What does a food stylist do?
A food stylist is the person who organizes all the food that’s going to be shot on film and makes sure it looks beautiful. Usually you have to under cook things or not cook things to its entirety so that it looks fresher and not all limp. But you’re in charge of all the food and how it looks.
Why was it so important to have a food stylist on Jadoo?
Jadoo is completely based around food and it’s based on the merits of how they cook, so we’re trying to make our food look like traditional Indian as much as possible – as fresh, vibrant and colourful as possible.
How are you using food to bring director Amit Gupta’s vision to life?
We’re trying to use as much colour as possible when it comes to the food and use all the traditional favourites. Some of the food’s scripted and a lot of the food I have to make up, as far as what’s going to be shown in the film. Amit has been very clear with what he wants.
What’s involved in getting the food ready to be filmed on set?
I do all the ordering; it arrives here. We do all the prep a day before and if there’s anything last minute, we’ll do it on the day. We keep everything in the kitchen fridge and then cart it all into the car along with all the equipment, utensil and other ingredients we might need.
How do you make the food look so delicious?
Most of the time it’s quite simple because Indian food looks beautiful as long you don’t over cook it. You do things like adding tomatoes and coriander at the end so it stays nice and fresh and it doesn’t look all over cooked and soggy. I don’t really like spraying things onto the food that aren’t edible so I just spray water on top of things which give it a bit of a gloss or with things like tandoori chicken I’ll brush some oil on it so it’s still edible – a bit oily, but it gives it a nice sheen.
What does it take to be a good food stylist?
I think you need to be super organized. You have to be anal really. I would probably say that I’m difficult to work with in the sense that if I don’t like it I won’t just say it’s ok, I’ll say do it again. I think you need to have those sorts of standards because you can really see it in the end product. You’ve got to really think things through with how they’re going to look on the plate, with how you do your prep, how much you cook it, how you store it. You’ve got to be really careful with those sort of factors in order for the end product to be as good as it can be. Also not just going with something if you don’t have time. I’d rather just say no, everybody’s got to stop, we need another half an hour. I’m starting this again. That sort of thing. You’ve got to be quite fierce about it.
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