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The Lowdown on Food Art

Gone are the days where people eat food simply because of the taste. Although flavor is still essential to a great meal, there is another element that restaurants, bars and cafes have taken into consideration: the food's aesthetic. In fact, more chefs, baristas and food curators are putting an emphasis on how their cuisine looks, in addition to its overall taste. Here are some ways food has turned into visual art:

The barista way
There was a time when a cup of joe was simply something people grabbed on the way to the office to make it through their 9-to-5 job. But now baristas have skills that make lattes look like artwork, which almost stop people from wanting to sip on their drink (almost). Pouring a cup of coffee might sound simple, but making these drinks is no easy task. It requires the right tools, temperatures and techniques to recreate images in a drinkable form. Some popular and difficult pictures include meticulous rosetta prints, a detailed bear's face and intricate plants. Some may look easy like a heart, but this caffeinated art is fun to look at and delicious to drink.

Pretty pastries
Desserts that look and taste good are not anything groundbreaking. After all, cake decorating has been around for decades - if not centuries. However, more recently cake-making has put more of an emphasis on the decorative details of the cake, along with the delectable taste. This trend is readily apparent among  entertaining television shows like "Cake Boss" and "Cupcake Wars." These shows take desserts to the next level, using surprisingly edible ingredients to bring the cake to life with bold colors and life-like figures.

As a result, bakeries are recreating innovative styles that are impressive and tasty to eat. This can be anything from a favorite cartoon character for a kid's party to a ruffled wedding cake. Whatever the occasion, bakers are now expected to do more than just whip together a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. Because of that, bakers are becoming more than just bakers, they're sculptors, too. But these sculptures you get to eat afterward.

Presentation is everything

"People like food the looks pretty and tastes good."

It's safe to say that fancy restaurants put more emphasis on the presentation of food than fast-food restaurants. However, according to Business Insider, more restaurants are picking up this tactic because of an important driving force: money. A study published in the journal Flavor concluded that people are willing to pay more for food that is presented like art. The foods presented to the participants that showcased a more artful aesthetic were liked more than the dishes that were not. In addition to cost, the foods that were artistically presented also had higher tasting rates.

In sum, people like food that looks pretty and tastes good.

The forces behind food art
While there is no definite timeline as to when the food industry began adopting a greater focus on these visual characteristics, there are plenty of ideas as to the reasons why. Television stations like the Food Network are incredibly popular among diverse demographics. On shows like "Chopped" or "BBQ with Bobby Flay" the chefs create dishes that are incredibly appealing to eat. For people who watch these shows, attractive food is something that is instilled in their minds and becomes expected at restaurants they eat at every day.

Another factor that cannot be forgotten is the world of social media, especially websites like Instagram and Tumblr that have a heavy focus on photography. People go out to eat and love to snap a picture of their meal or drink. They usually throw a flattering filter on the photo, add a caption and share it with their followers. As a result, people are attracted to the look of the photo and are fascinated as to what it tastes like.

This tactic isn't simply for everyday people. Artists of all mediums exercise the power of social media. For instance, a graphic designer might create an Instagram account to post his or her posters, buttons, pins or designs with a link as to where to purchase them. Because viewers are incredibly visual, it can give the artist business that might not ever had the opportunity to get if he or she didn't have a social media site.