Behind the Scenes: The Truth About Food in Movies and TV Shows

Have you ever watched a movie or TV show and wondered about the food that the actors are eating? Is it real? Who prepares it? How many takes do they have to do, and does that mean they’re eating the same thing over and over again? The truth about food in movies and TV shows is a fascinating behind-the-scenes aspect of the entertainment industry that many viewers may not be aware of. Let’s delve into this topic and answer some of these burning questions.

The Reality of Food on Screen

Yes, the food you see actors eating in movies and TV shows is usually real. However, it’s not as simple as just ordering takeout or cooking something up in the kitchen. The food on screen needs to look perfect and remain consistent throughout multiple takes, which can be a challenging task.

Who Prepares the Food?

The responsibility of preparing food for film and TV falls on the shoulders of food stylists. These professionals are part chef, part artist. They prepare food that not only looks delicious but also stays looking fresh for hours under hot studio lights. They use various tricks of the trade, such as undercooking meat so it doesn’t shrink, or applying glycerin to produce to give it a fresh, dewy look.

Multiple Takes and Eating Scenes

Actors often have to do multiple takes of a scene, which can be particularly challenging when food is involved. Imagine having to eat the same piece of cake or pizza slice over and over again! To avoid making actors feel sick, food stylists often prepare smaller portions or use substitutes that are easier to consume in large quantities. For example, mashed potatoes are often used as a stand-in for ice cream, as they have a similar appearance but don’t melt under the lights.

What Happens to the Leftover Food?

After a scene is shot, there’s often a lot of food left over. Some of it may be reused for other scenes, but a lot of it ends up being thrown away, especially if it’s been sitting out for a while. However, many production companies are making efforts to reduce food waste by donating unused food to local shelters or composting it.


The world of food in movies and TV shows is a fascinating one, filled with skilled professionals, clever tricks, and a surprising amount of mashed potatoes. So next time you’re watching your favorite show, take a moment to appreciate the artistry that goes into creating those delicious-looking meals on screen.