Overview of Food Stylist Education Requirements: Courses & Training
Food stylists create culinary creations that leave mouths watering. Food stylists display dishes that come across as visually appealing through all forms of media. As interests in food preparation have skyrocketed in the last few years, there has been an increase in the amount of training that is available for someone to obtain certification as a food stylist. There are many food styling training options; courses can be offered online or in-person, some classes may take a few weeks to finish, while some other trainings are completed during a weekend-long conference.
Admission Requirements for Food Stylist Programs
Since there are many different ways to obtain training as a food stylist, the industry can be very competitive. Gaining experience whenever possible is key for anyone who is looking to get started in this field. Although there aren't strict minimum qualifications to enter food styling training programs, individuals with culinary arts degrees may have an easier time finding success in the food styling industry. Some schools offer bachelor's degrees in culinary science and applied food studies. Admission requirements vary, but most associate's and bachelor's degree programs require a high school diploma or GED credential and suggest a letter of recommendation.
Food Stylist Training Coursework
Training coursework will vary depending on the program a student chooses to pursue, but there are a few key courses that will best prepare students for careers in food styling.
Food Styling 101
This course focuses on the importance of presenting visually appealing food on both old and new media platforms. Students learn basic styling techniques and workflow. General knowledge of the food styling industry is also covered in this course.
Theory of Food
Students are introduced to the theories behind common culinary practices. Basic industry terminology and concepts are discussed so that students gain a strong culinary foundation. During the course, food preperation techniques are discussed and recipe ingredients are explored.
Food Styling for Media
Students focus on the specific techniques that are currently used to make food appear delicious and irresistible when being used for TV and video. This course gives insight into foods that usually photograph poorly, and gives tips and tricks to help students overcome the obstacles associated with these particular recipes. During this course, students also learn which props look best when placed next to specific dishes.
Culinary Photo Techniques
This course goes into detail about issues that may arise when you are looking to take your own photos of food. Using natural and artificial lighting is discussed, and students learn best practices. Students are also introduced to the main differences between working in a commercial kitchen to a personal kitchen as it pertains to creating dishes for food styling.
Building a Food Styling Portfolio
Students learn valuable insight that will help them build their personal brand and aid them with successfully tapping into the food styling industry. Common styling mistakes are discussed. In this course, students learn industry tricks, and gain experience that will help them create a portfolio that will catch the attention of a prospective employer.
How to Choose a Food Stylist Training Program
There are a few factors to consider before committing to a particular food stylist program. It's important to consider your scheduling needs and to select a program that works with your lifestyle. There is also a wide range of costs depending on the program that you look into. Experience is highly valued in this industry, so consider selecting a program that is well respected and that has a robust network of alumni so that you increase your chances of finding suitable employment once training is finished.
Food Styling Career Options
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently doesn't collect information pertaining directly to food stylists, but the bureau has reported that there is expected job growth of 6% for the category of 'designers, all other,' between the years of 2016-2026. According to PayScale, as of November 2017 food stylists have reported a median annual salary of $65,000. Other occupations that individuals who are interested in food styling may consider are listed below.