Friday, March 22, 2013

Food Stylist: Anne Marie Tobin

It's great to have Anne Marie on my blog! What sold me other than her amazing talent was the really unique opening video that I've never seen a food stylist do before...
Anne Marie Tobin


How did you get into styling?
First I studied at art college and then I trained to be a chef in London. There I assisted some great food stylists.

Are you originally from Ireland?
I was born in Ireland but learned to be a food stylist in London, I work out of Dublin.

Do you see different trends in Ireland than the U.S.?

The two countries have different food cultures so the food styling from each country reflects their own food culture.

Have you traveled for your work? If so where’s the farthest you have been?

While my daughters were young I focused working out of Ireland,often I work with overseas celebrity chefs who work in Ireland now they are teenagers so would welcome the chance to work further afield.

Any clients you aspire to work for?
It would be great to work for Marks and Spencer.

Who are some notable photographers you have worked with?
Simon Wheeler, Michael Michaels, Mike O Toole(my husband).

For your ice cream/milkshake shots did you use actual product or is it a mixture of other things?

For the milkshake I used real product from McDonalds but I froze it a little extra to add more texture, we also shot them as opposed to three at a time.

For your simple cheese shots for Irish Farmhouse Cheese how much cheese did you have to choose from to find the best for the shot? How long did it take to get those shots?

These shots were done over one day, the product was good quality, the better the quality the less I need to do with it. I think I had a wheel of each variety of cheese.

For your opening video on your website how did you come up with the idea? Was it a big collaboration?

Dear designer friends of mine who I had worked with many times suggested making a video where I form the word food. From there I decided to depict various different food stuff, I also wanted to choose colours that work well together. I am really pleased with the end result. There were four of us, a designer,photographer,videographer and me.

For aspiring food stylists what’s one thing you would tell them about getting into the business?

Be prepared to be flexible and willing to look at food from a different way.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Recipe: Irish Potatoes

This is perfect time to post my Irish Potato recipe. With St. Patrick’s Day just a couple days away, this is great treat to bring to parties, also a conversation piece because a lot of people don’t know what’s in a Irish Potato.

What you will need:
1/4 cup softened butter
4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 ounces of confectioner’s sugar
7 ounces coconut flakes

Blend together the butter and cream cheese for about 2-3min.
Than add the vanilla and confectioner’s sugar and blend until completely combined and starts to form a ball.
Stir in with a spoon the coconut flakes.
Messy Part:
Take small amounts of mixture and roll into small balls and roll in cinnamon until covered.
Place the cinnamon balls on a covered sheet pan.
After your done doing that with all the mixture place in fridge for about an hour or until firm.
Yields approx 5 dozen.



Friday, March 8, 2013

Food Stylist: Dan Macey

Dan Macey

1. What made you decide to change career paths?
Eventually I got tired of writing about other people. Can’t decide what to write about, so I started writing about food. I sent stuff to cooks illustrated. Started writing about business for food. QVC changed dynamics of selling. They watch sales second by second. Food stylist point of view, learned what made for better t.v. great training ground.

2. Was your prior career related to food?
I was a journalist writing about business to business. I covered Enron. There was no real food relation.

3. Who was your first big T.V. client? Did it take off from there?
 Publisher Harper Collins, and Emeril. I was under contract for QVC. You can get pigeoned hole into just getting hired for cookbook work. They don’t always know what else you can do. Let the client know your other skill sets. You may get hired for publisher not the art director. Don’t let a opportunity pass you by without following up.

4. Do you style for photographers doing still images? If so who have you worked with?
Todd Trice i’ve worked with. Dan Witts in Baltimore. I’ve worked with a guy in Arkansas. Different photographers in Philadelphia and N.Y.

5. After you got into food styling how did recipe development along with your other services start?
As a food stylists you get a recipe that doesn’t work or has never been tested. Chefs are notorious for recipes that won’t work for home. I do develop recipes for companies. You work with a lot a recipes that don’t work. Create recipes that are visually attractive. It’s a natural offshoot of being a stylist.

6. Do you work with anyone else at Dantasticfood or do you solely run and own the business?  
Generally it’s me. I usually have one assistant that goes with me. Don’t put your eggs into one basket because you can’t rely on one client or photographer. You must stay versified.

7. Do you see a lot of young people trying to break into the food styling business? What can you tell them is the most important to be successful?
It’s not a hard business to get into if you have stamina, and work hard. I can tell in one day if someone can make it or not. You have to be committed to your job. You must be flexible, family and kids you would have to choose. It’s a networking thing. Being available is most important thing. Go the extra mile. Everyone wants a good assistant. Interest is key too.

8. What is the hardest thing you have had to style?
Every job is its challenge. Pizzas are tough. Sandwiches can be too. If it’s a client with a chain restaurant you have to use their product. You sort of fight with the client to make it look good but use their product. An example: Are we allowed to use other broccoli? If you use their product you might have to go through 100 boxes to get the product to look right. Being ethical about it. We are consumers too, don’t want to be lied to. The hardest thing I had to find though was for T.V. commercial for diet food and had to find a microberry. 

9. Where do you find your inspirations to create such a wide range of styled food?
Good part of being a stylist is keeping up with trends. Knowing the inside and outside of food. I always think about plating food differently. The trend now is glass cylinders. Restaurants are really trying to keep up with current trends. I like to eat out a lot to see what other places are doing. I watch commercials. Do some test shooting. Not as much as would like because of my busy schedule. Whatever the client wants you might not have the shot, but you can do it.

10.  What has been your best resource to find props for shoots? 
A lot of food stylist don’t deal with props. I have a 20x10 shed full of props. I cook a lot of food. Marshalls and Home Goods. They can be small and different. Antique stores, vintage store, thrift stores. Might buy something without preconceived. Props are important. Always talk to prop stylist, and have a prop rental fee.   

Friday, March 1, 2013

Food Stylist: Carrie Purcell

1. How did you get into styling?
I have a bachelors degree in English and always wanted to write for a travel, music or food magazine. I  worked for a magazine for a bit and when it folded I went back to school. I'd always been interested in food so I went to culinary school and wanted to be a pastry chef. After a few years in professional kitchens I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life either and I found a stylist to assist. Thought it was a perfect combination between all of the fields I was interested and drawn to!

2. What do you enjoy styling more sweets or savory dishes?

I really enjoy both equally and love that I'm able to cook something different every day! It keeps things fresh and exciting. I do have a huge sweet tooth though and a pastry background so I lean a bit towards sweets.

3. Where do you look for your inspirations?
Magazines, other stylists, photographers and blogs for visual inspiration and just a trip to the farmers market or my favorite restaraunts for new food inspiration!

4. How long have you been represented by Big Leo? How has that helped your career?
I've been represented by Big Leo since I moved to NYC 3 years ago. I started my career in Los Angeles so when I moved to NYC I didn't really have many contacts and felt an agency could really help get my name out there. I also had a rep in CA as well and for me personally it works well. Self promotion is not my strong point or favorite thing to do and an agent is a huge help. As I get busier they do lots of little things, juggle my calendar, etc that help me be able to simply focus on being on set and making pretty food.

5. Who are your dream clients you want to work for?
Gourmet was a dream client so I was so to see them go.

6. Do you have a culinary background or is it something you picked up yourself?
Answered above a bit. I do have a culinary degree and worked in restaurants for a few years. I believe it's important to have some sort of formal training before assisting and getting into styling because your basic culinary knowledge is constantly being tested and pulled from with the random things I'm styling and cooking.

7.What do you enjoy more your editorial work or commercial work?
They are both fun for different reasons - advertising clients are beginning to want a looser more editorial feel so there's less difference between the actual styling of the two.

8. What made you start your blog Pictures and Pancakes?
The blog was a way for my husband and I to shoot together and create the images we wanted to create, no agenda or art directors telling us what to do, simply a creative outlet for us when we were inspired.  We only wish we had more time to do that!
** Here's the link:

9. Must have tool on set
Sharp knife, tweezers and a spray bottle!