A light mix of spinach, sliced apple and fennel, it was developed for the luxury spa Rancho La Puerta at Tecate by food stylists Denise Vivaldo and Cindie Flannigan.
If you want to know the secrets behind the beautiful food in ads, on TV and on packages, check out the book.
Some things you would rather not know. "All studios have rats," said Vivaldo (above). And they can't stop hungry crews from gobbling down unsafe food that has sat for hours under hot lights. That's why Pepto Bismol might be in their styling kit.
Truth in advertising means the food has to be real. They can get away with fake ice cream as the topping for a pie. But if they're doing an ad for an ice cream company, it has to be real.
The crucial part of the work is pleasing the client, the art director and the person who hired you, she said. "It's not glamorous. It's rewarding if you like it."
Still want to try it? Vivaldo and Flannigan are giving a two-day food styling workshop in Monrovia March 3 and 4. Click here for the details.
And go to the Denise Vivaldo Group page to learn more about what they do and about what's in "The Food Stylist's Handbook," which is available through Amazon.
Finally, here is the salad recipe, which they styled for the Melissa's lunch with edible flowers.
SPINACH, APPLE AND FENNEL SALAD
The Denise Vivaldo Group
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons rice or white balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon agave syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tarragon, coarsely chopped
4 cups spinach
1 cup apple, cored and very thinly sliced
1½ fennel bulbs, stems and fronds removed and finely sliced
Edible flowers for garnish (chamomile, violas, pansies, etc.)
Place olive oil, vinegar, mustard, agave syrup, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk until creamy.
Stir in tarragon. Just before serving, add spinach, apple and fennel to bowl, tossing to combine.
Garnish with edible flowers.
Makes 6 servings.