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This burger tastes like cardboard

(Er, that’ll be the cardboard padding)

Altered burger ... sesame seeds glued on and patty painted with oil

A FAD among foodies for posting snaps of their meals has seen the #foodporn hashtag used 68million times on Instagram and led to warnings it is fuelling the obesity crisis.

But the ingredients professionals use to create the perfect image are enough to put you off your dinner.

We team up with food stylist Helen Rance to reveal all…

Before ... cheese was then melted by a blowtorch and cardboard padding added

Some cardboard and glue with your burger, madam? Marmite and Fairy liquid on your chicken, sir?

Helen Rance creates mouth-watering pictures for magazines, books and food companies
And she has a host of tricks to improve the appearance of dishes.

For the Ultimate Burger, her ingredients and tools include a blowtorch, paintbrush, PVA glue, foam, cardboard and tweezers.

She starts by shaping the burger patty so it’s perfectly round and plumped-up, then paints it with oil.

Cocktail sticks hold everything in place
Cocktail sticks hold everything in place Bill Kingston

For the bread she uses two buns — cutting a bigger top half from one and bottom half from the other to make a taller burger.

The sesame seeds are carefully placed with tweezers and stuck with glue, and the lettuce neatly folded.

Helen melts the cheese with a blowtorch, and bulks up the whole thing with foam and cardboard.

She says: “Melted cheese never looks good, so using a blowtorch allows you to be more accurate. Sticking on sesame seeds is fiddly, though.”

Roast chicken

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Tweezers, skewers, foil, kitchen towel, Marmite, washing-up liquid, blowtorch

COOKING TIME: 20 minutes

PREPARATION: 15 minutes

Before ... chicken plumped up with foil

HELEN puts the bird in the oven just long enough for the skin to tighten.

She places a kitchen towel under the back end and stuffs sheets of foil inside to give a plumper appearance.

She gets the browned look using Marmite mixed with washing-up liquid, then blowtorches the skin.

She says: “It saves a lot of time. With the chicken, it’s all about the size. So you’ve got to use everything you can to plump it up. But it doesn’t look very appetising from the back.”

After ... bronzed with the help of Marmite






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