Edible record albums. Exploding seafood. A lavish Malibu wedding reception.
When the likes of Steven Spielberg, Ron Shelton, and Billy Crystal need a food presentation to enhance or even steal a scene, they know where to turn: Gourmet Proppers.
The premier catering specialist in the entertainment industry for more than two decades, Gourmet Proppers will prepare and deliver edible, camera-ready food for film, television, or commercial projects on time and within budget.
Founded by Bonnie Belknap in 1984, Gourmet Proppers employs an extensive on–call network of chefs, stylists, and artisans who collaborate with prop masters, set decorators, art directors, producers, directors, writers and actors to guarantee their vision becomes reality.
Gourmet Proppers oversees every detail. They read scripts to gain a complete understanding of your goals. Ethnic food? They know all the best niche markets in town. Period food? They consult with historians to ensure culinary and geographic accuracy. Futuristic food? They envision the cuisine of tomorrow. Actors? Gourmet Proppers tailors menus to meet their dietary likes and needs—as well as that of their characters. They even satisfy the “pet-icurean” desires of finicky animal actors like Beethoven!
Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Harrison Ford, Robin Williams, Jennifer Anniston, Kevin Costner, Elizabeth Taylor, Steve Martin, Lucille Ball (even George Burns!), and countless others have enjoyed Gourmet Proppers’ food. Why? Because not only does it “look the part,” it contains no chemicals or unnatural dyes and tastes great! One bite often leads to requests for catered events and private dinner parties.
Gourmet Proppers is a true Hollywood success story. Recognizing the untapped potential of “prop food” as a business venture, Belknap parlayed a one-episode gig on The Love Boat into a full-time career and launched Gourmet Proppers, the first company in the industry to specialize in edible, camera-ready food. While preparing the international, epicurean spreads of cruise-ship dining, her culinary craftsmanship, thorough understanding of what photographs well and holds up under the lights, and readiness for multiple takes, amazed both cast and crew alike.
Soon after Gourmet Proppers set sail, Belknap made the leap into feature films. In Earth Girls Are Easy, curious aliens Jim Carrey, Jeff Goldblum, and Damon Wayans encountered some strange-looking discs (what we call record albums) and proceeded to eat them. When Steven Spielberg wanted “a completely edible fantasy forest for Hook, something no one has ever seen before,” Gourmet Proppers created it, right down to the scrumptious tree branches. In Dragnet ‘87, Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks watched a 36-foot-long seafood display explode in a hail of machine-gun fire, triggered by tiny explosive charges embedded in the shrimp and oysters. In Freaky Friday, when Jamie Lee Curtis (or was it Lindsay Lohan?) got married on a Malibu bluff, Gourmet Proppers prepared the luxurious buffet, ice carvings, and multi-tiered wedding cake.
Did you know even Royalty relies on Gourmet Proppers? In The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Queen Renaldi (Julie Andrews) savored one of Belknap’s delectable chocolate soufflés and Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) celebrated her 21st birthday at a formal gala featuring a truly majestic birthday cake created and designed by Belknap. At a far less regal party, a Hollywood agent in The Big Picture (starring Kevin Bacon) served Gourmet Proppers’ X-rated hors d’oeuvres that, although “tasteless”, were quite delicious. And in Mr. Saturday Night, Gourmet Proppers’ kosher food had to pass muster with Billy Crystal. Crystal was so impressed, he gave Belknap screen credit—a rarity for a food stylist.
Among numerous TV achievements, Gourmet Proppers created edible cigarettes out of soy paper so a character on CSI: NY could get them shoved down his throat, take after take after take. On an episode of Las Vegas, characters competed to appear on Fear Factor, thereby challenging Gourmet Proppers to recreate unthinkable pig and squid parts. And it was Gourmet Proppers, not Monica Geller, who prepared those Thanksgiving dinners on Friends.
Honored repeatedly by the Daytime Emmy Awards, Belknap has been chronicled in People magazine, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, TV Guide, and Soap Opera Digest, among other publications, as well as on CNN.
Today, Gourmet Proppers is the industry leader with more than 1,000 feature film, television, and commercial credits. As a final touch, Belknap distributes the leftovers to local charities and soup kitchens.
In studio or on location, Hollywood’s vision and Belknap’s creations come together with Gourmet Proppers.