2 minutes with Caroline Velik
Occupation: Food stylist
How did your career take you into food styling?
My first university course was at RMIT, where food photography was a second-year elective. I was hooked! However, I was side-tracked for a while through my love of restaurants and worked with some great Melbourne identities at Rosati, Cafe Di Stasio and Dogs Bar. After travel, marriage and three children, I refocused on finding my passion.
Although I didn’t realise at the time, all the random jobs and experiences gathered along the way had equipped me for the many facets of this career.
What does a typical day on a photo shoot involve?
The great thing about this job is that there is no typical day. It’s always different. However, there is always shopping, early morning dashes to markets for fresh (and hard to find) ingredients, always props and backgrounds to be loaded and unloaded, briefs to be read, schedules, lists and lots of great cooking. Working in a team with other creative people is lots of fun. Then we take loads of great shots and sometimes we get to eat what we’ve cooked. This is followed by the very unglamorous job of washing up and packing down.
What chefs have you worked with? Who is your favourite?
As a stylist, I have worked with many great Melbourne chefs including Abla Amad, Greg Malouf, Paul Wilson, George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan, Guy Mirabella, Dani Valent, Karen Martini, Matt Preston, Adrian Richardson, Matt Wilkinson, Phillippa Grogan, Gabriel Gate, Shane Delia, Stephanie Alexander, Elizabeth Chong and Curtis Stone. I’m not telling you who my favourite is!
What's in your secret box of stylist tricks?
My stylist's kit keeps getting bigger and bigger as I discover more gadgets that I simply can’t live without. I always have my Kasumi knives, Evian spray, heat gun, blow torch, tweezers, paintbrushes, cotton buds, dental floss and lots of tea towels.
If you weren't a food stylist, what would you be doing?
It’s hard to decide. In my fantasy life, I’d be a pastry chef. I also love ceramics, gardening and teaching. I would be very happy with any of these options.
Do you have any tips for our ladies wanting to crack into the world of food styling?
Make sure that you have great cooking skills and thorough knowledge of food. A bit of food science is also helpful. If you are also interested in props styling, you need to keep up to date with the latest looks. Luckily this involves reading food magazines and cookbooks and lots of shopping expeditions. Finally, just have the courage to get out there and do it.
And now you have launched your own studio The Laneway Studio, tell us about that?
This has been a very exciting project for me. It's a great warehouse in Hawthorn with a purpose built kitchen that has been designed for both filming and stills shoots. It is completely kitted out with every piece of equipment and is a dream to work in. I have my extensive collection of props and backgrounds there. It will all be available to hire. I’ll keep you posted.
You can follow Caroline on Instagram @carolinevelik