Meet Katie Marshall – baker, maker and food stylist extraordinaire

  • Issue no. 1

As we were looking at doing TaH magazine, we had this fabulous idea that we could Spotlight hidden parts of the industry, champion the niché jobs, give the unsung heroes their moment in the sun, or simply give you an insight into all the work that goes on behind the scenes to makes content work. 

So for the very first addition, I thought I would share one that I am super passionate about, and that is the importance of a stylist on set for Food and Beverage shoots. It’s often overlooked when budgets are tight, but they really are the photographer’s best friend on a food shoot. Whilst we work with some amazing photographers that have a keen eye and attention to detail, people often forget that so much time and energy goes into making sure the shot is right, and that asking them to also make sure the subject is pristine is a lot of work for one person. It’s like asking a photographer to do your make up on a portrait shoot. 

I honestly can’t tell you how invaluable it is to have someone with that unique skillset on set, with all the tools, gadgets, and tricks up their sleeve to make your serve perfection!

To give us a little more insight, I managed to grab a quick 5 minutes with the amazing Katie Marshall – baker, maker, and stylist extraordinaire! 

Food and drinks styling is one of those incredible jobs that not many people understand or even think about when they’re reaching for their favourite cookbook or magazine – how do you describe what you do?

My job is to make food and drinks look their best –  careful tweaks and tweezes to make things shine. Generally, I tell people that I cook, and then try to present things with an optimum appeal.

It really requires a keen eye and a unique set of skills – everyone I have worked with has always had really different routes getting into their career – how did you get started?

Agreed! A lot of people tumble into this role after a few twists and turns. I started off down a journalism route, veered into a desk-job at a food magazine, and then realised that food styling and recipe development (often going hand-in-hand) was an actual career. Cue me saving up to do a cookery diploma 8 years ago and then working around and up from there. 

Now, you might hate me for asking this, but quite often the need for a stylist can be overlooked, particularly when budgets are tight. Tell us why we need you: what makes a good food stylist?

 Aside from a tool-kit full of tweezers and potions, we have the attention to detail that can take a dish or a drink up a notch. We work with food 24/7, and with a lot of different clients, so our overview can sometimes almost serve as another source of art direction. We know what looks good, we know what appeals, we know how to elevate. 

This is an important one, what tips can you give people hiring you or a food stylist to make sure you are able to create your very best work?

Detailed briefs and a clear sense of the art direction mean a shoot runs a lot more smoothly and efficiently on the day. If we all know what we’re doing, we can achieve those dream shots. 

Your cakes are particularly mouth-watering, but which cake have you created that you will never forget? 

Baking abroad always adds an element of surprise. My inability to read foreign food labels and much higher temperatures than the UK really adds to the sense of Great British Bake Off stress.

 I don’t want you to share all your secrets, but have you got a surprising little hack for us?

Strangely I think the magic is in some organised chaos. Styling is about making loose shapes, so I think the only hack is in trying (really hard, and with a bit of precision) to make something look very easy and free!

Lastly, content aside – have you got any tips or tricks to help spruce up our serves at home?

It’s all about the garnish and colour. Never underestimate the value of a sprinkle of fresh herbs or chopped chilli, a good coarse grind of black pepper or a final (and tactically artistic) drizzle of olive oil. 

Photo credit : Faith Mason

Hopefully, these has been helpful insights into the world of food styling! When planning your next Food and Beverage shoot, make room for a stylist in your budget; when you’ve done it once, you’ll never look back. 

To see more of Katie’s amazing work check her website or instagram.

Chris Hill
Senior Photo Producer, Wonderhatch

If you think you’ve got something exciting to share about your travel and hospitality job over a glass of tequila, pop Chris an email at

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