Food Styling: Dear Valentine…. Please come for brunch

It will be beyond pretty, uber stylish, and oh so LoVE-ly

I’ve saved a place for you at our long table….

The SCENE: A Valentines brunch for a group of creative friends in a recently opened industrial photographic studio. The floor was covered with bark chips, LARGE trees were trucked in, and an stark industrial space was transformed into an  indoor haven of beauty and softness.

The CAST: Creatives with too much inspiration to let a good opportunity for a styled shoot pass them by, and a morning of champagne and good food.

The DECOR: Take a big bow Vanessa Lewis. The un-valentines Valentines was the big idea, no cheesy red hearts, no sickly pink cupids and bows. Vanessa had a vision for something beautiful, contemporary without being cold,  lovely and pretty but not cutesy. I think we pulled it off ! Isn’t the tablecloth stunning?


The lunch was a collaboration of creatives. I wanted to extend the idea of collaboration and community to the food and the table.
By setting a long table with various food items in smaller quantities and portions all down the centre of the table the guests are invited to stretch, share and participate in the brunch.
It becomes participatory as opposed to static;: the guests are interacting with each other around the food.
It’s not a passive relationship of the host dishing up a plate of food and just  placing it before a guest. It’s up to the guests to engage with one another through the food. A community feel and spirit evolves through the sharing and exchanging of ideas, taste and experiences, ” I love this whole idea, it’s so relaxed , and the cake is delicious” “ohhh have you tried the fishcakes” ” no not yet, please pass them to me,” “ohh you’re right these are delicious please may I have the recipe”
I believe entertaining should be authentic, it’s easy to get caught up in the fancy decor and Masterchef recipes, but unless there are genuine relationship the food is no different from one party to the next.

Inviting guests into a space that is both beautiful and comfortable is the basis for a successful function, event or meal.



Parma ham “salad” with Grilled Artichokes, Lime and Chilli Pickled Nectarines and a scattering of micro greens

Smoked Haddock Fishcakes with Saffron Mayo & Quails Eggs

Pumpernickel Triangles with Salted Radish Butter and Smoked Salmon Ribbons

Retro Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches & Waldorf Chicken

Deviled Eggs with Modern Fillings


Homemade Raspberry Marshmallows

Rose Petal Meringues

Pink Velvet Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

One Bowl Orange Cake with Marigold Icing ( rwecipe Below)


Valentines Red Velvet Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce ( not pictured)


Devilled Eggs with Mustard Butter and Caviar. Haddock Fishcakes with Saffron Mayo & Quails Eggs


The Long Brunch Table




Raspberry Topped Cheesecake


Mini Red Velvet Cakes with Orange Cream and Marigold Filling




Tea Sandwiches





Orange Cake with Marigold Buttercream Icing
Smoked Trout Pate with Pumpernickel Hearts


Orange Celebration Cake

A quick and easy cake that is made all made in one bowl!


PrepTime : 40 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


Makes 1 small  20cm cake

185g unsalted butter, softened

2 cups / 280g Golden Cloud Self Raising Flour

1 cup/ 200g white sugar

½ cup / 125ml milk

3 eggs, room temperature

3 Tblspn / 45ml orange juice

1 tsp ( 5ml ) baking powder

¼ tspn salt

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC, grease and line 2 x 20cm sandwich cake tins
  2. place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with an eclectic mixer until a smooth thick batter forms , approx 6-8 minutes
  3. Divide dough equally between the two pans and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin before turning out onto a rack
  5. sandwich the layers with orange butter cream icing, and drizzle with smooth icing
  6. decorate with grated orange zest


Orange & Marigold  Butter cream Icing

125g butter, softened

1 ½ cup ( 210g) icing sugar, sifted

Juice and zest of 1 orange

4 marigold flowers, washed and petals removed

  1. Beat butter until pale and smooth. Add sifted icing sugar and a little of the orange juice. Beat well and add the remaining juice and zest, and stir in the marigold flowers
  2. Spread over cakes to sandwich together.


Smooth Icing Topping

2 cups ( 280g) icing sugar, sifted

½ cup ( 80ml) orange juice, no pulp

  1. Mix until smooth and pour over cake
  2. garnish with extra marigold flowers or ornage zest




Food &  Styling: Taryne Jakobi

Concept & Decor: Vanessa Lewis

Photography: Vanessa Lewis

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posts you might like

Privacy Preference Center