Posted on February 01 2018
You know those great looking foodie photographs that make you both hungry and desperate for some gorgeous new ceramic plates? They’re Kate Flower’s speciality. The Fremantle based food stylist works with the likes of Sweetlips, Kinky Kondiments, WA Potatoes and Golden Eggs, developing recipes to showcase their products and styling them look amazing. As evidenced by her Instagram feed, she’s also a bit of a sucker for the dineware we stock at Pekho.
How does one get into food styling?
By doing it! I’ve been in the food industry for 25 years. I had my own catering business at 21. I ran Anna Gare’s catering business before she went on to concentrate on her TV career. I’ve done restaurant management and event management, and I’ve always cooked. I wanted to focus more on the creative side, so I started and just kept practising.
Describe your personal style.
Casual, approachable and comfortable. My food is similar – rustic and Mediterranean. People see my food and think ‘I could probably do that’, not ‘Oh my God, where would I start and why would you bother?’ I’m into simplicity, and I’m also into the food speaking for itself. Rather than styling the hell out of it, I prepare food that’s photo ready – colourful, fresh and appealing.
What makes a great looking plate of food?
Using great products. When I’m styling for photography, I make sure each piece of produce is in peak condition. And like any good art, there’s got to be contrasting colours, textures and layers.
How important is the dineware?
Really important. In a sense that sets the tone for what you’re tying to create, be it some casual Mediterranean food or something more sophisticated. Dineware is definitely a way to convey the story.
Are there rules of thumb when you’re considering plates, bowls and napery?
It needs to work with your food. I love the Concept Japan range but the food needs to be simple because the plate is quite busy. Likewise those vintage tin plates from Thailand are beautiful. A few pieces of that for plain food will always put a smile on your face.
If you’ve got busier food, you need a plate that’s quite simple. Neutral colours are great; you can always add a pop of colour with smaller things like vases – I got a great Urban Eden one from Pekho recently. You can add texture with napery. Layering one plate on top of another is also a good trick.
What would you go for if you were starting afresh with dineware?
Something classic with neutral tones. At the moment dineware with organic shapes and finishes is really in. It might be rough, speckled or look like it has a mistake in it – it’s become quite a forgiving medium. That said you can spend a lot of money on a trending item, and then find it’s out of fashion. So whatever you buy you need to love it, don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Also, it should feel really beautiful in your hand.
Are plain white plates just over?
Yeah, they are. It’s time to move on. You can go neutral, but be brave and go for something that really appeals to you. Sometimes white is harder to mix and match, too. A muted ceramic works really well in photographs.
Where do you stand on square plates?
Booo. I personally don’t like them. I think they remind me of some of the early 90s restaurants. Round has that nice organic feel. When something looks natural, that’s when it works.
Photography by Georgina barker Photography, Food Styling By Kate Flower.