The educational program "The World of Vocation," which is produced by EBS (Educational Broadcasting System), introduced five promising jobs including food stylist, publicity manager, record director, international lawyer and director of Internet shopping mall. Food stylist flashed into our mind with this proverb: "Better a castle of bones than of stones." A food stylist or coordinator makes dishes to look more delicious in illustrated magazines or commercial films. The Dongguk Post meets with Park Hyun-jeong who is working for Manchan Corp. and explores the world of a food stylist...................................................................................................Ed.
Have you ever felt your mouth watering when seeing delicious dishes in women's magazines or cookbooks? When seeing those savory dishes, you are momentarily under the illusion that they smell of pleasant flavors.
A food stylist stimulates our five senses in that way. Food stylist Park Hyun-jeong graduated from the Dept. of Food Chemistry at Sungsin Women's University, and became a nutrition technician. But she got acquainted with food styling by chance and then switched from her settled job to an adventurous job.
"I like cuisine very much. When I was nutritionist, I enjoyed cooking Western, Korean, Japanese and Chinese-style foods in my spare time." Food stylist Park now runs Manchan, a company that is located in Mapo district of Seoul, with another stylist, Kwon Hye-jin, who majored in Western Painting. Park Hye-jeong has a natural talent for the sense of taste and Kwon Hyun-jin has aesthetic sense from her art training. "We are usually involved in styling foods in illustrated magazines and commercial films. However, what we have to do depends on illustrated magazines and commercial films."
While taking pictures of food for illustrated magazines, a food stylist consults with a photographer about layouts of food. They often prepare dishes by themselves, which usually takes about one week. This kind of work focuses on how to make food look more beautiful, just like creating a fine art work.
In commercial films, however, the situation is different from photographic work for illustrated magazines. What is most important in commercial films is how to attract a consumer rather than pursuing the beauty of food. In other words, a food stylist focuses on how to make food look more tasty. A delicious chicken in a TV commercial is not actually edible because it is filled with cotton and covered with varnish.
"Nowadays, food stylists are in demand. Lots of people ask me to work for them. However, many people who want to be food stylists give up their work because it is harder than they expected. People expect this kind of work to be easy, especially when they see the good results. If you want to be a food stylist, you need stamina, a sense of food styling and a sense of responsibility," Ms. Park said.
"My salary is about 10 million won a year. It seems quite small. However, it doesn't matter because I love my job and believe that food styling will be in the limelight in the near future," she added.
If you want to be a food stylist
A special knowledge of fine art or a cuisine certificate is not a vital factor to be a food stylist. However, both could help you to understand something about food styling. That's because a knowledge of cuisine and a sense of fine art is fundamental to food styling.
Also required are table manners, color senses and styling techniques. You can get help from some private academies or universities. Several universities and private schools have introduced graduate and professional training courses in food styling. Cho Food Coordinator Institute (C.F.C.I) <Tel: 02-3477-0417> and Kang Hong-jun Top Studio (K.T.S) <Tel: 02-2275-2781> are representative food styling institutes. C.F.C.I has a food coordinator class as well as flower artist class and table stylist class, etc. K.T.S has six months courses in practicing cooking. You are also able to register Graduate School of Design, Sookmyung Women's University <Tel: 02-710-9083> and School of Continuing Education at Ewha Womans University <Tel: 02-3277-3112>.
More information is available at the following web sites.
The Reporter's Postscript: While interviewing Park Hyun-jeong, she seemed to be very proud of her work. "The food styling industry is almost a venture business. Even though it's hard working, I am satisfied with my job.?She told me that many Koreans have little understanding of the food industry, especially food styling. "Korean food styling is ten years behind advanced countries? In a short period, therefore, it is hard to educate people to better understanding of the importance of food styling. However, I feel good because I'm exploring a venturous land, food styling,?she said. In this sense, there is no doubt that being a food stylist is an attractive job.
Kim Jung-yoon firstname.lastname@example.org
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