If you’ve ever been to a restaurant and thought, “This does not look like the dish in the ad,” here’s the irony: The dish in the ad doesn’t look like the dish in the ad, either.
This casserole shot, for instance, is an elaborate tango of artifice,
technology and timing. The steam wafting over the dish comes not from
the food, but from a stagehand crouched under a table with the kind of
machine that unwrinkles trousers.
The hint of Alfredo sauce that appears when the fork emerges from the pasta?
That’s courtesy of tubes hidden in the back of the dish and hooked to
what look like large hypodermic needles. Moments before each take, Mr.
Somoroff yells, “Ooze!” That tells the guy with the needles, standing
just outside of the frame, to start pumping.
As for that quarrelsome drip from the fork, it is the responsibility of
Anthony DeRobertis, a special-effects rigger who holds his own
hypodermic of sauce and is having a hard time synching with a hand
model, a young man with a military haircut who is clutching the fork.
--David Segal, NYT, on the unreality of restaurant food ads