donna hay

Food Stylist: Lisa Kuehl

Chicago Based Food Stylist

Lisa Kuehl

How did you get into styling?
I got started when I came back from living in California with my ex husband, I was in the process of a divorce and trying to figure out what I was going to do since I was a teacher of the culinary arts in California and was not even going to attempt to go back to restaurant life. I have a cousin who is a photographer and was doing free lance work for magazines like time out Chicago, Chicago Magazine and I had not much to do yet in means of a job so she offered to use me as her assistant meaning just keep her company and my mind off my struggling life HA! So she took me to Time Out where I met the editor and she gave us a tour of the set up of the magazine and she explained they also do some food styling! I have known of food styling since I was in culinary school but had no real luck breaking threw to actually work in the industry. She basically said its real simple food styling. I was like well if its just presentation I would love to do it and she agreed to use me and my first shoot for only $150.00 was 2 page spread and making connections. I have been doing it ever since and its been 8 years.

What was your first real break-through job?
I really can't say what was my big break of a job? Maybe when a film studio like Big Deahl hired me at a real assistant position, then I was in and when a food stylist named Karen Robinson took me under her wing and brought me in under her and thats was when I really was now a real food stylist assistant.

Where are some places you have traveled to for work?
I have not been as international as some long time food stylist. I have been to Detroit, Phoenix, and Madison IL! I am sure that will change.

Who has been your inspiration for styling?
My inspiration I would have to say is Donna Hay, she is a Australian stylist and I have been a huge fan of her work since culinary school. Super clean and modern and not tremendously over styled.

What is the hardest thing you have styled?
Ice Cream!! It is a specialty and very hard to perfect.

Is a lot of your work word of mouth or is marketing yourself a big tool?
Yes! A lot of word of mouth and networking in the sense of keeping in the loop with photographers and chatting up the clients so they remember you. Its a lot of what kind of person you are as well as your work. People like to work with stylist who are not difficult or divas lol...not naming names.

Must have tool on set.
We all who are stylist have there own kit or tools and depending on the kind of job you might need more and then you can charge kit fees. For instance, if a client has no real kitchen or the photographer then you need to bring things that would be necessary to do the job other that the basic tool kit equipment.

Any tips you could share for food stylists starting out?
My advice for those looking to get into food styling, it’s really hard but just try to connect and offer free services to be able to just get in and luck. Stylist usually have there favorites and they know how the stylist like things and they have already made a bond and the stylist trust them with shopping and detail to work and product.

Food Stylist: Jen Beauchesne

Jen Beauchesne

Photo By: Michael Indresano

Photo By: Michael Indresano

1.While you were studying photography at RIT did you have a specialty you wanted to pursue?

I actually went into RIT as a freshman thinking I wanted to shoot fashion, but quickly learned I was much happier shooting still life in the studio rather than models. Once we got to start taking electives the first one I choose was Food Photography and I just knew that's exactly what I wanted to do.

2.When did you decide to change over from photography to food styling?

I decided to switch over about a year ago when I realized I was much happier on the other side of the lens and in the kitchen.

3.Who have you worked with/admired to help hone your skills as a stylist?

I work with Sunny Ricks a lot she is an amazing stylist who has taught me so much about this industry and has been the best helping me transition from Boston to NYC.

4.Do you like to cook yourself?

Yes, I love cooking for myself, although I don't always have time, I try to find time on the weekends to try new recipes!

5.Do you prefer to style one type of food over another?

No real preference on what kind of foods, I love them all :)

6.Any dream clients you would like to work with?

I would love to style for Donna Hay Magazine, I absolutely adore their aesthetic and quality of work.

Photo By: Will Styer

Photo By: Will Styer

7.What has been the most difficult thing for you to style?

The most difficult thing for me to style was actually a bowl of mayo, the photographer wanted it one way and the client, who was weighing in remotely, wanted it another way, so there was a lot of back and forth and the mayo kept congealing, not fun, but we got thru it!

8.What is your must have tool on set?

I would say my must have tool would be my tweezers, I have about five different pairs, all for different uses.