Food Stylist... You never know what you’re going to be asked to do next.
Again, I was honored to be hired as the food stylist in the San Francisco bay area, to work on such a high-profile shoot this past week. It was a real privilege to get the opportunity to work with the top notch team from Williamson Adams in Concord, California for their client Nest. Many times, final results look simple, but to get the results of perfection on a food shoot takes hours of communication, lots of drawings and tons of prep work.
The cast on the set was 15 chefs who were all supposed to be doing specific jobs in the kitchen. That means for me, understanding is imperative. I had to make sure each chef had exactly what they needed when the camera flowed by them, and it had to look natural. Each scene was different meaning timing the food could not be a guess, it had to be precise. Food does not last long under camera lights in a kitchen with no air conditioning, so having back up for several takes is another hurdle.
Working as a food stylist for food photography is a little different than working for video because the still camera is only pointing one direction. With a video, the food could be shot from many sides meaning the food has to look great from all angles.
There are some other challenges working as a food stylist. Knowing what you need and finding what you need is always tough. For this shoot, specific leaves and edible flowers were going to to put on one of the plates for a close up shot. Luckily, I have plenty of contacts up my sleeve and pulled out The Chef’s Garden information. It’s a farm in Ohio that’s been supplying chefs all over the country with some of the most unique produce for decades. I remember buying produce from the owner Farmer Lee Jones, in the 80’s, at Ziggy’s Continental in Columbus, Ohio.
Another challenge was finding the right size and look of sushi. It needed it to be a specific size, and the shrimp tails had to be fanned a certain way. I ended up making my own. What do you think?
Imagine the asparagus dish in the photo below with the Google Home Mini for your next party. Okay, maybe you wouldn’t serve it with the Google home Mini, although it would make a great gift for your guests. Maybe you would replace the Google Home Mini with a little salad. In my mind, this plate makes complete sense. A brush of aged balsamic on the plate with a stalk of blanched asparagus filled with a white bean puree and lots of little fun tastes. Oh yea!
Hopefully I will get a chance to share the finished video when it is complete.
Chef Nicky- food stylist based in San Francisco bay area and Columbus Ohio. Check out my food-styling portfolio.