Page 47

90

Food stylist Ever spent hours working on creating a next-level dish you’ve spotted in a magazine, only to have the end product look nowhere near as delectable as the photo? We’ve all been there, and we all have food stylists to thank (or curse) for our predicament. Hired by magazines, newspapers, cookbook publishers, restaurateurs and food marketing companies, food stylists do exactly what their job titles suggest – they style food for photoshoots. Just as fashion stylists put together killer outfits that make fashionistas scream: ‘Shut up and take my money’, food stylists create the ultimate plate of food that makes people want whatever is on the plate. Working with recipe developers, editorial staff, photographers and directors, food stylists can be found working on photoshoots and television commercial shoots. Whether they are working on the next must-have cookbook, a single magazine feature, or a marketing campaign for a grocery giant, food stylists are in demand across the publishing and marketing sectors. While this may seem like a dream job for food lovers, the life of a food stylist is far more complicated than it appears on the surface. For starters, food stylists don’t sit around eating all day. They don’t even eat the plate of food they’ve styled, mainly because any plate of food photographed for commercial or editorial purposes is rendered completely inedible by the styling process. In order to create ‘the perfect plate’ the food is manipulated, rearranged, poked, prodded and pushed to the point where anyone working on the photoshoot would have to be paid to eat the damn thing (even if they were starving). Angel hair pasta is sprayed with hairspray to give it a glossy sheen, cardboard is inserted between burger layers

to ensure structural integrity, and cocktails are filled not with ice cubes but plastic faux cubes that never melt. This may paint a rather unglamorous picture of the profession, yet there are many rewards that come with being a food stylist. Most food stylists are freelancers, meaning they have the freedom and flexibility to work on whatever projects come their way. Furthermore, this type of work involves collaboration with many other creative minds – food stylists rub shoulders with everyone from photographers to celebrity chefs, book publishers and editors. Some food stylists can express their creativity in the most wondrous of ways, with some recipe books featuring plates that look like a work of art. And finally, they get the pleasure of knowing their work is reaching thousands, if not millions of people. Millions? Well, next time you look up at a fast food menu and order the burger you know won’t look anything like it does on the menu, just remember that a food stylist was paid to use tweezers to place individual sesame seeds on that glistening burger bun. And that too could be you!

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: No formal education requirements are required. Experience required: Most food stylists have experience working in advertising, book or magazine publishing. Training: Many food stylists apprentice under a more senior food stylist. Some learn the tricks of the trade by assisting on photoshoots as editorial assistants or coordinators. Some food stylists are totally selftaught, forging their own way and learning through trial and error. Restrictions: None.

Profile for smithstreetbooks

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

Advertisement