Have you ever wondered what role a food stylist plays behind the scene of those wonderful food shots? I have been very interested to know what and how? It was probably a month or so ago, I stumbled upon Paul’s blog, the owner of Sweet Paul. Paul is a food and interior stylist who hails from Oslo but currently living in New York. His work is truly amazing, soothing, and elegant and that has got me hooked on his blog!
One day, I wrote to Paul, asking if he would be interested to share with me what exactly he does and what are the things involved in his job. He has kindly taken some of his time off to answer some of the questions that I have been asking myself for some time! I am glad to have Paul featured on My Cooking Hut today. Below is my email interview with Paul and some photos that illustrate his role as a food stylist.
My Cooking Hut: Can you please give us an overview the tasks involved for a food stylist before a photo shooting?
Sweet Paul: Often, it starts a month before with finding the recipes. Planning, testing, and food shopping. And if you do both food and props like me, also finding all the props, surfaces and backgrounds.
My Cooking Hut: Where do you get your inspirations?
Sweet Paul: I get a lot of inspiration from fashion. Like a while ago I did a whole black food story about figs inspired by the all black Victor & Rolf collection. I always keep a note book handy to write down ideas etc. Also think very good in the bathtub!
My Cooking Hut: What is your normal approach in food styling? Any Do’s and Don’ts?
Sweet Paul: I try not to over think it.But have a plan of what you want to do.
My Cooking Hut:Does a food stylist need to know how to cook?
Sweet Paul: Oh yes! You have to cook all the food. A lot of food stylists are chefs.
My Cooking Hut: Any colours to avoid in food styling? Or is it another person’s job?
Sweet Paul: Not really. If you work with a prop stylist it can be smart to talk to her/him beforehand to take about colors, sizes and shapes of the plates.
My Cooking Hut: How to achieve a shot that people will drool over and can’t take their eyes off?
Sweet Paul: My big secret is the drip. Sauce dripping from the steak, frosting dripping from the cake, honey from the cheese etc. The food needs to look fresh, straight from the oven, shiny and yummy. Its often done with a spray of oil or water.
My Cooking Hut:How did you get into this industry?
Sweet Paul: I had a friend that was a photographer and she thought I was perfect for this job. She was right. Its now 16 years ago.
My Cooking Hut: What are your advices to those who potentially seeking for opportunities in this profession?
Sweet Paul: Start off as an assistant. It’s a great way to learn all the secrets of the trade.
My Cooking Hut: Do you have any recommended places to find kitchen props?
Sweet Paul: If you are in NYC, the prop houses are amazing. Places like Propcompany and Prophaus have the most amazing props you can rent. Flee markets are great too.
My Cooking Hut: Can you name any food stylist’s work that you admire most? Why is that?
Sweet Paul: I really admire Donna Hay. She started off as a food stylist and look at her now, amazing. Her work is clean, fresh and tasty, love her!
Photographer: Colin Cooke