By Mike Pomranz
Updated October 28, 2015
Credit: Benjamin Henon / stylist : Valentine Mazel

Chefs love to speak about the importance of presentation—which is part of what makes this photo series featuring tasty-looking dishes made out of inedible objects so fun. It really hammers home the importance of appearance in a dish, even when the “food” isn’t food at all.

Artists Benjamin Henon and Valentine Mazel use everyday objects that have been meticulously plated to look good enough to eat, though you certainly wouldn’t want to try: a sponge becomes an elegant-looking dessert, a shoelace looks like a perfectly al dente plate of pasta, sand is shaped into a Bundt cake. At a glance, the resulting photos look culinary, but they're downright bizarre on further inspection.

The project is probably more about creating fun illusions than making some larger point about the aesthetics of what we eat. Though there is something intriguing about seeing a hot dog made out of a balloon during the same week that the WHO warned that eating such processed meats can cause cancer.

But that’s the great thing about art: It can work on multiple levels. Now who’s hungry for some shoelaces?

Take a look: