My Work In Food Styling & Having Pictures Taken With Celebs
Gregg Wallace & me
A little voice, deep inside inside had always squeaked something at me and I couldn’t really hear what she was saying until it surfaced by chance in the summer when I did my first styling gig with Bill Granger. After years of watching and loving Jamie, Nigella, (even Ramsay & Delia), Stein, Rachel Khoo and Saturday Kitchen, I am somehow landing a few jobs behind the scenes as a food stylist, as a home ec person, as a prop stylist and even being the actual talent myself on camera! ha.
Gregg Wallace, me & Chris
Left over tomatoes from shoot
I went to work with Gregg Wallace, (to be aired on BBC1). I was quite nervous as I heard he had a reputation for being rather vocal. And yes, he was. He challenged me as soon as he met me but because I knew what I was doing and I had everything ready for him we became friends on set and I really enjoyed working with him and listening to his outrageous jokes. Uyen! Like you and me, he kept chuckling as he’d throw his heavy arms around my shoulder. Weeks later, I was even called back to work on the remainder of the shoot which I was very pleased about because I had the opportunity to go to the beach in England which was something I had wanted to do all summer.
I had to make 650 tripled fried chips, cut with an apple corer. Took me 13 hours!
Then I was lucky enough to work with Raymond Blanc. The set, my kitchen! I spent a whole week organising and propping my kitchen and then food styling as well as working with Raymond in front of camera (to be aired BBC2, Winter/ Spring). It was an absolute honour to work with one of the finest figures in food.
Raymond Blanc & me
The next thing I knew, I was packing my little suitcase and going to Thomasina Miers’s house to do some recipe testing with her for her forthcoming book. That was a great day, making curries, ceviche and other yummy Asian food. The best thing she came up with was a fragrant pork noodle salad with roasted rice powder, loads of limes, lime leaves and chillies – it was like eating an Asian spaghetti bolognese – totally amazing! She was so cool and we gossiped while we were chopping onions and playing with ingredients. I loved working with her. She is a woman I totally look up to and if I weren’t just about the same age as her I could say I aspire to be someone like her, but I am just about the same age as her and I do aspire to be like her: loved by her husband, soon to be mother of two, a successful business woman, author of many books, living in a beautiful house. Tommi then asked me to work as her stylist on a TV pilot (hopefully for Channel 4).
Fragrant Pork Noodle Salad
Fried Fish & Green Mango Salad
Monk Fish Curry
Grilled Pork & Tamarind
Part of Tommi’s beautiful kitchen that her father and she built
I am incredibly lucky. Doors are always opening for me even when I am not even knocking. Somehow, the skills I gathered as a film maker to a fashion designer to a cook has landed me in this food styling place… I never would have thought! I am truly loving it, it feels like I found something I really really enjoy. The work is hard and you have to be on your feet, the actual ones as well as the mental ones, constantly. You have to think way a head of everyone because food needs preparation and you’re in charge of that department. You have to have everything ready, and you have to know where a can opener is or a tooth pick to a chopping board at any given moment it may be requested. It keeps you on your toes and its great fun!
I am now currently styling my own cook book and working with an excellent team, my publisher Ryland Peters & Small. I am loving the photos, the outcome and can not wait to share it when the book is published in Autumn 2013!
Gennaro Contaldo & me (still waiting to work with him)