to Mary Brown Malouf from our friends in the community, is online now. Read more at the link in our bio ❤️
Subscribers: Look for this issue in your mailbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands March 1! 📬...
Today, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Blue Plate Awards! 🎉
These prizes honor the growers, food evangelists, grocers, servers, bakers, chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs who do more than put good food on the table—they make our community a better place to live. This year, just surviving as a local business deserves an award, but each of our Blue Plate winners did more than that. They made us grateful for every person involved in the essential act of feeding us. 🍽
At the link in our bio, we have the full list of winners, a celebration of feats of COVID creativity and a tribute to restaurants we lost this year. If you’re hungry for more, pick up a copy on newsstands March 1! Plus, check out our Instagram for spotlights on some of the Blue Plate winners.
This year’s Blue Plate Awards are the first without our beloved Executive Editor Mary Brown Malouf. We dedicate them to her, our town’s biggest food fan, critic and champion. xoxomm 💙...
2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @ricobrandut for Staying in Beansness
Last summer, it seemed that Rico would be another victim of rapid gentrification in Salt Lake. Luckily, Rico was able to find a new home in Poplar Grove and now plans to add even more employees. It’s a last-minute happy ending for a community leader who literally wears his mission on his sleeve, courtesy a tattoo in bright red block letters: “pay it forward.” 💙...
2021 Blue Plate Award Winner: @spicekitchenincubator for Keeping the Spice Flowing
This year Spice Kitchen Incubator, already an essential resource for refugees, became, well, even more essential. 💙...
2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @thestore_utah for Special Deliveries
As grocery delivery becomes the new norm, The Store offers a personal touch that only an independent grocer can provide. Last March, high-risk and elderly customers began calling in their grocery lists over the phone, and The Store’s general managers personally delivered food to their homes. 💙...
2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @cucinaslc for Preserving Neighborhood Connection
Cucina’s outdoor spaces became a place where the neighborhood could gather safely. Owner Dean Pierose offered free coffee in the mornings and encouraged his regulars to linger and commiserate together, preserving a semblance of society during a socially distanced time. 💙...