The word Currently Not Available* styling draws a picture in our head where we put a model, some glitter, maximum amount of makeup, lights and a loud ambience. What we miss out sometimes are the people with brushes in hand, creating masterpiece stroke by stroke. Just like some legendary artist, they highlight the extra-ordinary beauty treating the ordinary person as their canvas. When the clapping continues under the spot-light, the glow on the stylists’ face lights up the back stage.
Just like that, food styling is also an art that highlights the foods. Here you need to put the same effort with that much dedication but only the canvas changes. It would not be an over statement if we say that a food stylish need to spend the exact same time as a makeup artist spends in the greenroom. There are special tricks to make a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream look like a preparation made in the kitchen of paradise. Unless the food looks delicious and tempting there is very less chance that anyone would try it.
What is food styling?
To become a food stylish we first need to define what food styling really is. There is very vague knowledge on this new topic. Famous hotels, media and magazines that deals with tempting recipes need some experts to make their food look attractive irrespective of the taste of the food. These experts put additional ingredients in the dish and garnishes them in most attractive way possible. The sight of these item will make you feel hungry and you will immediately want to try that dish.
In case of magazines, they garnishes the dish and publish the recipe along with some photo that are trickily taken and edited and provoke you to make something as beautiful as that. The whole process is known as food styling and the experts who are involved in it are called food stylists. Nowadays this has become a profession and there are ways in which you can take this passion as your job.
Behind the scene
If you are sitting in lavish restaurant that offers extra-ordinary dishes with exquisite garnishing then there must be a lot effort in the back stage with some fresh ingredients, knives and spoons but if you are going through some international magazines that shows some heavenly photo of some ice cream or syrup, chances are you are looking at just an reflection not the original recipe.
There are many cases where just to make the photo attractive, they completely forget about the recipe and make the items with something you will have no idea about. To make it clearer we can take example of a syrup that will be showed as a maple extract but will originally be motor oil. There are more miracles like this. The ice cream that you just selected to prepare for your special evening can be made of smashed potatoes. It is the food stylish that adds his magic in Cloudy’s meatball.
First steps towards food styling
Whenever you need to define food styling in one word, it would be wise to call it simply an ART. This is no over statement. This is the great form of art where your imagination meets your digestive system. As a food stylist you won’t be dealing with customer’s hunger only, your creation can light up the whole day for a person or can make him hate a dish for life time. When you are dealing with a person’s mood and satisfaction you have to start thinking out of the box. Arts are always known as the sweetest form of surprise so the first step has to firm or you will supervise some disaster.
Here we will discuss the basic steps to become a food stylist for the beginners.
Rich imagination capability
The first and foremost towards being a food stylist is to be able to think out of the box. A chef will try his best to make a dish as tastier as possible but it is your job to make it look stunning. You need to have a strong imagination power to see things differently more specifically, see the foods in a non-food way. Make interesting decorations or imply funny messages through your garnishing.
As an example, if you are given sliced eggs, make an insect and create and natural effects with some the salads. Not only children, grownups are also attracted towards these kind of things. Add appropriate ingredients to your dish and give it an unusual look with some kind of flashy message.
Proper culinary knowledge
It is preferable to have a strong culinary background if you are planning for food styling. The mere knowledge will do no good if you are not able to mix things up in unusual ways (usage of rice bran oil in place of other oil or putting salads with different vegetables). You need to have a clear view on what you are going to put in a particular dish that the taste remains unaffected. Choosing proper item for garnishing and sometimes replacing them in the recipe will take special talent and experiments with great patience.
For instance, if you want your dish to look like something special and that structure demands the item in thicker form then substitute the milk part with cream. It will keep the taste unchanged and we will see the difference in garnishing.
Like all the other jobs, you have to cope up with different minds and ideas. The project can be divided in many parts and various people will be doing their jobs according to their taste. You must learn to adopt any unfavorable situation and keep your calm. You must make the output optimum with your managing skills. On the other hand, you need to understand their mindset a little to make it easier to work together.
Adjusting with odd work schedule
Food styling is such an industry that will never give you any assurance to your schedule. There would be days with no work and then you may be working throughout the night. So if you are thinking about taking food styling seriously, you must get used to the odd working time. It completely depends on the circumstance and many uncertain factors will decide your schedule. The only solution here is to be flexible with this concept.
Now apart from all these personal qualities, you need to satisfy some academic criteria before you join your dream job.
Graduation from authorized culinary school
This is very important for the beginner to complete their culinary course and get a graduation degree in it as most of the popular hotels or other part of this industry hire extremely efficient personnel. The course will introduce you with new ideas of cooking and baking with the help of masterminds of that fields. A conventional degree will keep you one step ahead and nowadays it is mandatory to complete the course to be a part of this industry.
Special degree or culinary art diploma
It would be better to have a culinary art diploma from some reputed school or university if you are planning to become a food stylist. You will be privileged while competing with others and this will enhance your knowledge (facts on corn oil and other new techniques) as well.
After completing these degrees it would be wise to work some days under some experienced authority to know the traits properly. Later you can decide to work on your own but first you need to learn the tricks of this industry. You ca also try for the food magazines or advertisement agencies that plays a great role in making over the foods.