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Food Stylist: Job Description, Salary & Qualifications

Food stylists manage food preparation and presentation for live productions or photographs. This article will provide an overview of the educational requirements and job duties for food stylists.

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Career Definition of Food Stylist

Food stylists specialize in crafting food displays that are aesthetically pleasing and designed to support product sales. They may work for a variety of organizations, including home shopping networks or creative consulting agencies. Food stylists may work varied hours, including on-call positions.

Specific job duties for food stylists will vary depending on their industry. General job responsibilities may include developing new recipes, creating a recipe database for social media accounts, sourcing ingredients by working with buyers or shopping for them, and preparing food. Food stylists may collaborate with other food stylists on best practices. They may also ensure the kitchen area is clean and hazard-free and maintain an inventory of ingredients. Food stylists can collaborate with the styling personnel on the best props for highlighting foods. They can also collaborate with advertising or editorial personnel on requests and deliverables.

Food stylists may be required to act on camera for instructional cooking videos. They may also present food displays to guests for review and make any suggested changes. Food stylists could work with the creative director to set a shooting schedule based on available personnel and upcoming projects.

Educational Requirements Associate's degree
Job Skills Creativity, excellent communication skills, strong attention to detail, and strong organizational skills
Median Salary (2017)* $68,250
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 6% (Designers, All Others)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Individuals will need a minimum of an associate's degree in culinary studies to work as a food stylist. A strong background with food or prop styling will be beneficial. Interested individuals can opt to join a professional organization like the International Association of Culinary Professionals. The organization is comprised of a variety of professionals, including chefs, stylists, and marketers, and offers members a place to connect.

Required Skills

Creativity is the most essential asset for a food stylist, as they are responsible for creating visually appealing food presentations. They must have a strong knowledge of industry trends, as well as a sense of what will appeal to an organization's customers. Food stylists should have excellent communication skills in order to interface with production staff, guests, or clients. They should also have strong attention to detail and strong organizational skills to ensure their work is efficient, timely, and meets all necessary specifications.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect information on food stylists; however, they reported a 6% job growth for the category ''designers, all other'' during 2016-2026, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. In November 2017, PayScale reported an annual median salary of $68,250 for food stylists.

Related Careers

Individuals considering a career as a food stylist might also be interested in one of the related careers profiled below. They offer candidates the opportunity to utilize their skills in other visually creative positions.

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