Chef Creates Mind-Bending Food Illusions Where Nothing on the Plate Is What It Seems

Food Illusions by Ben Churchill

Olive oil sponge cake with mint crumb, sweet milk foam, and baked apple puree
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, My Modern Met may earn an affiliate commission. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Things are not what they seem on the plates of chef Ben Churchill. His food art is an ongoing series of optical illusions that conceal delicious desserts under the guise that they’re inanimate objects or completely different dishes. Churchill is a master at forming his pannacotta, sponge cakes, and jellies to mimic the size and shape of what he’s trying to imitate; they look so convincing that you only realize they're sweet treats once you dig in.

Churchill has been a chef for over 10 years, but it’s only been over the last two years that he’s tried making pastries. “I decided to learn the basics,” he explained, “but decided to move into mimetic food, just to see what could be done. This gave me the bug to start teaching myself more and more.” He allows inspiration to come from anywhere, which has resulted in unexpected creations like pannacotta cigarettes in an ashtray and a cleaning sponge complete with “suds” or rather a sweet milk foam.

Churchill keeps busy as a chef and now a published author; his first book, Food Illusions vol. 1 was published in late 2017. It’s now available on Amazon.

Chef Ben Churchill creates mind-bending food illusions where nothing on the plate is what it seems.

Food Art by Ben Churchill

Vanilla Pannacotta, smokey lapsang gel, meringue powder, and chocolate

Food Illusions by Ben Churchill

Chocolate sponge coated in silver chocolate and filled with strawberry coulis that bleeds when cut

He most often recreates food—including “rotten” fruit.

Food Art by Ben Churchill

Orange parfait, bubblegum, and meringue powder

Food Illusions by Ben Churchill

Chocolate and beetroot cake, chocolate soil, and chocolate plant pot

Food Illusions by Ben Churchill

Chocolate and beetroot brownie filled with chocolate mousse, chocolate soil, and mint leaves

Food Art by Ben Churchill

Carrot cake moulded into a carrot shape with mirrored glaze. Served with edible rocks, chocolate soil, a chocolate plant pot

Food Art by Ben Churchill

Chocolate mousse, freshly squeezed orange juice, and chocolate pot

Food Illusions by Ben Churchill

Pear parfait, charred overnight oats, almonds, and honey

Food Art by Ben Churchill

Granny smith pannacotta, custard, granola, and lemon balm

Food Illusions by Ben Churchill

Satsuma segment jelly

Food Art by Ben Churchill

Lemon sponge, chantilly, and lemon gel “yolk”

Food Art by Ben Churchill

Coconut meringue mushrooms

Churchill breaks his illusions—and shares behind the scenes—in short videos on his Instagram:

Ben Churchill: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Ben Churchill. 

Related Articles:

Best of 2017: Top 21 Food Art Masterpieces of the Year

Japanese Artist Grates Daikon Radishes into Adorable Food Sculptures

Mom Uses Optical Illusion to “Dress” Her Daughter in Fabulous Food Fashion

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

Want to become a My Modern Met Member?

Find out how by becoming a Patron. Check out the exclusive rewards, here.

Sponsored Content