If you were served with a plate of food prepared by Samantha Lee, there is a big chance you would’t want to dig right in for fear of ruining the art. That art which Lee has perfected and documented through her photographs on Instagram has now amassed almost 700,000 followers and is a passion borne from initially wanting to encourage her two daughters to eat healthier foods. “When I first started creating food art, those in bento boxes (called charaben) had been around for a long time—but I was more interested in exploring food art out of the box and simplifying the technique. Since then, I’ve developed my own unique style of storytelling on plates that explores a variety of subject matter and ingredients,” tells Malaysia Instagrammer Samantha Lee (@leesamantha) to Instagram blog.
Over the last couple of years, Samantha has designed various scenes depicting famous landmarks, animals and literary/pop culture characters on her plates. Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Frida, to Psy – you name it, chances are Samantha has sculpted it already using food components such as; rice, lettuce, tomatoes, eggs, cereals, cookies, oranges and almost every local and fresh ingredients she can easily get from the market.
As a result of her two daughters’ “endless imagination,” a long list of creative images have graced the plates of Samantha – an inventive process that doesn’t appear too complex, but requires artistic talents that bodes well with her minimalist approach. “Before I begin putting any new ideas on a plate, I sketch out my designs and write down ideas and ingredients I’ll be using. It helps me to be more organized and prevent food waste.” Photographing her creations for her Instagram followers to visually feast on, Samantha relies only on ambient lighting and very little image post-processing in order to “let the food art stand out and speak for itself.”
“My main inspiration comes from my kids, but also from social media, from children’s books, fairytales, movies, fine art, my traveling experiences and anything I see on a daily basis. The more I sketch, the more ideas pour in!” Samantha tells YouQueen in an interview.
In this age of social media where it has become easier to express one’s creativity and set of skills, it doesn’t matter what Samantha puts on the table nowadays, as long as it it showcases an appealing work of art, her Instagram followers will more than happy to devour it visually – or also wish they’ll get their hands on those plateful of attractive food as well. “I’ve never been to any cooking class or training before,” Samantha tells Today. “I’m a very ordinary stay home mom.” Aside from her almost a third of a million Instagram followers, Samantha has enjoyed partnerships with leading food brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Barilla pasta, for the use of their products on her food art.