Guest EditorPOSTED September 12, 2016

Why use a food stylist?

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Guest Editor for September is Jason Chennette who gives us insight into the importance of working with Food Stylists, the unsung heroes of your food communications campaigns.


Making food look delicious is just as important as making it taste that way – for marketers, sometimes more so. We eat what appeals to us and at a distance (on TV or in pictures) our eyes can be the judge and jury for new product trial. For that reason employing the counsel of a Food Stylist is an essential step towards to making eyes very, very hungry.

Recently APEX was responsible for the execution of a media tour with celebrity chef and ex-Master Chef judge, Graham Elliot on behalf of Walmart Canada. With a roster of four to five interviews a day, we enlisted the help of Food Stylist Matthew Kimura of Kimura Food to ensure both TV and still cameras captured images to drool for.

There are a lot of moving parts when working with media, food and spokespeople. As an unsung, yet critical player in this kind of project, we asked Matthew about best practices to employ when working with a stylist.

What 3 tips would you give to ensure clients get the most out of their relationships with a Food Stylist?

–          Be clear in your needs and expectations from the outset and ensure you have agreement on both sides of the table. Stylists need to know if a certain brand of food is required or shopping can only be done from one retailer to avoid on-set surprises.

–          Ensure any changes to your expectations are communicated clearly – a good stylist prepares for potential on-site alterations with abundant ingredients, but they can’t turn a grilled cheese into a steak dinner.

–          Where appropriate, when clients have food questions, loop the stylist in to ensure the most accurate response is given – again, managing expectations.

How do you limit unforeseen circumstances on set?

–          Media tours are about hours of preparation. Running thought the segment in your mind reveals a logical recipe demo progression. This allows you to see and manage potential obstacles for the spokesperson, minimizing last-minute craziness.

How do you prepare to work with a professional or celebrity chef spokesperson?

–          Working with any known spokesperson can mean you’re working with someone who is very busy, has little time to focus and can also be fiercely protective of the reputation they have cultivated.  So being as organized as possible and being clear with the run-through of the segment is imperative to both of your success.  When they are confident in the progression of the recipe demonstration it is much easier to deliver the needed messaging about the client’s brand.

Jason Chennette recently joined APEX Public Relations as an account director. He is the September guest editor for APEX’s The Goat.