Food styling is definitely a thing. We sat down with one of Vancouver's preeminent experts in the field.
He may have made his name on Instagram, but food stylist and chef Juno Kim (@jun0k) is a design powerhouse offline, too. Besides running his eponymous catering business, he’s also shaping the visual language of our food experiences through work on film and TV projects (iZombie), print features (Western Living) and pop-up dinners (or brunches—Kim doesn’t discriminate) all over the city. His textured, colourful dishes, each served up without pretension, spotlight not just the joy of cooking, but also the power of a visual feast to bring people together. Why is design important? I think design can be powerful. From an intellectual standpoint, for example, most designers can design a door handle in a way where people understand that you have to push or pull without explicitly telling them—good design is something that we, maybe, take for granted at times. But also design can create lots of emotion and appreciation in different ways with lots of people. How would you describe the design scene in Vancouver? I think Vancouver’s design scene is very developed. I think it still has room to grow but so many people are doing so many interesting things throughout the city, whether that’s in fashion, food, architecture, art. The way to keep progressing our scene in Vancouver is to keep the talent here and make sure that we help each other grow because we are a younger city compared to New York, L.A., Toronto. I think the talent is here; we just have to develop that culture and appreciation for it. How do you think your work specifically has made an impact on the way Vancouverites experience each other and the city? I think where I may have had a bit of influence is through my love of collaborating with people. I love working with other people—celebrating each other’s strengths and even weaknesses at times. I think every industry benefits from people coming together and working together rather than being ultra-competitive, and so I try to do my part to celebrate our combined love of cooking food. What does a food stylist do? We usually make the on-camera food you see when you’re watching a movie and you see a scene where people are dining or there’s food on the table. We’re the ones that create the food that’ll match the script and the context. We also create different foodscapes that will translate really well for print media. What do you love most about styling food and being a chef? I like the fact that I’m working with things hands on and working with things that are temporary because most ingredients will go bad. You’re combining things together to create something new, and I like the ability to take a bunch of ingredients and transform it into something it wasn’t before.