A Culinary Career in Food Filmmaking

You could use your culinary degree to cook food over a hot stove--or you could use it to film other people cooking food. The success of The Food Network and television chefs like Rachel Ray and Giada De Laurentiis has created a booming market for cooking shows. If you appreciate the beauty of food, you may consider a culinary career in food filmmaking.

Culinary Makeup Artist

It takes more than film talent to excel in food photography. These days, you need to know food to film food. A culinary degree is not a requirement for a career in food television, but the best food filmmakers understand how meals come together. A chef may know how to cook a dish correctly, but it's up to the food filmmaker to tweak the recipe for optimum visual appeal.

Food Filmmaking 101

A good chef plays on all the senses, paying attention not only to flavor, but also texture, aroma, appearance. A good culinary filmmaker plays on the viewer's sense of sight and sound to capture the whole range of food's appeal. It's a virtual culinary career, where the cooking utensils are special effects rather than utensils and appliances.

Here are some of the filmmaking techniques The Food Network's Al Liguori uses to 'cook' up a mouthwatering meal on film:

  • Variable Focus--Bring out a food's textural beauty by blurring part of the frame; the contrast sets off the detail.
  • Amplified Sound--Enhance appealing sounds; pouring milk should sound like a "waterfall," etc.
  • Close-ups--Periodically cut to artfully shot close-ups of ingredients while filming the chef.
  • Movement--Capture the choreography of cooking by panning the camera over the food preparation area.

Heading for the Emmys with a Culinary Degree

Food has become a form of entertainment; today's culinary careers require showmanship, not just cooking skill. Your culinary degree may take you to the world's great kitchens, or it may land you in the food TV filmmaker's chair.


  • "TV Dinners," The New Yorker (Oct. 2, 2006)