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Hollywood South Food Stylist Dishes Out Secrets To Her Craft

Have you ever paid close attention to the food, while watching a movie?  Did you know a lot of time and effort goes into making that food look “movie-ready”.

Kendall’s Gensler’s job is to make sure the food is ready for it’s close-up.

“It’s very simple.  A food stylist prepares food for the camera.  Really it means that I set up food for the camera, motion pictures, commercials, video, or still photography,”  Gensler said.

As she works with Photographer, Ron Camalia at today’s shoot every detail counts.

“In still, you shoot towards the camera.  We build the food for the still camera.  In movies, we have to make sure the food is beautiful.  Everything has to be prepared 360-degrees, because we never know where the director will go,”  she said.

Kendall’s resume is impressive.  She has her own magazine, “Culinary Concierge”.  Her food styling work has been featured on HBO’s Treme, the Will Ferrell comedy, “The Campaign”, “Django Unchained” and most recently an Oscar Mayer bacon commercial.

“I had to cook over one thousand pounds of bacon on rods.  It was an experience,”  she said.

It’s a lot of work, but for Gensler it definitely has it’s perks.

“There was a moment during the filming of “Django Unchained”  when Jamie Foxx just started dancing with some of the girls in costumes and I saw Leo Dicaprio to my right.  It was just one of those wow moments,”  she said.

While working on ‘Django’ she prepared the T-bone steaks.

“The director, Quentin Tarantino had to approve the look of the plate.  Sometimes it’s very difficult to be a food stylist because you want your food to be front and center, and that’s not always the case.  Sometimes the food in the scenes gets put on the cutting room floor,”  Gensler said.

Her first foray into films was on the flick, “Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter”.

Gensler said, “I had a friend who was working in the props department and they called me up and asked me if I wanted to help with the movie.”

There are many secrets to her craft.

“In this shrimp salad, I inserted florist wire.  Once they were cooked, I could bend them and have them stand up in the direction I want.  I put a green sponge in the salad to give it a blocking effect.  We can place the lettuce leaves around to build a nice mound up, as opposed to the lettuce falling flat,”  the New Orleans Native, Gensler, said.

When milk or cereal is called for they use glue and steaks are always real, just cooked differently.  Not all the food they use is edible either.

“You can see how it’s changed.  More and more, it’s becoming more realistic,”  she said.

In an ever-changing biz, she is proud to be part of Hollywood South’s premiere cuisine scene.

“A message I want to get out is we have very talented people here in New Orleans that can get the job done.”

To see more of Gensler’s work, here’s a link to her magazine: http://www.culinaryconcierge.com/