The best roads sometimes turn out to be the less obvious ones. Case in point: the career path of Irene at Blossom. She moved from digital to branding as she embraced change in order to follow her dreams.
Irene was on a well-traveled path at Blossom, perfectly in step with her own ambitions. But one day a switch was flipped, triggering new aspirations, and she realised she needed to change her job role in order to fulfill her professional dreams.
Blossom believed in this breakthrough and supported her.
Now, as a Blossom Brand Strategist, she helps companies discover the essence of their brand and the positioning that suits them best. And Irene has found the path that works best for her.
In this first episode of Turning Stories – Blossom’s stories of growth and change – Irene tells us about the challenges, desires, and satisfying insights of her personal journey.
Article / Editorial
Jun 6 - 2023
Feast for thought
My two cents. An editorial by Giacomo Frigerio.
Food is often the topic of conversation, probably too often. Especially where I was born. In Italy, food is a religious matter. Something that brings people together, but also divides them.
Think about salame… if you travel 10 kilometers in any direction, salame is made differently. Take, for instance, the area where Blossom is located: here we have Brianza salame. Just 15 km away, you’ll find traditional Milanese salame, and in Bergamo, another 20 km further on, they produce a softer salame with different techniques (I still remember my grandfather, Agostino, and his friends gathering in a small town in the province of Bergamo to make salame together – a moment of celebration, community, storytelling, and brotherhood). If you visit Crema, you’ll discover other types of salami (plural of salame) with different shapes, then comes Piacenza-style salame. From there, you enter the land of Felino, then Parma, and so on. In short, by the time you reach Reggio Calabria, you’ll have come across hundreds of different types of salami.
This is reflective of our small country and its many unique culinary traditions. And it’s precisely this uniqueness and diversity that provides daily inspiration for people like us, those who never settle for the ho-hum, for “normality,” for the ordinary.
Food is innovation and sharing
We are a communication agency with a chef and a kitchen. Back when we started and there were only five of us, we made pasta and ate lunch together. Now there are many of us. Our chef Paola cooks incredible things every day to help us balance the energy we need to perform at our best.
Because food is not just pleasure, it’s also vitality, culture, life. An essential part of our day-to-day and work, it fuels us. We have clients in this world, from small producers of high-quality products to big brands seeking to revolutionize the market. For those who come to our Blossom headquarters north of Milan, there’s always a bite of something to welcome them. An inviting aroma that makes them feel at home, like when mom used to cook up a meal for our friends.
In this issue of Snap, we blend our love of food with our desire to learn, discover, and seek new ideas, sharing stories of people in the industry who have inspired us and whom we respect.
Food styling. Looks so good you could eat it with your eyes
The art of transforming food into an object of desire.
“One thinks, dreams, and acts according to what one drinks and eats.” Those are the words of F.T. Marinetti from his 1930 Manifesto of Futurist Cuisine. And yet, in front of a billboard for a new yogurt or a TV spot for ice cream, Marinetti might say today “One drinks and eats according to what one dreams.”
In other words, according to what advertising makes us dream.
Because when it comes to today’s food industry and consumer habits, how we present food plays a huge role in what we eat. Not only does it influence purchasing decisions, but it can even affect appetite. And if that’s now possible, it’s thanks in part to the art of transforming dishes and ingredients into pure objects of desire.
That is the art of food styling.
An art that involves preparing and presenting food for photography, media and advertising.
The representation of food in art is certainly nothing new.
Food has been portrayed since prehistoric times in cave paintings, and in Ancient Rome, in mosaics of banquet scenes.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Fruit baskets, sandwiches and wine glasses have traversed styles and centuries, transitioning from still life paintings by Flemish painters to masterpieces by Morandi and Picasso, eventually transforming into Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints of Campbell soup cans, marking the first major clash between art and advertising.
In short, as often happens, we haven’t invented anything. Or almost.
But what does a food stylist really do?
Today, many roles contribute to the success of a food campaign, but one in particular truly makes a difference: a food stylist.
As it involves food preparation, one might think a food stylist is first and foremost a cook. Since it involves images, one might have the impression they are specialist photographers. In some cases, this may be true, but that’s not the point: a food stylist is the person who can make a deflated panettone look perky and a grilled chicken breast appear irresistible.
To better understand what a food stylist actually does day-to-day, we went straight to the source.
Connecting from Dubai – where Luisa was shooting for an international brand. When asked, “How would you describe your job?” Luisa Chiddo responded confidently, “I create fake food for advertisements.“
Luisa is one of the most recognized and esteemed Italian food stylists – even Blossom has collaborated with her – and she loves to define herself as an artisan.
She learned her craft through hands-on experience, and after years of hard work, today she can recreate an Indian dish with inedible ingredients for a photo shoot, or bring a resin ice cream to life, the kind that doesn’t melt after hours of shooting and intense spotlights.
Her work is artisanal, but it goes beyond just craftsmanship.
For Luisa, a good food stylist must have a list of reliable suppliers: from trusted fruit vendors able to find three different types of cherries in February to producers of special materials. But they must also be highly efficient: “I started in the USA with one of the best food stylists in the world. We were an all-female team and she made us work like military battalions. That’s how I learned organization,” says Luisa, who adds, “Being organized allows you to take more and better shots.”
In addition to creating attractive and beautiful images, an organized set saves customers time and post-production costs.
While Luisa remains a food stylist on every set, the skills she brings to the table are always different. Despite the breadth of knowledge required, specialization remains a fundamental characteristic in the industry. “There’s only one person in Italy who can make tuna fish look good. Everyone knows it!” says Luisa. “On the other hand, I excel at shooting ice cream. But even in this field, there are very few of us in Italy.”
Amongst the few Italian food stylists specializing in ice cream, Francesca Versolatto has an international curriculum and an extraordinary talent for concise explanations. To explain what a food stylist does, Francesca chooses an analogy: “It’s a bit like a make-up artist. Except instead of models, we work with food and beverages. The process is similar: casting, make-up, final touches, and then it’s time to photograph. In other words, product selection, composition and creation, adjustments, and shooting.”
Continuing with the parallel, Francesca manages to explain the value of her work with enviable simplicity: “Doing a campaign for a food product without a food stylist is like doing a campaign for cosmetic products with models who haven’t brushed their hair and aren’t wearing makeup. Would you do that?”
That said, food styling doesn’t necessarily mean producing images where the product looks unnatural or fake.
On the contrary, Francesca reveals that the current trend is towards a more natural presentation of food, where even post-production is “lighter” without compromising the image’s appeal.
In today’s world, food communication isn’t limited to advertising. Just think about the countless edible photographs we see every day in our social media feeds, TV shows, books and magazines.
Samuela Conti, a food stylist, food photographer and content creator knows all about this. Her work ranges from editorial assignments to creating reels for social networks. Her approach is different and complementary to traditional food styling, which originated in advertising.
Samuela tells us that her goal remains to make food desirable, but nowadays, the biggest challenge is finding her own unique style and recognition.
Professionals working in the field of digital communication have to compete with an abundance of food images.
“My greatest satisfaction came when someone I didn’t know recognized one of my photos by its style, set, props and lighting,” says Samuela proudly. But in addition to set design and photography, as a digital content creator, Samuela also does a lot of prep. How do her collaborations work? “Often, products are sent to me. I do a series of test recipes, and once I find the ideal one, I start visualizing the set and choosing the props. Then I begin shooting. For a reel, I usually need at least half a day of shooting.”
Video / Interview
Jun 6 - 2023
Bianca. When hospitality meets food.
What does luxury mean when it comes to hospitality? What role does food play in a 5-star hotel? Francesco Spreafico, owner of Bianca, and Michelin-starred chef Emanuele Petrosino give us their take.
Our first episode of Outlooks, a column dedicated to encounters with entrepreneurs and companies in discovery of new trends and business perspectives, takes us to the Michelin-starred kitchen of Bianca, a boutique hotel on Lake Annone near Lake Como, founded in 2019 by Francesco Spreafico.
Feeling at Home
Francesco opened the doors of Bianca and invited us into his world: a place where luxury is a simple concept and hospitality is a sought-after balance between a warm welcome, top-quality food, and sustainability.
Watch the episode.
Delicious eats for hardcore workers: our chef’s recipes, tailor-made for everyday survival.
Paola is Blossom’s chef. Every day, she whips up lunch for the entire agency: 70 hungry folks, sometimes frantic, often in a rush. Individuals who hold different roles, each with their own quirks and needs. That’s why Paola has crafted ad hoc survival menus for each team in the agency.
Today, let’s dive into the first six.
Cream of “Beauty” with purple kale, potatoes and fresh cheese
Best enjoyed before the next brief
Inspiration can strike at any moment, even during lunchtime. That’s why the perfect dish for our Art Directors is colorful, harmonious and imaginative. Because artists observe, get inspired, seek muses. And then at lunch, they love to clear their minds, and clean their plates!
Properties: rich in vitamins and antioxidants, with an aesthetically pleasing appearance to stimulate creativity.
Blend of Valerian salad, cashews; concassé tomatoes; broccoli flatbread; broccoli cream; kale chips.
Towards the goal
If digestion is the target, the correct funnel must be built. That’s why the strategist menu is modular and never gets cold. The first bite? Only after careful data collection and insight.
Properties: low glycemic index with a good amount of antioxidants and cruciferous vegetables that stimulate digestion and detox the liver. Complement with a protein addition (such as fish).
Black and white: Venus rice, feta, and yogurt
A perfectly executed dish. Because when things are meticulously done, they work in black and white too. Shame about that damn typo… it’s made the copy go down the wrong way!
Properties: high-fiber content. Whole grains increase the sense of satiety, facilitate intestinal functionality, and reduce the absorption of fats and “bad” cholesterol.
2 large ravioli, 2 sardines, 4 spears of asparagus, ¼ sweet and sour onion
It doesn’t matter what the chef budgeted for the menu. When they sit at the table, the finance team counts everything. And if the balance at the end of the meal is positive, they might even ask for seconds.
Properties: nutritional completeness and easy digestibility, ideal for avoiding afternoon slumps and keeping attention spans high all day long. The presence of oily fish raises the OMEGA index for a clear and calculating mind.
Social Media Manager Menu
Avocado slices and valerian lettuce, raspberries and cashews, endive and poppy seeds, peppers and thyme
In one hand, lunch, in the other, their phone. Because food is the most Instagrammable thing there is. And because in the life of a social media manager, notifications never sleep. Never!
Properties: convenient and quick meals, easy to plate, eat, and digest. Ideal for lunch breaks “on the run.”
Media House Menu
Sandwich with feta and raw and cooked spinach. Baked polenta chips. Yogurt mousse with maple syrup and chocolate puffed rice.
Long live the picnic basket
And there you have it… Directors, cameramen, and producers, if it’s not take-away, they don’t call it lunch.
Properties: a great compromise between taste and nutritional completeness. With a good portion of fiber and a proper intake of protein, low levels of sugar and saturated fat.
Recipes created by chef Paola in collaboration with her brother, Carlo Spagnuolo, nutritionist biologist and expert in plant-based diets.
When food becomes freedom. Our photo shoot with youth at In-presa Social Cooperative
Food is nourishment. Food is image and business. Food is passion. But sometimes, food stands for the future and opportunity.
Such is the case with In-presa, a social cooperative that focuses on professional training, educational support, and job placement for adolescents facing difficulties.
Among its educational programs, In-Presa offers youth the opportunity to become professionals in the restaurant industry. It also has a pastry school and catering service that provides employment, providing them with a path to recovery and growth.
When we discovered In-presa, we found an organization that uses food as a means to seek and create Beauty, as a medium to give purpose to those who may struggle to find it, and as a way to offer young people the opportunity to find themselves.
For this photo shoot, we featured some of the students currently attending the school. Each person portrayed themselves, both in and out of their work attire, each one free to tell the world: this is who I am.
To support the social cooperative In-presa or to learn more about the projects, please visit the website.