Deceptive taste, but simple light.
My goal in lighting this shot is to retain all the texture and detail of the mascarpone and fig mixture, and also hilight the delicate colours and shapes of the Belgian Endive. I decided that a very large softbox positioned low and from the side would give the soft shadows and retain delicate hilights.
As a background to the woven platter I selected decorative dark red twigs (you can buy these in bundles from interior design shops), as they gave create a linear pattern that contrasts nicely with the random arrangement of the endives.
Here are the ingredients being prepared, and arranged on set.
And the final set-up showing the camera position, the large softbox, and a soft gold reflector (behind the stepladder) to bounce a bit of warm light into the shadows.
Here’s the unedited capture of the final shot, and the finished photo, after cropping and darkening the background to to enhance the contrast and make the subject pop.