– by Revathie Dhanabalan
To many, food is art. There’s just something spectacular about creating beautifully crafted plate of food. In fact, the largest part of creating a dish – is its aesthetic appeal. So put aside all your foretold warnings as a child to not play with your food and check out Samantha Lee’s culinary art. A Malaysian mum of two who has become an Instagram hit, talks about her edible creations and her goal to get her lovely daughters excited to eat healthy!
Visually appealing and elaborately styled bento boxes have always pulled one’s heartstrings but there’s definitely more to the Japanese-inspired boxed meals than its Kawaii look. These character bento or Charaben – is Samantha Lee’s quest to create these masterful food pieces in an effort to get her little fussy eaters excited to eat peas and broccolis! “I wanted to encourage my daughters to eat healthy and independently so I started making food art at the end of 2008 when I was heavily pregnant with my second child and started posting it on Instagram in 2011 to get feedback and show my friends and family my new hobby!”
Charaben or character bento sets are seen as a creative solution for picky eaters and has also become a pop culture phenomenon and a thriving industry. For young mothers out there, Samantha’s masterpieces not only serve as inspiration but are healthy as well. “I am happy to say that there are definitely more parents out there that have started to make food art for their loved ones with healthier ingredients in their food art. They have started to understand the purpose of making it (healthy eating)… not just for the looks but it has to be practical.”
And Samantha definitely has plenty of memorable experiences creating these food art on her belt. “I’ve worked with brands that are not in the same genre. I had to challenge myself to think outside the box. Best examples are my creations for ESPN (2013), MasterCard USA and Turkish Airlines. These are the projects that inspired me to think outside the box. Working with Turkish Airlines gave me the opportunity to visit Turkey for the first time. I’ve never been so inspired.”
Now, if you’re feeling a little inspired looking at her food art masterpieces, Samantha’s top three tips are to – “keep things simple, use the tools you already have and be creative and experiment every week.” So get creative with your food and start sharing and inspiring yourself and everyone just as Samantha Lee has!
Photo credit: www.leesamantha.com