USA MRE dessert This dessert MRE for U.S. military members looks more appealing than normal after artists get their hands on it. (Photo: Henry Hargreaves)

Officially, an MRE is a "meal ready to eat" for the military. These meals are so unappetizing, though, that they've earned the nickname "meals rejected by everyone." Chef Chuck George, videographer Jimmy Pham and photographer Henry Hargreaves teamed up to make these meals, common to militaries around the world, look less reject-able by plating them like food porn, or something you'd see in a Michelin starred restaurant.

"Chuck is the son of an American serviceman and he grew up around MREs," said Hargreaves when I spoke with him on the phone about the project.

Recognizing that the worst food is given to the bravest people, George, Pham and Hargreaves set out to elevate these MREs to "food porn-type status." Using MREs from different countries, they created plates that are visually worthy of being served at a high-end restaurant or bragged about on Instagram.

MRE from China

"Ultimately, this was a fun project. We're not trying to change the military food process," said Hargreaves. But, he added, people can learn from this art by considering what servicemen actually eat. "The way you feed someone says a lot about how you respect them." This project made him sympathize with soldiers from other armies, like those in China.

China MRE bag A Chinese MRE bag, unopened. (Photo: Henry Hargreaves)

China MRE bag contents The individual packets of food from a Chinese MRE bag. Whatever preserved foods are in those bags make up an entire meal for a military member. (Photo: Henry Hargreaves)

China MRE mai meal The main dish components of the Chinese MRE bag, plated to look more appetizing than it is. (Photo: Henry Hargreaves)

Chinese MRE dessert The dessert portion of a Chinese MRE bag, made to look as if no one would reject it. (Photo: Henry Hargreaves)

MRE from France

The project also shows how a country's food culture is reflected in their MREs. China had an MRE with noodles. France has an MRE that includes paté, cheese and biscuits.

MRE France The French MRE, presented on a cutting board, looks like an appetizer from a trendy restaurant. (Photo: Henry Hargreaves)

MRE from Lithuania

This is the majority of a meal for a Lithuanian soldier. It looks appetizing, but it looks like only an appetizer. Is this really enough to satisfy a soldier?

Lithuania MRE The food from a Lithuanian MRE doesn't amount to much, no matter how appealing it's made to look. (Photo: Henry Hargreaves)

MRE from United States

If, as Hargreaves commented, how you feed someone shows how you respect them, the United States needs to do better — at least as evidenced by these photos.

United States MRE Where's the meat in this USA MRE meal? (Photo: Henry Hargreaves)

Unless that oh-so-whimsically named First Strike Nutritious Energy Bar is packed with protein, there doesn't seem to be a lot in this main course MRE from the United States. Here's what George, Pham and Hargreaves created from what they had to work with.

USA MRE Even plated like this, Vegetarian Taco Pasta doesn't look very appealing. (Photo: Henry Hargreaves)

In this video, take a look at the trio at work creating these photos of MREs that look like they could be served at a Michelin-starred restaurant:

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Military meals get the Michelin treatment
A collaboration takes the MREs countries around the world give to the bravest people and makes them look like food porn.