Our characters and their careers can make or break a story. From stay-at-home moms to nuclear physicists, the people in our stories need something to do. What better way than to give them an interesting job? We can place them in a chaotic workplace with outlandish co-workers and poof! We have story.
Every Tuesday in August, we’ll be contrasting and comparing similar careers. Today we’ll talk about Food Stylist vs. Floral Designer. What could these careers possibly have in common? More than you would think.
Turn to any Food Network show and you see beautiful displays of luscious-looking food, many a product of a professional food stylist. Food stylists combine culinary art and science to prepare food for cookbook and advertising photographs, television commercials, and scenes in movies. Stylists are responsible for finding unusual ingredients and preparing food so it looks freshly made and appetizing. A food stylist works for advertising agencies, cooking networks and other types of lifestyle media to make a chef’s recipe or food product look like a masterpiece. Food stylists are hired to do the shopping, chopping and marinating for celebrity chefs, magazines and television shows and often do most of the work themselves.
In addition to choosing, preparing and composing plated food, food stylists use numerous techniques to make appear the food as attractive as possible. One example would be using heavy cream instead of milk with cereal to prevent flakes from becoming soggy too quickly. Another would be applying lipstick to strawberries for a bright, glowing color.
Some of the skills a food stylist needs are an eye for artistic arrangements of food, with pleasing mixtures of colors and textures. Also a vast knowledge of food, nutrition, and cooking techniques is a must. Good people skills and business management will help a food stylist go far.
Being a food stylist requires always performing at the top of your game, because food doesn’t always behave. A Food Stylist is only as good as the last photo or commercial, so it requires an individual who is detail-oriented, organized, and focused.
For contrast, turn to a HGTV show, and you’ll see where a floral designer has probably been. Floral design is the art of using plant materials and flowers to create a pleasing and balanced composition. Evidence of refined floristry is found as far back as the culture of Ancient Egypt. Western design historically is characterized by symmetrical, asymmetrical, horizontal and vertical style of arrangements. In additional to flower arrangements, the art of floral design includes making wreaths, nosegays, garlands, boutonnieres, corsages, and bows.
There are schools of floral design, though formal training is not required to be a floral designer. But for people who aspire to run their own competitive floral design companies or work for top florists, there are programs from brief, online courses to bachelor’s degrees in floriculture. These degrees teach everything from types of flowers and how to handle them to the basics of business management. Many floral designers have high school diplomas and no formal training in floral design, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook handbook. They learn to be floral designers while working for a florist.
Floral design programs are available online and at some community colleges that teach about different types of flowers and how to handle them. The different techniques for arranging them as well as pricing are covered, as well as cutting and taping techniques and ribbon tying. More advanced courses may teach botany, hydrology and pest management. In addition to learning to arrange and care for flowers, a florist who wants to run a shop needs to study accounting, marketing, management and inventory control.
How can we compare these two seemingly opposite careers? Both require an artistic eye for color, texture, and arrangement. To be excellent in either field, you need good people and management skills.
No longer do we think of an artist as a person who wears a beret and paints portraits. Today’s artist has numerous opportunities to explore in our modern world.
Writing prompt: Maggie watched in anguish as her twelve-flavor ice cream display for the Dipsy Dairy commercial slid…