Author, chef and food stylist, Anna Schumacher, tells of her passion for food and explains the ins and outs of food styling.
While most folks interested in the culinary arts choose to work in the kitchen as chefs, I have chosen to build my career on my passions… One of those is being a food stylist.
Food stylists combine culinary art and science to prepare food for cookbook and advertising photographs, television commercials and scenes in movies. Stylists are responsible for finding unusual ingredients and preparing food so it looks freshly made and appetising. A culinary school degree is a must for a food stylist as the job requires extensive knowledge of how food acts, both aesthetically and scientifically.
It’s obvious to know that looks are more important than taste during a photo shoot and culinary tricks make my food the star of the show. For instance, I might substitute heavy cream for milk when photographing cereal (heavy cream looks much more appetising). By adding aspirin powder to champagne I can create extra fizz for the camera! Talcum powder sprinkled over charcoal simulates ash… It’s knowing all of these tricks that are key to the job.
There are other tricks too – applying lipstick on strawberries to deepen their redness or using shortening mixed with sugar to simulate ice cream. With digital photography, my job has gotten much easier. No longer do I need to worry about such details as the food sitting under the hot lights for hours and hours while film develops – photos are now taken and assessed much more quickly.
Being a food stylist is a fascinating and challenging job. Each Food Stylist has their favourite style. I believe my style of plating is the “symmetrical” one. I’m a fan of clean plates, sharp cuts , deep colours , visible texture freshest and unusual ingredients. Finding new products is a challenge I love to go through. I’m passionate about a heathy lifestyle, which I’m always promoting on the plate.
Being a food stylist requires always being at the top of the game. Food is like a fashion, trends come and go and it is highlighted in the same way. Food doesn’t always behave so it requires an individual that is detail-oriented, organized and focused.
My profession is a new trend in the hospitality industry, which I believe plays a crucial part in the hotel and restaurant business as many highly qualified chefs with passion and extreme talent, find the plating challenging, while they have no problem with delivering their food with an accurate texture and sensational flavours.
Every day there is a new challenge and I love every minute of it!
Job Training & Education
A good food stylist starts out with a solid culinary education and spends several years working as a traditional chef before working in the field. The best way to break in to the market is to work as an assistant to a wellestablished stylist and then branch out into having your own clients. Food stylists can earn anywhere from €450 to €850 a day once they are established.
Being a food stylist is an excellent way to combine artistic vision with culinary skills. If this sounds like you, enroll in a culinary school and get your career underway today!