I was in great luck to be given the opportunity to assist one of Australia’s top food stylists, Janet Mitchell. It was pretty surreal at first but as the day grew closer, I was just too excited to finally meet her and assist her in a shoot. Since I was in Sydney for such a long time, I thought it would be a good idea to get some education or to at least bring some important knowledge back to the Philippines other than just bringing the souvenirs and food stuff I’ve been buying. And so, prior to leaving, I contacted Ms. Janet and what great luck that she actually gave me the opportunity to assist her!
And so I hopped onto a train and made my way to the studio with only my map, my apron and a pair of gloves in hand (and a Chefy Lite to give to Ms. Janet). I didn’t mind walking since it was a good way to see what the neighborhood had to offer. When I got to the studio entrance, Miss Janet popped out from the corner to say hello. She had a big smile and quickly introduced me to the equally talented photographer for the day, George Mourtzakis. I entered the studio and found that they already had stand ins in the set for the shoot. I already had a bunch of things I had to do so I got down to it. Ms. Janet was busy prepping the turkey. It’s pretty cool that TLP studios has its own good kitchen with an convection oven that can fit a turkey!
As with all assisting experiences…you always learn something. Ms. Janet taught new techniques on how to make my poultry and vegetables look better and she also let me do some of the vegetables for the shoot. She would also tell me what she was doing and why, which was pretty cool! They came out with a turkey ready for the Christmas season (hopefully I will be able to see this stunning picture someday). It was nice to see that her light-heartedness and humor was present on the set to make the shoot more relaxing. It’s kind of funny how, in the Philippines, you actually hear of grumpy food stylists (oh how hard is that!) from photographers and people from production.
After the client gave her okay and left, we wrapped up and cleaned up. Ms. Janet took me to the best prop house in Sydney – the china squirrel. It was simply a big warehouse full of all the props you could think of for food styling — surfaces, plates, glasses, utensils, tables, linens, trinkets, pots, pans, in all forms, in all colors, in all finishes. Basically I got a headache from all the things my eyes had to absorb in such a short period of time. Apparently, things down to spoons can be rented from this prop house (which as I saw, was about $7 each for a spoon) which the client pays for…how convenient is that?!
I really had a great time assisting and learning from Ms. Janet. Talking to her about our work and seeing the work she has done has given me a new drive to push even harder next year. Here is Ms. Janet’s website for all you peeps who are pretty curious about the work that she’s done (and they are absolutely beautiful!) http://www.janetmitchellfoodstylist.com/.