Remarkable things can happen when the creative synergies are in the right balance, and allowed to play. You’ll hear more of the cookbook project I just was food stylist for later……but for now I am still musing about the level of professionalism Chef M.M and Chef D.E brought “to the table”. There was also the understated wisdom and huge talent of the photographer (James Tse) who totally nails each shot, and a brilliant prop stylist(Laura Branson) giddy at the chance to weave unique detail into every setup. What was I (the food stylist) there for? since the food was sourced, shipped to studio and prepared by Chef in the studio.
It’s a delicate order…nudging elbows with the protocol of professional kitchens. It is, after all, their food and their recipes…it just needs a little attention from a different perspective to make it work best in photographs. Adjustments like eliminating clutter from complicated presentations, ensuring longevity and reviving glisten on set, expediting and planning each shot so that days are efficient….but my hurrah goes to the Chefs, who offered grace and skill (without pretense), and handed us incredible signature dishes to interpret… all with equal curiosity and enthusiasm of OUR task. Tempting home cooks to eventually prepare these dishes from this soon-to-be cookbook has been, in a phrase, “the perfect gig” (except for the 10 lbs I’ve gained).
The Tomato and Bocconcini Salad shown below (from a different job, but similarly working with professional chefs) was shot as part of a series of images for a wonderful Kingston Ontario resto called Olivea, by groovey photographer Derek Cooper; not appearing vastly different from what you might enjoy when you dine there… It’s sometimes not what you do as a food stylist but what you DON’T DO….leaving the focaccia crumbs to fall as they do, and reassuring the kitchen that their spirit for preparing delicious food well isn’t messed with…. just tickled here and there, perhaps? Oh how I do love my work sometimes….