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Ask a Food Stylist: How to Have a Picture-Perfect Thanksgiving

Ask a Food Stylist: How to Have a Picture-Perfect Thanksgiving

Words Rebecca Ulanoff

We all know that on Thanksgiving, more than any other holiday, the focus is food. As important as flavor and juiciness are (very!), a fantastic-looking spread takes the whole experience to the next level. Imagine your guests posting Instagram pics of your turkey and tablescape in addition to the obligatory family shots. Hearts galore!

At OXO, we’re fortunate to work with talented people of all stripes, but the woman behind the tantalizing, drool-worthy, thumb-stopping food in our latest product videos is stylist Kate Schmidt.

We took advantage of our time with Kate by finding out her top tips for a picture-perfect Thanksgiving. Read on and share your own tips in the comments.

Punch it up!:

Instead of cocktails, Kate serves punch when guests arrive. Because she makes it ahead, she has more time to spend greeting friends and family. This Sparkling Pomegranate Punch is a holiday favorite; it’s bright, not too boozy, and features pomegranate seeds and citrus slices, both beautiful garnishes.

Styled by Kate Schmidt

Keep things light:

“Thanksgiving is hands-down my favorite holiday, but the traditional food can be pretty heavy, so I try to lighten things up when I can. I think a crudite plate is kind of a slam dunk Thanksgiving appetizer and a great way to wow your guests with a beautiful dish.” said Kate.

Instead of the baby carrots, celery sticks and white cauliflower found in standard crudite platters, Kate incorporates seasonal vegetables including watermelon radishes, baby turnips, small tricolor carrots, snap peas, endive, pattypan squash, endive, purple or yellow cauliflower into her version –  bonus points to Kate for giving people an extra serving of vegetables.

Take shortcuts:

Kate uses our Chef’s Mandoline Slicer to quickly prep veggies for crudite, gratins and roasted vegetables. For veggie platters, Kate suggests dressing the vegetables with olive oil and flaky sea salt and serving with either store-bought hummus or this deceptively easy but super impressive homemade aioli (fancy mayonnaise).

OXO's herb guide for Thanksgiving cooking

Find balance:

For the main event, Kate aims for a healthy mix of light and rich foods.

“Don’t underestimate the power of a sprinkle of fresh herbs on stuffing to cut through all the savory deliciousness, or the addition of a salad with bitter greens and citrus to brighten up your table, both visually and flavor-wise. I could never go without the classics, but I like to make sure there are a few brighter, fresher items as well!”

how to roast thanksgiving turkey

Decorate with food or foliage:

When it comes to tabletop decor, Kate takes a natural and easy approach. Whenever possible, she uses leaves, branches, pinecones and acorns for major fall feelings. Another easy approach is to grab leftover herbs (thyme, rosemary or sage) or fruit (lemons, oranges, pomegranates, apples, pears, grapes) to dress the turkey platter for a stunning presentation.
OXO salted chocolate chip cookies dan kluger

Use a secret weapon:

Kate swears by Maldon sea salt on everything from turkey to mashed potatoes to chocolate chip cookies.

And a favorite OXO tool:

“Every food stylist I know has the OXO Trigger Ice Cream Scoop in their kits, because they make photoready ice cream scoops every time! Perfect on pumpkin or apple pie.

Create your own traditions:

Kate loves to greet guests with fresh-baked cookies. To save time, she makes a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, scoops it out onto a sheet pan, freezes the dough balls overnight and then transfers them to a food storage container for compact freezer storage. That way, she can pop a few in the oven and have warm cookies in 15 minutes flat.

By Rebecca Ulanoff

Rebecca Ulanoff is part of OXO’s Brand Communications Team. She enjoys talking about her next meal while eating her current one. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and four-year-old daughter.

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