Evolution of bento

I’ve been making bentos now for over two years, and along the way I’ve picked up some tricks. I’ve also contributed to a recipe book, had an interview with the Financial Times, and I’ve done an excruciatingly embarrassing interview with ABC News that was so bad they never even showed it. There’s even an article out there on a German magazine website about my bento making. How the hell did that happen?

I’ve come a long way.

For all those bento makers out there, I thought I’d show you just how far I’ve come, by posting my first ever bento, and my most recent.

Teriyaki beef and pickles

If you think this is embarrassing, you should also know that I used this picture in NEO for the Chopsticks recipe section. Ah, my poor readers – so sorry. Now, I’ve figured out how to take better shots by actually doing my recipes during the day… You cannot beat daylight for good photos.

So, want to see what two and a half years of bento making can do?

Cat bento 3

Tah dah! Yes, I’m very proud of how far I’ve come. I’ve learned how to compose pictures better, arrange bentos better, balance them better, and even make chara-ben. My photography has improved, and of course, my bento collection is massive. So, if you ever feel like your bentos don’t come up to scratch, just keep at it! If I can do it, anyone can.

To be honest, it’s all in the photography. Your bento can be the most amazing bento ever, but if you take your shot at night, it’s almost guaranteed to look bad. Natural lighting, people, natural lighting!

Also, it helps to look around at what other people are doing, and take inspiration from their fantastic photos. Give credit where it’s due and celebrate people’s ideas – the mini hamburgers with the knife and fork pattern came from an idea I saw on Sheree’s photostream. Her bentos are so cute! And, if you think something looks cool, make a bento out of it! This bento is based on Joanna Zhou’s cool Kitty doll from Momiji – I love their stuff and I’ve wanted to do a bento of this character for ages! I think it turned out pretty well…

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