Before this miniature polar bear took the shape of an animal, it was an eggplant, and this ridiculously cute Star Wars character used to be plain old mashed potatoes. Welcome to the world of food art: where food is clay, fruit is paint, and chopsticks are paint brushes.
Quirky, creative, and (maybe) too unique to eat, food art is not only memorable for how it turns out, but also for how the artists embrace ordinary kitchen ingredients to bring their ideas to life. And the process is just as much fun to witness as the end result.
Below, we compiled various food artists who use pantry staples to make everything from fictional characters to serene scenes. Each adds their own inventive touch to bring their masterpieces to life, but they’re all united in a vision of transforming simple ingredients into something very special.
Laleh Mohmedi (@Jacobs_Food_Diaries)
For an instant pick-me-up, look no further than the social account Jacobs Food Diaries. Australian food artist Laleh Mohmedi depicts countless cute and quirky characters — often using mashed potatoes as her base along with other simple ingredients, like noodles, coffee, and eggs. Mohmedi has over 900,000 followers on TikTok and 262,000 on Instagram. Her goal: “Making healthy (and sometimes not so healthy) food fun!” Watch her create an adorable turtle here.
Lauren May (@MustLoveHerbs)
Edible terrariums, garden focaccia, and mint and cucumber infused limeade are just some of the nature-inspired recipes from Lauren May, also known as Must Love Herbs. As a self-professed avid gardener and forager from Appalachia, May brings her passion for plants into her picture-perfect creations that look almost too lovely to eat or drink.
A creative chef known as Onigiri Gekijō (which translates to “rice ball theater” in Japanese) turns simple ingredients into one-of-a-kind characters. The artist transforms rice into puppies, otters, and pigs, along with inventive depictions of Mozart and ninjas. In the videos, you can see the intricate attention to detail, along with the tools used to bring each character to life, ranging from chopsticks to toothpicks.
Eat Your Flowers is fittingly the title of Loria Stern’s edible flower treat company and new cookbook. Her cookies and cakes are made with edible organically-grown botanicals — and a lovely touch of whimsy. In addition to garnering hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, the blooming baked goods have been featured by Vogue and Los Angeles Magazine, and recently received an investment on Shark Tank.
Harley Langberg (@HarleysFood_Art)
Since 2013, Harley Langberg has been sharing his playful food art and “turning the edible into the unforgettable.” The New York-based artist makes everything from depictions of fictional characters (hello Mufasa made of bacon) to lucious lips made with red peppers. And if you’ve ever wondered what you’d look like in food form, you can even order a custom piece.
Red Hong Yi
While Red Hong Yi’s art is made with food, it’s certainly not made to eat. Yi’s portfolio includes masterpieces made with pantry staples like eggshells, tea bags, and spices. She even transformed chopsticks into a portrait of actor Jackie Chan. The internationally acclaimed artist has used her work to take a stand on important topics — such as racism and the environment — while also showing the beauty of everyday items and expressing her Chinese-Malaysian heritage. For more insight into her work, check out her new book How to Paint Without a Paintbrush.
Lauren Purnell (@Culinary_Canvas)
Lauren Purnell, a Canadian artist living in London, shares dainty, playful food art through her Instagram account. You’ll see peaceful scenes of pandas eating plants, squirrels munching on snacks, and mushrooms in a garden — all made entirely with food. Purnell also shares which ingredients she uses to make each piece, in case you feel inspired to recreate her edible visions.
Flowers made of meat and cake made with flowers are just some of the creations from Lucia Carniel, an artist, food stylist, and photographer based in Italy. Carniel shares her passion for food on Instagram and her blog, where you can find stunning recipes of cookies, cakes, and more desserts.
Natasha Pickowicz will make you rethink the meaning of cake. Her eye-catching work includes the Tater Tots cake pictured above and a lasagna cake, along with 100 imaginative recipes, which she shares in her heartfelt, easy-to-follow cookbook, More Than Cake.
Need a dose of happiness? Kerstin Pohling’s food art is pure plated joy for kiddos — and adults! The Germany-based food artist uses primarily fruits and veggies to make adorable designs, like cheerful bees, charming bears, and maybe the cutest crab you’ll ever lay eyes on.