Oh Hey! How are you??
Give us 3 words that describe you best:
Creative, determined foodie
So, can you tell us what it is you actually do?
I have worked as a food stylist’s assistant for about a year now with the aim of becoming a freelance food stylist and recipe writer myself within the next couple of years. My job involves cooking and preparing food for photographs in editorial magazine spreads, cookery books, adverts or anything that requires a photo of food really.
I also do some freelance work at foodie events or festivals to improve my cooking skills and generally learn about putting on and coordinating events- every day I learn something new. I’m actually putting on my 1st pop up food event on 4th of August at the Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton, which I’m really excited about. It’s a ‘British Eccentric’ themed afternoon tea and will be lots of fun and great experience.
...and you're how old?!?!
Nice! How did you get into this?
Well, until about a year ago I was a “musician” but I was actually a waitress that played the odd gig in a shit venue. The only thing other than music that I felt really passionate about was food- but after years of working in the hospitality industry, mainly as a waitress, I knew I couldn’t hack the long, antisocial hours and low pay that comes hand in hand with being a chef. Cooking in a restaurant is a labour of love and I have the utmost respect for chefs, I think it is one of the most demanding and undervalued jobs going.
I have always bought shit loads of food magazines and read recipe books like novels, then one day I thought ‘who makes all this beautiful food in these photographs?’ After discovering that food styling was an actual job, I started researching food stylists who’s names I found in magazines or books- most have their own websites or online portfolios. After sending hundreds of emails asking for work experience I finally got a job offer and it just so happened to be paid! I loved the work so much and made a good impression so was booked again and again. The industry is small and friendly and once you’re in, your reputation can spread via word of mouth. A year on I have tons of experience under my belt and have just secured a 2 month job working on the Christmas supplement for Woman & Home magazine.
What’s the most exciting thing you've done in your career so far?
Probably doing work experience whilst travelling in Sydney and Melbourne in February this year. Australia is the food styling capital of the world and I got to work with some incredible stylists on some amazing jobs. It really gave my career a boost when I got back to London.
What’s been your dullest job?
Probably being a pizza hut delivery driver when I was 17- although I loved it at the time, I just drove around listening to music and eating pizza…
Where do you look/go for inspiration?
I’m obsessed with food magazines - Donna Hay and Jamie magazine are my favourites, I spend a small fortune on them and mark the pages I like. I do the same with cookery books; I could look at pictures of food all day.
I go to restaurants, markets, street food stalls, foodie events- basically anywhere I can eat- that’s what gives me inspiration.
What took the most balls?
Badgering and pestering people into giving me a job. You have to just bite the bullet and call and email until you get a response. The worst that can happen is that they say no, but it requires balls and tenacity.
The best advice you have for new graduates about to go into the 'real world’ is....
Enjoy Uni, but do try and think beyond it. I didn’t, and spent 4 years struggling and doing fuck all with no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Prepare yourself for life without the safety net of University, because in reality it is not a safety net.
Check out more of Maddie's foodie treats on her website x