In David Ma’s interpretation of the ever present recipe video, two dainty hands with red lacquer nails split graham crackers and roast marshmallows against a pale pink background. The pastel palette and perfect symmetry call to mind an Andersonian aesthetic—Wes, that is. In another video, a sword slashes through the top of a tomato releasing a violent stream of pulp that splatters like blood against yellow walls. Seemingly aggressive, the result is a Tarantino-esque preparation of spaghetti and meatballs.
In a moment where quick recipe videos (you know the ones; disembodied hands, overhead shots) clog our feeds, Ma’s take on the genre stands out for its cheeky incorporation of film tropes.
“Food Films was a way to pay homage to the directors whose composition, style and nuances inspire me, while applying those traits to a subject matter that doesn't always get the love of a big Hollywood set,” said Ma of the series. The others take inspiration from Michael Bay and Alfonso Cuarón.
Ma began his career as a food stylist. Before moving into directing, he knew he had to develop a unique perspective to stand out in an already saturated space. What emerged was a playful, slightly irreverent style.
In another series, #Superhands, Ironman’s hands prepare a cast-iron steak using lasers, and Wolverine uses his built-in claws to better slice chicken thighs. Ma’s gaze towards film and film history is evident. He employs recognizable characters, angles and moments to create cooking videos that take the kitchen to the silver screen.
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And David Ma's favorite food movie? “Ratatouille.”
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.