Food Stylist Ellen Straine Proves that Comfort Food Can Taste and Look Cozy

Ellen Straine has been a professional food stylist since 1993 and thoroughly enjoys the art of making food camera-ready.

“Some of my friends used to scold me for playing with my food…little did they know it would be my career choice,” she jokes.

Ellen’s career choice was fueled by her passions for food, cooking, gardening and playing.

“My world is filled with beautiful food, fabulous colors, fresh herbs and exotic spices. I enjoy creating images that capture the natural beauty of real food,” she says.

Ellen’s client list is impressive, from Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale, Ritz-Carlton, P.F. Chang’s and Pei Wei to Kona Grill, Winco, Fogo de Chao and many others. With a library of cookbooks, an ever-changing collection of props and accessories, and by immersing herself in current food and photography trends, Ellen makes sure beautiful food is always in style.

Rich colors and flavors abound for fall. Ellen says preparing a dish and plating it are equally important elements to pleasing a guest’s palate. She provides a delicious recipe along with presentation tips that bring extra appeal to the table.

Pork Tenderloin with Honey Mustard Sauce

Pork Tenderloin

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat the pork tenderloin dry with a paper towel and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown pork tenderloin on all sides for 2-3 minutes until golden. Place pork in oven and roast for 15-20 minutes or until thermometer reads 145 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the pork and drizzle with honey mustard sauce. Serve with apple mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Honey Mustard Sauce

4 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons Dijon mustard or Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

Whisk together honey, mustard, vinegar, thyme and pepper.

Apple Mashed Potatoes

3 cups granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cubed

5 cups red potatoes, cubed

1 cup diced shallots

3 tablespoons olive oil 

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Directions

Put apples, potatoes and shallots in a baking dish. Pour olive oil over and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast vegetables in a 350-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and mash everything together. If mixture is too dry, add vegetable broth or cream in 1/4 cup increments to moisten to your liking. Mix in the fresh chopped parsley.