The only piece of equipment that is essential for taking high quality food photographs, other than a camera of course, is a tripod. It may not be required for every single shot but not having one would rule out a lot of potentially good shots. The choices would be between a small tabletop model, probably best with the smaller point and shoot camera. This would enable the tripod to be set on the same surface as the item being photographed, very useful when the camera has to be close to the food. There is a small tripod available that has flexible legs enabling it to be wrapped around objects such as tree branches and signpost poles. This type of support would come into its own for say, picnics or barbecues. The bigger dSLR cameras tend to be too heavy for the smaller tripods and generally require a normal sized model. The advice usually given to photographers is to buy the most expensive tripod that they can afford. I would say buy the tripod that will do the job without breaking the bank. Smithphoto.com will provide you with all-in-one food and beverage photography services to make all your related dreams come true.
Whatever tripod is used always either release the camera’s shutter remotely or use the timed delay function built into just about every camera now on the market. Pressing the shutter causes the camera to vibrate so doing this off camera or giving the camera time to settle down before the shutter release makes for a much sharper photograph. This leads us to the main reason for using a tripod: the photograph can be taken in natural light, i.e. flash isn’t essential. As a rule of thumb good natural light is always preferable to artificial if the choice is between one or the other but often the best photographs use a combination of the two.