Imagine a platter of food items like juicy tandoori kebabs, piping hot Chinese fried rice with chicken 65 on the side or a box of glossy iced donuts and fluffy banana pancakes; all this at your disposal but you can’t eat them. Simply because they’re not edible.
A Chennai-based food miniaturist, Shilpa Mitha can deceive your eyes with her creations as they’re too good to not be true. A former sound engineer, Shilpa found her calling in making tiny food look ridiculously drool-worthy. This self-taught artist creates food miniatures through clay which she trades as magnets and collectibles. She started clay modelling in 2011 as a hobby but only invested her time entirely in 2014.
“I was never interested in clay modelling and it just happened to me by chance. I started toying with making miniature food and after a point devoted my time to only creating food that looks as realistic as possible.”
From making rice bowls, kebabs, macarons, hot cross buns, breads, a plate of idli vada with sambar and chutneys, Shilpa’s speciality revolves around making south Indian food. Her Instagram profile is packed with food items from a variety of cuisines, but her creations with south Indian food is the most prominent.
As much as her creations look delicious, they’re equally laborious in nature. Before the items are created, Shilpa makes her way through a fair amount of research to understand the intricacies of each dish. Only then does she begin working on her masterpieces which further involves certain techniques.
Shlipa recalls days of constant practice with immense focus on making these food miniatures look very realistic. “Back in 2011 when I started discovering this art, I didn’t really face challenges since this was a novel idea and not many people knew about this concept. People had never seen miniature dosas and instantly it was a hit!”
Shilpa finds a drastic growth in her learning curve since she started and it has been gradual and fulfilling. She advises people who are interested in the art to try their hand with food and create their own mark in this genre.
A slice of pizza may end up satiating your food craving, but sometimes visual treats can also do wonders. Food miniaturists like Shilpa also remind us of the Japanese food miniaturists whose creations display the sheer mastery of these creators leaving spectators with a warm whimsical feeling.
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