What I learnt about food styling on my most challenging styling job EVER.
Disclaimer – This pretty picture has nothing to do with the post. The reason will become evident.***
I am not an adventurous eater. Gasp, shock horror,” but bbbbut, but you’re a professional foodie type person, a caterer, a qualified chef, a full time food stylist,” I hear you stammer. Yes. I am all those things And an unadventurous eater. See previous post
I only eat meat that is “well done,” ( another gasp – philistine) and does not remind me of animal parts. Nothing with a bone in! No chops, T- bone or ribs. *shivers* I do not eat any offal, whatseever, creepy crawlies ( again discussed here) or small fluffy creatures. Period.
For many many many years I did not eat chicken ( they are dirty beasts that scratch around in the dirt all day and will scratch each others eyes out! Vicious) raw or cooked, drumsticks, wings, etc, all just give me the creeps.
Imagine my horror then when I was asked to style a photoshoot consisting of various chicken parts. A large retailer was opening a hot food counter in a area north of Pretoria. The food specialities of the area are particular to most parts of South Africa, but to a “safe in her white suburb girl” they were as foreign to me as buying meat from a butcher ( Meat comes vacuum sealed from Woolies?) .
Chicken beaks (!!!) Chicken feet ( the combined delicacy given the colloquial term “walkie-talkies” ) Chicken necks. Chicken innards. Every part of the poor skinned chook ( I didn’t dare ask about the feathers)
What did I do?
Well I never said a word. Until today. 6 years later. I gritted my teeth, mustered up a big girl smile, put on my professional face, and tuned my brain to ” grow up you can do this”, and did what I do best.
I made the food look yummy. We took pretty pictures. The client was happy. Very happy. I went home exhausted. And only ate veggie burgers for the next little while.
Now this kind of post could get me discredited among my foodie peers. ( “can you believe she doesn’t eat venison. Tut tut.”)
I worked in a game lodge in Namibia for 3 years and on a hunting farm on the Isle of Wight for a good couple of years too. I can skin, clean, cook, plate and present very appetizing venison dishes. I do not have to eat them.
So back to my point, why tell you all this ?
Since starting this blog, I have had numerous enquiries from keen and eager folks wanting to know how they can become food stylists.
My answer is simple, but applies to most things in life, and I am proof of it. The three P’s. Passion , Perseverance and a Professional approach.
A friend remarked the other day that I have a never say die attitude. I never realised it about myself, but I am glad I have it; recognised or not.
Keep going. Love what you do. Even the tough stuff, it will be worth it. I am proof of that too!
Lots of love x
***Special thanks to Vanessa Lewis for the pretty picture. Vanessa was not the photographer on the above discussed shoot. ( Lucky Vanessa)