When Bryan Fuller decided to take on the task of bringing Hannibal to life for a television audience, he hired world-famous chef José Andrés as a culinary consultant and artist Janice Poon as a food stylist. Food stylists like Janice are everywhere - in every commercial, in every ad designed to make mouths water, there is always a food stylist behind the imagery.
Janice’s task for every episode is to not only make the food look good, but also edible and as safe as possible. "Food styling is a lot harder for a TV show when the actors will actually have to eat your food, take after take after take. It has to be edible and it has to hold under hot studio lights for hours without going bad because you never know when your scene will come up and how many takes there will be," says Poon. For example: the blood sausage pictured in one of the earlier episodes of the show is not actually blood sausage, because the real thing is incapable of sitting for hours on a television set without turning into a health hazard. "Safety issues are enforced by the unions, but the food safety laws are set out by government and are very stringent."
In Apéritif, Dr. Lecter prepares what looks like a human lung but in reality was a meat called “mortadella”, since she couldn’t use a real lung from any animal, saying “He [Mads Mikkelsen, who plays Lecter] cooks it, but he tastes it before he cooks it. Well, that’s not good, because he can’t eat raw lung, so I have to find something food safe that looks raw, that will act raw, because he is flipping it around on a cutting board.”
Janice runs a blog in which she regularly updates concerning the show. She has been reading scripts for the second season of Hannibal, and will return as a food stylist.