Food Friday #3

1. How much do you LOVE NY? :)
I think of NY as an old friend that I share many secrets with. NYC is my "home town". I grew up on the Upper East Side and would not trade that experience for anything. I LOVE NYers, NYC and all the special "finds" there that only real NYers really know about.

2. Do you ever travel for shoots? If so where is the farthest you’ve gone?
I travel often for my work, being that I'm based out of NYC as well as Boulder, Colorado. I think Spain is probably the farthest I have physically traveled for work, although my shoot in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere in Tulum seemed much farther away!

3. Did you ever have a dream or another direction you wanted to go for as an occupation?
I've always been an artist, so I think I knew early on that I would be in a creative "out of the box" career, and not become a typical 9 to 5 worker bee. When I was in school studying film production and working in NYC as a freelance production assistant, I thought I might want to be a commercial director that specialized in children, like Harry Hamburg, who I really liked to watch direct kids (he used to bribe them with cash, which I thought was brilliant!). When I was a kid growing up in NYC I had dreams of being a mounted police officer there (so I could ride a horse down the street) or a Jane Goodall type zoologist - any career that involved horses and /or animals of any kind.

4. How long have you been teaching students to style food?
I've been teaching private, hands-on food styling classes to serious students since 1998, when I first launched my website and got besieged with questions from people all over the world who wanted to learn the art of food styling but had no resource or opportunity available to them where they were located. Since then I have trained and mentored many successful food stylists who otherwise would not have been able to do the kind of work they are now capable of producing.

5. What was the oddest dish/food you had to style?
Hard to say exactly, but probably an 8 foot high special fx rig of a stack of Eggo's mini waffles, precisely oozing with various toppings and fillings. It was being filmed as the rig rotated 360 degrees and moved up and down. The toppings and drips had to all stay still in their exact place, while still visually appearing in an appetizing, loose and "natural" way. I don't like being on ladders at all, so that shoot was a personal as well as professional challenge. Very early on in my career I also styled Gravy Train dog food... With over 2 decades working as a food stylist I'm sure I've forgotten many other odd shoots along the way.

6. Where do you go for your inspirations? Are you able to incorporate them into your styling?
Personally I am inspired by many things - my incredibly talented family and friends, fine arts, photography, music, nature, traveling and generally living by / exploring the unbeaten path. I'm sure the people and things that inspire me in my personal life do have a positive effect on my work, but since the end results you see are based on a very large collaborative effort, I'm usually inspired while I'm "in the moment" on set - when my energy and creativity are in sync with those of the other people I'm shooting with.

7. Other than photographers, do you find food styling a needed service elsewhere?
Food styling is needed in motion environments (commercials, feature films, live broadcasts, industrial) as well as for stills. I have also consulted with several groups of Junior League ladies who wanted help with unique presentation ideas, but I think generally food styling is a highly specialized niche filling a very narrow need / field.

8. Who was the biggest client you’ve worked with?
Over the years I've worked with almost all of the largest multi-national food companies and restaurant chains you can think of, either styling for tv commercials, packaging, menus or print advertising. I've also worked with acclaimed chefs, renowned directors, famous photographers and even an Academy Award winning cinematographer. I've fed Jello Pudding to Bill Cosby, Pillsbury Bread Sticks to Matt LeBlanc (before Friends) and McDonald's hamburgers to Jason Alexander (before Seinfeld).

9. Any dream client you hope to style for one day?
If and when Bob Weir decides to mass produce and market his home made salsa, then that will be my dream client right there - are you listening boys? More realistically I'm hoping that Jeff & Sue Gross will involve me with their new product line, when it's ready. If anyone out there wants me to work in an amazingly remote beautiful location, like somewhere in New Zealand or Madagascar, then you might just wind up being my new dream client.

10. Your favorite food?
I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you...

Photo Credit: Teri Campbell