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Career as Food Stylist

Last Updated On 05 Jun, 2020

How to Become a Food Stylist

Intro Food Stylist

A Food Stylist is a person who makes the food look presentable and appealing to the eye. Food stylists usually work for the food and beverage retail industry, targetting the visual presentation of food products and items in advertisements. They work with photographers to create appealing images and videos of food products.

Food styling was once seen as a small part of the hospitality industry or a means to satisfy a personal hobby. However, it has grown into a major requirement and offers attractive earning opportunities while providing professionals with the scope for creative freedom and growth.

The career of a food stylist is a growing career pathway in India. A food stylist does not necessarily need to have excellent food preparation skills as the idea behind the role is to make the food item look good not taste good. Food stylists and food photographers often employ creative hacks to include non-edible items in order to increase the visual appeal of the products.

About Food Stylist

There is no set minimum requirements for becoming a food stylist. Professionals in this field often combine their talent at photography and food preparation to become successful in the field. However, in order to professionally take up the career of a food stylist, there are a number of courses one can look into.

A basic course in Hotel Management is usually sufficient to become a food stylist. This may include Certificate, Diploma or Bachelor’s degree courses. Some of the courses for becoming a food stylist include:

Undergraduate Courses for Food Stylists

  • Certificate in Hotel Management

  • Certificate in Culinary Arts

  • Diploma in Hotel Management

  • Bachelor of Hotel Management and Catering Technology and Culinary Arts

Additionally, candidates can look for courses in Food & Beverage Service, Food Production, Bakery & Confectionery etc.

Post Graduate Courses for Food Stylists

  • Master of Hotel Management & Catering Technology

Additionally, the following skills are desirable in order to become a Food Stylist.

  • Understanding of different elements of food products as well as knowledge of cooking and food production.

  • A keen eye for detail and good creative sense

  • Good photography skills

  • Knowledge of advertising

Types of Job Roles Food Stylist

The job of a Food Stylist is to make a dish or food product look appealing to the consumer. A food stylist has to work according to the client’s needs and may also need to make changes to a dish’s look and presentation as per the demands of the client.

Food stylists may also define certain niches as their field of expertise. These niches may be defined by types of cuisine, target demographics, the medium of advertising, types of food product etc. For eg. a certain food stylist may be expert in fast food while others may be more adept in styling bakery products.

Employment Sector/Industry for Food Stylist

Food stylists have employment opportunities in industries that either produce, serve or market food products. They may either be hired directly by the concerned industry or establishment and may also take up roles in advertising agencies that cater to the needs of F&B marketing. Given below are some areas that commonly hire food stylists.

  • Hotels

  • Restaurants

  • Advertising Agencies

  • Online Food Production Channels

  • Fast Food Chains

  • Food Magazines

  • Newspapers etc.

Planning to choose Food Stylist as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Food Stylist

Candidates can check information regarding the salary of food stylists in India given below.

  • The starting salary of a food stylist in India is around Rs. 15,000 per month.

  • Professionals having gained relevant experience in this field can earn a salary ranging from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000 per month.

  • The salary for acclaimed professionals in this field can be much higher, especially if one looks for career opportunities abroad.

Books & Study Material to Become Food Stylist

These reference books are considered a must-read for every food stylist.

Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the CameraDelores CusterJohn Wiley & Sons
The Food Stylist's Handbook Denise Vivaldo, Cindie FlanniganGibbs-Smith
The New Art of Cooking: A Modern Guide to Preparing and Styling Delicious FoodFrankie UnsworthBloomsbury Publishing
Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great ShotsNicole S. YoungPeachpit Press
Food Styling for Photographers: A Guide to Creating Your Own Appetizing ArtLinda Bellingham, Jean Ann BybeeRoutledge

Pros of becoming a Food Stylist

  • It is a field where creative freedom and experimentation are encouraged.
  • There are good opportunities for freelancing and personal projects for food stylists.

  • Social Media and Blogging have done wonders to the scope and reach of food stylists.

Cons of becoming a Food Stylist

  • It is a deadline-based work and professionals often face pressure situations.

  • Retakes and changes are very frequent. Sometimes a lot of back-and-forth with the client is required before a project is finished.

  • The field requires hard work and networking if one wants to grow and increase earnings.

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