Food Stylist: Katie Christ

Katie Christ

Does any one else in your family have a passion for food like you?  
 My older brother started cooking in professional kitchens at age 17.  He's traveled a lot and is a terrific global cook.  Between the two of us, we've hit a lot of countries, cultures and cuisines.  It's fun sharing what we learn with each other.

Where are you originally from? Was traveling a culture shock to you? What was your favorite place you visited?  
I grew up in So California and we did a lot of family trips to Baja  I was fortunate to be exposed to another culture and language early in life. When I traveled to Europe for the first time as a teenager and it was like a bright new world had been opened to me.  I think I've just always been a very curious person.  I've been to so many incredible places since and had so many phenomenal experiences  --including living in Paris and Mali, West Africa. A couple of recent experiences that really stand out are Naoshima island in Japan, the Allora and Ajunta caves in India, cruising the Mekong river in Laos and camping in the Sahara desert near Timbuktu for the music festival.

While at Citizen Cake what was the most challenging pastry?  
[Lauging] The hardest thing for me still, to this day, is to not boil over a pot of cream on the stove.  Seriously.  I had such amazing mentors in that kitchen and they truly made everything attainable for me. I loved my time there.  I learned so much.

Working on the show Top Chef would you say that was more challenging than working in a real kitchen or about the same?  
Working in a professional kitchen is pretty grueling and working on the show that first season, for me, was even more so.  I was the Culinary Producer on the first season and we were laying the foundation for the show from the ground up.  The culinary team consisted of just two of us.  We did everything from setting up what was essentially a restaurant kitchen to helping develop and produce challenges, set styling, food styling and washing dishes.  It was an insane amount of work -- around the clock, for six weeks.  I slept for nearly 3 days straight after we wrapped.

Who was your first big break through client?  
I'd been assisting food stylists in SF, LA & NY for about a year and a half.  I'd started getting my own styling gigs when I got hired onto a big packaging job for a national grocery store chain that lasted several months.  That was my 'lucky break' that enabled me to transition to doing solely my own thing.

What kind of work do you enjoy styling most? Editorial, advertising, film?  
One of the things I love most about my work is the variety.  In any given month, I can shoot the whole gamut:  editorial, catalog, cookbook, packaging, print ads, video, TV.  Cookbooks and magazines are the most creative we get to be and I love it when clients put together the creative team and let us free to do our thing. It's so gratifying for me to create as a team. I do also really enjoy the technical challenges that ad jobs can present.

On your blog, Gorgeous Grub what do you find yourself writing most about?
Sadly, I don't seem to find the time to write and share my experiences nearly as much as I'd like.  There just aren't enough hours in the day.  I really do love food, travel and photography -- though let me be clear that I make no claims to possessing any photography skills!  I write about food-related adventures or discoveries wherever my travels take me, whether it's around the corner from my house or in another city or country.

Any clients you dream of working with?  
 My fantasy client would send me off to work with cooks/chefs/bakers/pastry chefs all around the globe, styling their creations.  I haven't identified yet who that client is, but maybe they'll read your blog and find me!

Favorite place to eat in San Francisco?    
That's a tough one.  I have a lot of favorites.  There have been so many new, exciting places opening the past couple of years, I sometimes forget about some longstanding treasures.  One of the benefits of having my own blog is that I can keep a running list of the places I really like.   I love checking out the latest restaurant opening and am always on the lookout for inspiration.   I'm really looking forward to the opening of Chocolate Lab, Michael Recchiuti's newest creation.  The list goes on…... I feel so lucky to live in a town with so much creativity and passion that it's virtually impossible to name just one (or 10)!