'My fake food was good enough for Barbie'

Kerry Samantha Boyes at her Kirkcudbright workshop
Kerry Samantha Boyes at her workshop in Kirkcudbright [BBC]

An artist who creates fake food has been left "stunned" by the response since her work featured in the hit Barbie film last year.

Kerry Samantha Boyes saw her "raspberry ripple ice creams" take a staring role in the opening beach scenes of the Hollywood hit.

She makes high-quality and realistic sculptures of food for a range of uses from historic houses and museums to films and TV shows.

Since launching her Fake Food Workshop business six years ago as a kitchen table start-up, it has grown rapidly.

The mother-of-three now has her own fake food store and studio set-up in south-west Scotland with an ever-growing list of illustrious clients all around the world.

The opening beach scene in the Barbie film
Kerry's fake food took a starring role in last year's Hollywood hit film Barbie [Warner Bros/Alamy]

Ms Boyes describes her work as "a blend of art, culinary innovation, and sculptural finesse" with the aim of "making a mouthwatering impression".

The unique creations stem from a lifelong passion for creative arts and craft since being inspired by her father.

She said: "I've always been experimenting with different materials and how to create different works of art, as that's what it ultimately is.

"My inspiration comes from my dad. Growing up in the North Pennines I would spend a lot of time with him while he was working. He was a joiner, but was quite creative.

"I have always experimented with my work. The end result you see is after a number of trials."

Ms Boyes has a background as a stonemason and a taxidermist, with replication being her forte.

She bought a copy of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management and was fascinated by the lithographs, which led to her recreate those foods in a different way.

Based in Kirkcudbrightshire, the business begun as a hobby with the creations being sold at makers markets or online through Etsy.

The recipe and process for the artist’s fake food is a closely guarded secret but she did reveal painted resins are one of the many ingredients used.

Kerry Samantha Boyes
Kerry Samantha Boyes has made fake food for Hollywood blockbusters including the Barbie film [Colin Hattersley]

She said: "When I began I only had the time to make fake food one day a week, as I had four jobs at the time.

"But Covid changed that, I had a lot more time on my hands and I needed to make some money. It's just developed from there."

From working on the kitchen table, or in a spare room, she has recently set up in an idyllic spot overlooking the River Dee, near the Solway coast.

Ms Boyes has "tried to create a vintage store, with a whimsical mix of Willy Wonka's magic and Mrs Beeton's vintage charm".

Behind the shop is a work station that on any different day has a range of fake food being prepared.

These can range from centre pieces for a museum involving a life-sized roast goose, salmon-en-croute and pork pies, to dozens of party-style strawberry and chocolate deserts to be sent half-way around the world to New Zealand.

Between a growing client base across more than 25 countries, relocating to the new workspace, and creating fake food specifically for her shop front, it is the company's busiest period yet.

She said: "Previously we would never have any space to keep any stock of our fake food, it would be a case of making the products, taking a photo of it on the work desk, then clearing it for the next order.

"Now we've got space to showcase our work in the shop front, and that's made us a lot busier, especially building up to the Spring Fling event at the end of May".

Kerry Samantha Boyes at her Kirkcudbright studio
Kerry Samantha Boyes works in a studio in Kirkcudbright [BBC]

Sitting among the delicious looking food sculptures on site is a banana, which she made out of wood as a teenager, highlighting the life-long interest.

Alongside featuring in the Barbie blockbuster last year, her creations have featured at the Hobbiton Movie Set in New Zealand - where The Lord of the Rings was filmed - and New York's Guggenheim Museum.

Closer to home, they have been displayed in Selfridges, at several West End theatres, and a number of National Trust properties.

Ms Boyes is "not always aware of what's planned for the fake food, or where it's going", but was "stunned" by the reaction after it appeared in Barbie.

The Fake Food Shop, Kirkcudbright
The Fake Food Shop is set to feature in the Spring Fling art event [BBC]

The Fake Food Workshop will be one of 104 studios open to the public for the Spring Fling art event, which takes place across Dumfries and Galloway at the end of May.

On the publicity from the Barbie film, she said: "It has led to people asking how they can learn to create fake food, and if they can come and see our work.

"That's surprised me, and we don't usually have the public coming in, so we'll see how the Spring Fling goes first."

Ms Boyes' daughter, Primrose, helps out and has more of an interest in what the creations are used for.

The 18-year-old said: "I love how it's something unusual, not many other people make fake food, and I like finding out where it goes and if it appears in film or on TV, it makes us all really proud."

Fake Food Workshop, Kirkcudbright
Quintessential British foods are a theme of Kerry Samantha Boyes' work [BBC]