KnifeofBrian on: The Stylist Counsel

The Staff Canteen

A picture paints a thousand food stylists are helping chef Brian "raise his game".

How stunning food imagery can tell a story, evoke a reaction and inspire us all, Brian's latest blog for The Staff Canteen tells us more......

Where do the Food Stylists fit in? Are they Friends or foe to the chef? For a long while, I would get a little annoyed when swiping through my Instagram feed and seeing beautiful dishes. Dishes, which at first glance look like something you’d eat at a Michelin Star manor! Then as I click on the profile, I’d realise that the creator of the dish is not a kitchen veteran, but a food stylist. A blogger. Someone who I would assume had too much time on their hands.


Take a picture, it lasts longer

I would be angry and felt cheated. Who were these people to be tweezering false hope on the Grand Assiette of my aspirations? Their plates looked stunning and flawless. Do they not own a restaurant? Surely, they must be worthy of Stars or Rosettes? I carry on reading through the dish info and eventually get to the food stylist or food photography hashtags

Your filter game is strong

There are plenty of these pages and feeds out there. Some of them are chefs. Some are not. Some are chefs, reproducing their images for a professional photographer to snap on their £10k camera. Putting my greasy Samsung S7 to shame in a single click of their billion-mega pixel camera. Then sending an image to their web development team, then launch the image to an avalanche of Likes and Hearts… meanwhile, in Ipswich, my wild boar linguine tiptoes up to 40 thumbs ups! Woohoo, yay me!

There are a fair amount of chefs who snap some amazing shots on their smartphones too. The ones whose filter game is way strong.

Jealous, Moi? No…well maybe a little. But who am I? I’m just a chef. A 50 hour a week pub chef. Grafting and trying to make those coins, to put my kids through university and keep my wife (and the bank) off my back. Can I compete with the big boys and girls on the social media playground, without buying virtual followers?

A different perception

That’s where those pesky stylists come in. In my opinion, these people are helping chefs like me raise my game. So, where I was angry, I am now inspired. Where I was feeling cheated, I was now motivated. These people are producing beautiful dishes which I may not always be able to be reproduced in my kitchen. But, if I can add a single aspect or element to one of my dishes on the menu, then surely, this is progress.

The stylists are here to be the chef’s muse, whispering their Siren song over the drone of the extraction unit. Can I emulate? There was a time I had to draw the line at adding nasturtiums to my ribeye steaks salads. The chef flower-power movement went to my head for a while, but I’m over that. But wow, what’s next? Ooooh! That combination of Shellfish and Game looks interesting no?


The artistry of food presentation

There is definitely a place for the food stylist. As chefs, we need these people to flood social media with inspiration and imagery which can inspire and motivate us mere mortals. I may not be the most technically gifted chef, but I make nice food. I don’t do foams, gels or the trendy tuiles

But I love to combine flavours. I love to see new colours in dishes and I really appreciate the artistry of food presentation. I love it when convention is challenged. As chefs, we should not fear the blogger, the stylist or the food photographer. Embrace the filter. Challenge our own beliefs and evolve this profession.

…but I do hate wellness bloggers, they can shove their avocado & toast up their……#kidding

Brian Powlett, KnifeofBrian
Brian Powlett, KnifeofBrian

Knife of Brian is head chef at the Greyhound Ipswich and Knife of Brian Cookery & Catering. He supports CALM (campaign against living miserably) male suicide charity and has just finished his first pop up event at the Suffolk Show and would be a gigolo if he wasn't a chef.

For more blogs like this from Knife of Brian visit his

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th March 2018

KnifeofBrian on: The Stylist Counsel