Samantha Lee – Food Artist
There’s no other way to say it – Samantha Lee is an Internet sensation. Bringing a new meaning to the term ‘yummy mummy’, she began plating up entirely original works of food art for her eldest daughter in 2008, in an effort to encourage her to eat healthily and with a sense of adventure. Under Samantha’s dexterous hands, lions shook their manes of scrambled egg, pancakes were transformed into a snowy New York City with a sprinkling of icing sugar, while four rice ball Beatles sported trademark hairstyles fashioned from nori seaweed.
It wasn’t until 2011 that she decided to share her creations on Instagram, and before long, people fell head-over-heels for her imaginative, gently humorous, and utterly charming offerings. Over 733,000 followers worldwide now have their hungry eyes trained on Samantha’s feed. “I’d already started being very particular about the food I was using, as I knew people would be watching,” she says, “But I didn’t expect it to go international – that was the shocking part.”
Amidst the buzz over her spectacular presentation skills, she’s keen to emphasise that her art is as much an adventure for her children’s palates as well as their eyes: “I believe there are no fussy kids, only fussy parents. If their parents won’t introduce them to tofu because they don’t eat it themselves, children will avoid it because it’s unfamiliar. So introduce them to new, different ingredients, and start when they’re young so they get used to it.”
Her newfound Insta-fame has resulted in plenty of big companies like MasterCard, Air Asia, and Samsung asking her to create designs specially for them – projects Samantha welcomes, provided they respect her philosophy of avoiding food wastage (in her view, there’s no such thing as food art for art’s sake).
Above all, even though her previously undiscovered talent is now taking her on to bigger, bolder challenges, she still makes all her meals with love: “At home, everyone eats the same vegetables, meat, and soup, but my two daughters’ rice happens to be decorated. We’re still eating the same food – and that’s how it should be. To me, it’s about togetherness.”