Dan Seidman is a leisurely chef who enjoys making food that’s not only delicious to eat, but beautiful to look at. With a focus on simple ingredients, and a penchant for BBQ meats, Dan shares his food styling tips, recent creations, and why he cooks with Caesarstone.
After moving away for university, Dan began cooking more at-home meals, and like most people of his generation, started taking pictures of his creations. He slowly started posting them to his Instagram account and instantly began accumulating likes, reposts, and followers. With every picture his fan base grew beyond his friends and family. By the time he left university, he had amassed over 10,000 followers. He now has over 83k followers and uses his influence to showcase modern combinations of simple ingredients.
What really turned Dan onto blogging was the ability to share good food beyond his friends and family. Blogging has expanded his social circle insomuch that he now finds gratification and enjoyment when his posts inspire people to make their own creations. There is difficulty in juggling law school and blogging, but he knows that staying relevant among the thousands of other food accounts is paramount.
Cooking with Caesarstone
When undertaking his recent kitchen reno, Dan wanted a countertop that was durable and would not require a lot of maintenance. He chose Caesarstone’s 4030 Stone Grey as he was already familiar with the product’s good quality and good looks – his laundry room and bathrooms were already outfitted with Caesarstone, and he loves the resilience quartz provides. He doesn’t have to worry about staining and it’s scratch resistant, meaning it’ll last forever with minimal maintenance..
SHOOT FOOD LIKE A PRO
If you’re looking to up your Insta-game, here are some of Chef Dan’s personal tips to help you make your food look as good as it tastes.
- Lighting — Always try to choose natural lighting over synthetic
- Prep — Having all ingredients ready will help you stay organized. Use fresh ingredients when possible, and have your camera ready; a tripod will do wonders for your photos.
- Envision how it will look — When plating the food try and think from the perspective of where the camera will be.
- Simple backgrounds — Use a solid background, like a cutting board or your Caesarstone countertop, and introduce new textures once you’re comfortable.
- Props — Keep it simple, a white plate or baking sheet is all you need. Too many props could make the photography sloppy and unprofessional.
- Editing — To keep the food looking natural you don’t want to over edit, just adjust the brightness, exposure and saturation to bring out the natural colours.
DEVELOP YOUR OWN STYLE
Dan says that to be a great cook you need to be comfortable with what you’re working with. Make food that you like and learn what goes well together. It’s fun to try and come up with new and exciting recipes, and when you’re ready, step out of your comfort zone.
Warm up with a flavourful Shakshuka
A traditional middle-eastern breakfast, Shakshuka is vegetarian and gluten-free, so it's great as an easy breakfast or lunch option.
- 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1/2 Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely chopped (plus extra for garnish)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Feta, crumbled for garnish
- Handful of parsley, chopped for garnish
- Chives, for garnish
- Salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add onions, and red bell pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add in the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and paprika. Cook for an addition minute until the garlic is golden.
Add in both cans of tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Using the back of a spoon, make 2 indents in the sauce and crack in the eggs.
Cover the skillet and allow the sauce to simmer until the whites are set. This should take about 10 minutes.
Garnish with Feta, parsley, sliced jalapeño, and fresh chives.