Food Stylist: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

ProfGuide Updated 
Food Stylist: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

What happens when culinary skills meet artistic talent? The answer is a Food Stylist. This profession is an exciting blend of creativity and gastronomy. The role of a Food Stylist is to make food look fresh, tasty, and appealing, primarily for photographs and video footage used in advertisements, cookbooks, food packaging, and more. It's a behind-the-scenes job that plays a significant role in the food and advertising industries. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.



Food styling is a vast field, with several specializations based on different requirements. Some stylists may focus on advertising, making dishes look delectable for TV commercials or print ads. Others may specialize in editorial food styling, bringing recipes to life for magazines and cookbooks. There's also packaging food styling, focusing on making food look appealing on product packaging. Some stylists even focus on motion-picture food styling for movies and TV shows.

Tasks and Responsibilities

  1. Collaborate with chefs to prepare visually stunning dishes.
  2. Work closely with photographers to understand the desired visual outcome.
  3. Utilize various tools and techniques to maintain the fresh and appealing look of the food.
  4. Provide creative input to enhance the presentation of dishes.
  5. Solve unexpected issues like food melting or wilting.

Pros and Cons


  1. Creative outlet: Opportunity to combine culinary and artistic skills.
  2. Varied work: No two assignments are the same.
  3. Opportunities for travel and meeting new people.


  1. Pressure: High stakes and tight deadlines.
  2. Irregular hours: Projects often require working during weekends or holidays.
  3. Physical demands: Long hours standing and working in hot kitchen environments.


The demand for Food Stylists is robust in countries like the USA, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia, driven by a thriving food industry and the rise of social media, particularly platforms like Instagram that emphasize visual appeal.

Salary Ranges

In the USA, the average salary is around $77,000 per year. In Canada, it's close to CA$67,000. In Great Britain, a Food Stylist can expect to earn about £45,000 annually, while in Australia, the average salary stands at approximately AU$70,000 per year.

Where do Food Stylists Work?

Food Stylists work wherever food and photography intersect. This includes advertising agencies, TV studios, magazine publishing houses, freelance assignments, and even movie sets. Their work is crucial as the visual appeal of food can significantly influence consumers' purchasing decisions.

Important Qualities of a Successful Food Stylist

  1. Artistic skills: Ability to present food in a visually appealing manner.
  2. Culinary knowledge: Understanding of how food behaves under different conditions.
  3. Problem-solving skills: Ability to find quick solutions when food doesn't behave as expected.
  4. Patience: Often, getting the perfect shot takes time.

Step-by-step Career Path

  1. Obtain a degree or certificate in culinary arts.
  2. Gain experience in the food industry, ideally in a position involving food presentation.
  3. Learn photography basics and build a portfolio showcasing your food styling work.
  4. Network with professionals in related fields, like photographers and art directors.
  5. Land your first job or gig as a Food Stylist.

How to Become a Food Stylist

Higher education isn't necessary, but it's beneficial. A degree or certificate in culinary arts or a related field can provide valuable knowledge. Experience in the food industry is often more important. There's no specific path to become a Food Stylist; it varies from person to person.

Where to Become a Food Stylist

There are culinary schools and universities offering relevant programs in each of these countries:


  1. Institute of Culinary Education
  2. Culinary Institute of America
  3. Johnson & Wales University
  4. Le Cordon Bleu
  5. The Art Institutes


  1. Culinary Arts School of Ontario
  2. Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
  3. George Brown College
  4. Holland College
  5. Stratford Chefs School

Great Britain:

  1. Leiths School of Food and Wine
  2. Westminster Kingsway College
  3. City of Glasgow College
  4. Tante Marie Culinary Academy
  5. Edinburgh New Town Cookery School


  1. Le Cordon Bleu Australia
  3. William Angliss Institute
  4. The Gordon Culinary School
  5. Cookery Institute

Can You Enter the Profession with a Different Degree?

Absolutely. While a culinary arts degree might give you an edge, it's not a requirement. Many successful food stylists come from various backgrounds like fine arts, graphic design, or photography. Experience in the food industry, a good eye for detail, and artistic flair are often more important than formal education. If you're transitioning from a different field, consider taking culinary classes or workshops to familiarize yourself with food preparation and handling techniques.

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