Tips on How to Become a Food Stylist

It can be hard work making food look appetizing, which is why being a food stylist requires a lot of patience, creativity, and formal training. Food stylists are responsible for styling and arranging plates for photo shoots, films, magazines, television commercials, and even high-scale restaurants.


Employers usually look for at least one year of prior food styling experience, and may want to look at your portfolio. Initially a food stylist must work as an assistant for another food stylist in order to gain work experience. They may also be required to buy tools and equipment.

Ice Cream Dessert.



There are all sorts of courses or seminars available in a variety of different states and cities. The lengths of these programs could range anywhere from two days to two weeks. These seminars are available in culinary schools and/or chef colleges, and can also be taught by a private instructor. A two-day workshop in food styling for example, could cost up to $700, while other week-long seminars cost $500. There are also food styling workshops online at for a one-time $99 fee. Here is a sample of some other seminars:


If you don’t have any work experience and/or a portfolio it may be a good idea to invest in a culinary arts diploma. It takes one to two years to complete depending on which program or school you choose. Culinary diplomas are available in culinary schools, chef colleges, and some trade/technical schools, universities and colleges.


A degree is not always required because food stylists tend to get work by providing a portfolio. Although there is no actual “food stylist degree,” some associate’s and bachelor’s programs may have coursework related to food styling, such as plate presentation, food science, and how to keep food warm for long periods of time.

Cake with Fruit.


A food stylist could work for any of the following:

  • Magazines
  • Cookbooks
  • Advertising companies
  • Television commercials
  • Film and TV sets
  • Restaurants
  • Casinos
  • Spas
  • Resorts
  • Hotels


Food stylists can make between $30,000 and $50,000 a year, however this depends on whether they are doing editorial or advertising work.

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29 Responses to “Tips on How to Become a Food Stylist”

  1. patricia hiraldo Says:

    hi, i have been a food stylist for over 15 years, in santo domingo, dominican republic. i have taken a couple of workshops with the Culinary Institute of America, and Food for Film. now i am interested in taking a workshop in Italy or Spain. could you advise me where to go? thank you and regards.

  2. Lucia Raffa Says:

    I would like to know where to go for a weekend course that is close to Boston, MA

  3. Holly Henson Says:

    I would like to know where I could take a food styling workshop near Columbus, Oh

  4. Kathy Redihan Says:

    I live in Las Vegas and have worked in the hospitality industry for 25 years in the Catering Service and Sales occupation. I am interested in persuing a food stylist career, but do not have a culinary degree or portfolio and was wondering if you could assist in giving me feedback on the best route to pursue this career? Thank you.

  5. tori brown Says:

    I would like to know if La Cordon Bleu is the right collage for food styling?????????

  6. Michael Polk Says:

    I am currently interested in becoming a food stylist I live in Baltimore,MD

    1021 w Cross
    Baltimore,MD 21230

  7. Anna McGuire Says:

    I am a high school student in Illinios, and I am thinking of pursuing a career as either a food critic or a food stylist. This article was extremely helpful and I thank you.

  8. puran singh Says:

    hi iam puran singh having a B.Sc degree in culinery ,iam a chef and i want to excell in food styling as i have a artistic and creative touch do tell me how can i persue further

  9. Ariana Victorica Says:

    Hi! Im from Mexico City and im interessted in a course of food stylist, and how long is the time to take all course, how much is the cost and the dates of this. thank u

  10. Debra Rowe Says:

    Iam 46 yrs old and have been working in the bakery industry for about 10 yrs,I am an experienced cake artist and currently teach baking classes at the community college. I have been interested in becoming a food stylist for some time,but have been focusing on getting my 3 daughters settled in college.Is it too late for me? and if not how do i get started??

  11. Nava Says:

    I am interested in persuing a food stylist career, but do not have a culinary degree or portfolio and was wondering if you could assist in giving me feedback on the best route to pursue this career? Thank you.

  12. Alice Zaharian Says:

    Im interested in food styling and fruit and vegetable carving. I like to make food look beautiful and appetizing. I am a very creative and artistic person who enjoys decorating the food on a plate or platter. I would like to know if there are any schools that cater to food styling as well as food writing and carving.

  13. Jane Says:

    I live in the Madison, WI area and would like to know where I can take a 2 day workshop for styling certification? Thank you so much.

  14. Ann Says:

    Hello!)) My name is Ann. I`m from Russia. I work in a big company here as a pack-designer and food-photografy. and I also have a question… where can I get an education of food-styling?
    Can somebody tell me about it?
    As I see It`s a big problem for all countries =)

    If you can help me – Welcome, please!

  15. Brandon Muhlenkamp Says:

    Hey where in the hell is the wages?

  16. karen cobb Says:

    Hi, do you know of a food stylist workshop in the Washington D.C. area? Thanks!

  17. Jenny Says:

    Hi I have been a chef for 10yrs and am looking to switch up my career to food styling. I have a very artistic eye and take pictures of dishes in progress constantly. How do I break into this field? I have a degree from the CIA, reside in NYC, and have lots of cooking experience.
    Where should I begin?

  18. lina Chebaro Says:

    Please do you offer food styling courses in July?


  19. jadie Says:

    are there any opportunities for advancement?

  20. karthryn Says:

    is 59 years old too late to become a food stylist?

  21. Mariam Says:

    I am from Egypt and i want to start food styling as a career, i have a diploma in culinary arts but i need to take food styling courses. The only ones i found only last two days and that really short. Can you please a dive where i can find the right courses ?
    Thank you

  22. Miguel Says:

    I have a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu. I want to know how to be a food stylist.

  23. dwayne murray Says:

    i am interested in the food stylist industry. looking for a food styling workshop near cleveland ohio, any help would be greatly appreciated.

  24. Donna Lafferty Says:

    Hi to All,

    I am an established food stylist who has been teaching Food Styling for over 20 yrs. in the Chicago area. I teach in the spring and fall of each year. My classes last 4 days with an occasional 2 day class in the summer.

    Please visit: to see my work and the work of some of my students.
    You may also find information about lodging while taking my class.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best regards,
    Donna Lafferty – International Food Stylist

  25. Susan. Brous Says:

    Please contact me with info on where I can get training in NYC for a food stylist. Thank you

  26. Zhou Wei Says:

    Hi, I am in China. I have strong interest of the area for food stylist. But seems there’s no related courses existed in China. which is really a pity.
    Do you have any related onsite course for stylsit diploma?
    meanwhile i hope i don’t need to quite my job of course.

    thanks and wait for your reply

  27. Brian Torres Says:

    I’ve always loved cooking, my mom would teach me and eventually she would get mad at me because I would always try to make the food look good, like pasta, salads, eggs & ect… I would also love taking pictures when I would go to restaurants. I never knew that their was such a thing as a food stylist but I really want to become with now that I know. I’m pretty good at cooking and taking pictures of different type foods considering that I haven’t had the proper training. I know that when I do receive it I will become a good food stylist, I just need the help.

  28. Felicia McClure Says:

    I will to become a food stylists. I already have associate degree in culinary and have been in the kitchen of restaurants for 8 years. I want to get out the get and explore more things in the food industry. So how do you start your career in food stylists and how can you become a food stylist assistant?

  29. Vo Nhy Dao Says:

    My dream is that to become a food stylist. I have worked on producing TV Commercial Video for 6 years. I have fallen with the food stylist career. Now, I would like to catch it up. I have experienced in producing TVC, I have had to assist for many food stylists for our TVC. Right now, I would like to join some suitable course and can to be a food stylist in the future even though not young anymore. Appreciated if getting any short course for being self confident on that field and any your advices.

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