What does a food stylist do?

20140303_105527The main objective is to make the food look as enticing as possible and stay fresh looking under the lights for a length of time. The preparation and plate building is done to be seen from the camera’s eye.

Typically there should be training in the culinary arts and have training in food styling by professional accredited teachers. Also an internship of assisting for a good period of time is highly recommended. It enables you to see firsthand the challenges that arise and that you have to be prepared for. Many people are counting on you to have the answers and to have the answers to any problem that comes up.

Food Stylists create mouthwatering dishes that are used for a variety of advertising purposes like: TV commercials, editorial, video, media tours, cook books, package launches, restaurant menus and more.

It is also very helpful and encouraged to have a creative background as it helps in the creation of their plated dish as well as your communication with the client. Whenyou are trained Professionallyit helps you understand and execute the client’s visions like a styling expert.

Some Duties and Responsibilities That May be Included:

  • Attend a production meeting to discuss the expectations and needs of the client.
  • Shopat several stores to find the right quality of ingredients to use and have plenty on hand.
  • Find props including fabrics, flowers, silver and plates that will look good with the product if needed.
  • Making notes of the placement on the set and of what order the client wants things on the set.
  • Keep and maintain a kit of all various tools, solutions and equipment to be able to quickly and easily style and fixyour preparation.
  • Making solutions to put onto the food to help in what you are trying to achieve. For example something to help the food not turn brown, to help thicken it, to help glisten it, to help it not stick together, to help it last longer etc. Some photo shoots involve models who must eat the food so you must learn to make solutions that a model can eat but also do the job they are designed to do.
  • Making several of the same thing so that you have several stand in’s and a “Hero” which is the perfect one!
  • Having an assistant available if your job is of large capacity.
  • Before you are on the road to the shoot check over everything 3 times to make sure you do not forget anything. You could be forgetting a sponsor paid product that could cost your producer over $5K.
  • Packing up in a large vehicle all of your food, props, and kits. All food items must be stored in a way that they can be transported without damaging the look of the ingredients. So, refrigerated if needed. Everything must be loaded in a very organized way because if you are shooting live T.V. you have to be able to quickly get all things on set without forgetting anything in a very short amount of time. There is not a lot of time for error.
  • Unload all of your food, props, kits and ingredients into shooting area ahead of your call time.
  • Staying on top of the latest in food and styling trends. Keeping updated with current training.
  • Being available for possible overtime with the proper amount of energy.
  • Having good communication skills so that you understand and can translate the art director and photographers needs and turn them into reality.
  • Be able to produce the final plate in a fast and reasonable amount of time. Clients are always in a hurry!
  • Have a steady hand so that you can go in and out of the set to make changes without destroying your work of art. Use the proper kit tools to be able to achieve the desired look without having it fall and causing you to start all over.
  • Being able to anticipate problems and being ready to fix them as quickly and easily as possible. Have a plan A, B and C!!!
  • Maintain a “can do” positive attitude throughout the shoot.
  • Make use of creativity, eye for detail and experience to think outside of the box at times. You are a Food Styling engineer and that simply means you use whatever you need that works and makes the shot look appetizing and appealing.
  • Bring cleaning supplies to leave your area and set as clean as before you came.

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