Education And Training
Backgrounds in cooking (see chapter 4) and baking (see chapter 6) are very important for anyone who would like to try styling food. This experience can come from different sources. Some food stylists have spent time as chefs or cooks in restaurants; some have worked in the past as personal chefs or attended culinary schools. Most culinary or cooking schools offer only coursework in food styling rather than full degrees. This is a great advantage for anyone interested in this field who may not be going to college.
As with the majority of the job opportunities in this book, despite your food background, another key step on the food stylist staircase is apprenticing. Many hopeful stylists seek employment under the instruction of an experienced food stylist. Cooking is important to styling, but the most important aspect of this profession is not taste but presentation. A good way to become proficient in food styling may be to watch someone perform in his or her actual work environment. Working for a seasoned stylist will give you practical experience and will help you develop a portfolio, which you'll need to shop your work around when you strike out on your own. Learning all of the ins and outs of the profession can be time consuming, so be patient.
Check out some of the listings at the end of this chapter. They provide some good points of contact to help you get started.
A Stylist's Toolbox
A food stylist needs to be ready for any situation that may arise during a photo shoot. Many stylists carry an ordinary fishing tackle box filled with items that are slightly different from what your average fisherman might need. Here are some items a food stylist should always have at hand:
Tweezers, toothpicks, cotton swabs, razor blades, oil, paint brushes, electric mixer, small blowtorch, spray bottle, hotplate, ice chest or cooler, cutting board, knives, sponges, ice-cream scoop, measuring spoons and cups, glue, plastic ice cubes, paint stripper
Pepper, instant potatoes, butter, jam, olive oil, flour, rice, maple syrup, parsley, salt, cinnamon, oregano
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