REEL CUISINE is like the Academy Awards of Gastronomy. Professional food stylist Nami Iijima has worked on the sets of more than a dozen international films and TV programs. Her dishes have inspired hunger across the globe. The Finnish/Japanese co-production “Seagull Diner” was partially inspired by her scrumptious and worldy dishes.
In her first English language release Iijima collects recipes from more than seventy feature films, including the following Oscar winners and nominees allowing people in Iowa or New Zealand to finally taste the dishes and delights from Hollywood’s biggest and best movies.
Film Inspired Dishes include:
The Godfather – Homemade Spaghetti Primavera Kramer vs. Kramer – French Toast Eat Drink Man Woman – Taiwanese Spring Vegetables with Crab Sauce Good Morning, Vietnam – Chicken Dumpling Pho TransAmerica – All-American Hamburgers Witness – Philly Franks Fried Green Tomatoes Fried Chicken Misery Anne’s Scambled Eggs Miracle on 34th Street Christmas Roast Chicken Life is Beautiful Salmon Sautee Amelie Creme Brule Small Time Crooks Chocolate Fudge Cookies JUNO Stacked Potatoes Notting Hill Brownies Chocolat Raw Chocolate and many more.
A Q&A WITH NAMI IIJIMA AUTHOR OFREEL CUISINE Q: What came first, your interest in movies or your interest in food? Iijima: My interest in food came first – then I became involved in movies.
Q: How did you learn to cook? Iijima: My mother was a chef, and I helped her out ever since I was a kid. I also took nutrition and cooking classes.
Q: What led you to become a food stylist? Iijima: I wanted to work with food, but to have each day bring something new. I thought food styling would be a very fun job.
Q: In addition to your culinary talents, what other skills are necessary to be successful in your profession? Iijima: It’s important to listen very carefully and to adapt to the client’s requests quickly, to respond creatively, and to have patience. Q: Of all the movies you’ve worked on, what was the most challenging for you? Why? Iijima: “Villon’s Wife.” The time period was right after WWII, and it was difficult to find tableware, etc. that was true to the era.
Q: From your experiences working on films, are there one or two take-away lessons you can share? Iijima: If you want food to look tasty, steam is incredibly important. Using dark settings or tableware will help the steam stand out.
Q: Have you had any on-set disasters or near-disasters you can tell us about? Iijima: I once gave a left-handed actress tools that were meant for right-handed people.
Q.How was shooting the stills for the book different from filming the scenes in the actual films? Iijima: In the studio, I can work at my own pace, whereas on a film shoot there are far more people involved on set.
Q: In addition to preparing the food itself for a movie, what other elements are necessary for creating an effective cinematic food scene? Iijima: Getting my hands on whatever tableware or cutlery was used in the scene.
Q: What’s your favorite meal to prepare for your own family and friends? Iijima: Hand-roll sushi. It’s a simple dish that’s pliant to new ideas, and I have a lot of fun making it in the kitchen.