A New York-based Kiwi photographer has achieved the impossible - and made freeze-dried army food pass for finest restaurant cuisine.

Christchurch born artist Henry Hargreaves has finished a new series plating up the usually inedible looking fodder as if it was to be served at a Michelin star restaurant.

The military combat rations provided to soldiers in the field of duty are known as MRE - or Meals Ready to Eat. Due to their unappetising taste the are more commonly referred to as Meals Rejected by Everyone.

Russia: Pork brain with potato stew, beef with red sauce. Photo / Henry Hargreaves
Russia: Pork brain with potato stew, beef with red sauce. Photo / Henry Hargreaves

"In essence we took the worst food, provided to the bravest people and visually elevated it as if it were being served in one of the world's most revered restaurants," Hargreaves said.

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The work, with fellow artists Chuck George and Jimmy Pham, aimed to provide a glimpse into what the armed forces had to eat.

"They are out there fighting battles and eating this mush. They are defending freedom so the wealthy can go out and over pay to eat this type of food," Hargreaves said.

USA: Diced pear, energy bar with dry roasted nuts, peanut butter and chili lime hot sauce. Photo / Henry Hargreaves
USA: Diced pear, energy bar with dry roasted nuts, peanut butter and chili lime hot sauce. Photo / Henry Hargreaves

He believed there were some powerful metaphors in food and said comparing the differences between different countries MREs was interesting.

"You feed them as well as you respect them," he said.

"We were not trying to be overly political but it was a fun way of looking at it."

The Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) distributed to the soldiers fighting for America. Photo / Henry Hargreaves
The Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) distributed to the soldiers fighting for America. Photo / Henry Hargreaves

Hargreaves said it was also a way of "poking fun at food porn" by taking the lowest
denominator of food and over-producing it into fancy and fussy meals.

Some of the food was particularly bad and Hargreaves said the trio were not brave enough to try it all.

"We don't like to waste food so we did try to eat it," he said.

"The Chinese food was pretty inedible to our palate but the French and Russian MREs was on par with food you might get on an airline. It was recognisable as food.

New Zealand photographer Henry Hargreaves. Photo / supplied
New Zealand photographer Henry Hargreaves. Photo / supplied

Hargreaves is well-known for his food based art photography.

In 2011 he made headlines with a series called "No Seconds" which saw him recreate the last meals of men on death row.

Hargreaves was particularly proud of that work which he did after the American state of Texas refused to take special "last meal requests."

"You empathise with the troops of foreign armies through their food and I was trying to trying to understand prisoners as human beings through their food."

His work included the last meal of Utah man Ronnie Lee Gardner who was sentenced to death by firing squad for burglary, robbery and two counts of murder.

The re-created last meal of double murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner who ate his meal while watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Photo / Henry Hargreaves
The re-created last meal of double murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner who ate his meal while watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Photo / Henry Hargreaves

He requested lobster tail, steak and apple pie and ice cream - to be consumed watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

The last meal requested by Oklahoma Bomber Timothy McVeigh. Photo / Henry Hargreaves
The last meal requested by Oklahoma Bomber Timothy McVeigh. Photo / Henry Hargreaves

The re-created meal of Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people, was much simpler - two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.