Joan Auritt
Joan Auritt

High production value and amazing food styling are essential for a successful segment, yet only part of the recipe for a great on-camera piece. You can pull out all the bells and whistles and still flop. Why? Because a producing a food video is always about more than just the food.

Before you can even talk about or showcase your amazing product and/or recipe, you have to connect with your audience. Your chef, R.D., brand spokesperson, wine or other expert has to reach them in an authentic way. To make sure your story resonates, select a spokesperson who’s got the goods: the personality, talent and warmth people will respond to. Then craft a story that will appeal to your key market. Make sure to shape your messages to fit organically into the story. Your spokesperson has to find a reason to talk about your product that flows naturally. Finally, encourage your spokesperson to share personal experiences that the audience can identify with. Finding connections is key.

When it comes to the food, select recipes with a twist which are still accessible with easy-to-find ingredients: Bolognese sauce without the meat; pizza with a cauliflower crust; and brownies with espresso powder and cinnamon.

Consult a food stylist or experienced food producer to help break down recipes to highlight the essential steps. If the platform is a guest shot on a show or SMT, remember that time is short. Keep the process to three simple stagings designed to keep the audience interested

Be sure to add color and sound for excitement: a sizzling frying pan and rich, deep colors make for mouth-watering segments. Close ups are key when showcasing food; encourage your spokesman to use small, precise movements with steady hands.

Here are some DOs when planning your food segment:

Joan Auritt
A satellite tour Auritt produced with Skinnymom founder Brooke Griffin for her cookbook, Skinny Suppers.

• Use colorful food for your demo when you can, avoiding bland creams and browns. Or add a pop of color to brighten the dull dish. Picture strawberries on top of a bowl of oatmeal.

• If raw beef and or fish is your key ingredient, surround it with fresh vegetables and take the focus off the “raw.”

• Avoid ingredients that will melt or turn brown when exposed to air. If items like avocados, banana or ice cream are a must, consult with a food stylist for tricks of the trade to keep everything looking fresh.

If your talent has had little or no on-camera experience, the wisest thing you can do is have them trained by a media coach. Even chefs who know their way around the kitchen blindfolded will find that cooking on video is a whole different experience. It’s important for them to become comfortable cooking and talking, talking and cooking pretty much non-stop. It’s harder than it looks and takes practice, practice and more practice.

The goal with any food segment on TV and online is to leave your viewers with an indelible memory and a desire to learn more. Find that one concrete tip that is the “ah-ha” moment. For example: how to tell if an avocado is ripe; how to cut a mango; how to tell if an egg is fresh; or how to correctly store cheese.

Going beyond impressive camera work and lighting means your food video vividly showcases your brand and your spokesperson connects with audiences, forming a lasting impression that people will remember indefinitely.


Joan Auritt is CEO and Founder of Auritt Communications Group.