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Styling your own dish
By Cho Se-hee  |  Chosh90@naver.com
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승인 2010.03.05  14:20:03
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

By Cho Se-hee
News reporter

Color plays significant roles in many different fields. Among them, food has many colors and it is seriously influenced by color. Color is a critical season in a delicious cuisine. What a food stylist does is to complete a tasty dish laying out foods and its table. Kim Eun-ah, she graduated Chung-Ang University Food&Nutrition. 28-year old Kim is a food stylist. She keeps her blog with more 500 visitants a day. She is one of the promising and competent food stylists in Korea.

As a university student
Since her childhood, she has enjoyed making something and loved arts. She naturally wanted to study art, when she was younger. However, her family was ill off. “When IMF, my father voluntarily retired. Besides, my family had a late child who is eleven years younger than me. So I should have stopped dreaming of studying arts.” Entering the university, she had eventually found the job, ‘food stylist.’ She thought “If I do this job, I can art, design, making and cook.”
At first, she wanted to go Faculty of Culinary Arts. However she chose Food&Nutrition. “I thought it also do cooking. But there is less cooking time than I expected.” Thus she attended a cooking school privately. Though she said it is very useful now. “When the food stylist cooks in the television or class, the nutrition is always needed. Also when I write the food column, the nutrition is an essential part.”
As soon as she entered the university in 2002, she sent an e-mail to a food stylist in active service and began a part-time job without payment. “It was hard to commute between Anseong Campus and Seoul. So I arranged classes in 3 or 4 days a week. I did the part-time job the rest of days and vacations.”
Against popular opinion, she did a lot of university activity. She participated in ChungAng Sarang, student council and webzine ‘The pleasant news’. Furthermore, she has traveled overseas three times through university program. She said, “I enjoyed almost everything that I could do at the university. So I have much love of university.” Also in her department, professors supported and gave a styling practice chance to her. “I still keep in touch with professors. Sometimes I do the special lecture and meet juniors who are interested in food styling.”
Kim worked for free as an assistant food stylist. In addition to it, her parents set Kim on her feet in financially. Consequently, she did various part-time jobs. Through these experiences, she learned a lot. “As I worked at service industry like café or restaurant, I found I’m good at service. And worked as intern reporter or marketer, I learned how to make a project proposal. Also I met many good people while carrying out the part-time job.”
When she was junior, she published food and styling book under her own name. At senior, she got a job in Worldwide Food Culture institute. She worked here about a year. “Worldwide Food Culture institute is company. So I have to do same work every day. In addition, I became ill due to the stress of corporation work. Therefore I quit the company and set out on a trip to overseas.”

CAH: How was your trip abroad? Was it for study?
Kim: My plan was initially just to travel. But my major interest was ‘food’, so my journey had been naturally though markets, grocery stores and famous restaurants. For example, when staying in France, I had not visited to the Louvre Museum. It was not studying abroad, but through the trip, I met many good people also, learned about food and culture.

As a freelancer food stylist
Back from travel, she became a freelancer. At first, Kim had nothing to do. Thus she faced a financial problem. She fortunately started soon to write a column about foods thanks to a webzine alumnus. Through this, her carrier has gradually developed.
On her blog, there are not only various photos of foods but also advertisement and cooking class information. Most people think a food stylist is who just decorates the food more beautiful. But she said, “These days, the food stylist has become a brand. Therefore, it isn’t unusual thing the food stylist attends a home shopping program or a cooking class. I also joined Melbourne guide book publish as well.” Furthermore, she takes on the food of SBS new drama ‘Bad Guy’. She designs the food according to the situation and character. In addition she plans to go Vietnam for the exhibition of Kimchi. “The job description of a food stylist has not been defined yet in Korea. But I would say that the job is to do everything connected with foods. These days, buyers want a multi-tasking person. The food stylist have to cook the greater part of food, good at speech, writing and know the culture of other nation’s food.” She thinks this trend is positive since she can do and study many different things. She said, “What I am doing is quite hard to deal with sometimes but I enjoy it pretty much and love this job.”
Before she didn’t begin her food stylist carrier, she had liked to cook already. That is because she had grown up seeing what her mother cooked. After she to be a food stylist, there were many chances to cook not only for work but also for acquaintances. She said in joke, “But my joy of cooking suddenly disappeared as soon as I started my food stylist carrier. It sometimes gives me a lot of pressure when I especially cook for associates. I like to see people enjoy my food. But they also have much expectation. It naturally sometimes turns out a burden to me.”  
Kim said the best thing among what she did was choosing her own way early. She said, “My friends of nutritionists agonize about their job. They did the same thing about 3, or 4 years. Thus they got tired, but don’t know what they really want.” Especially she turned freelancer, she doesn’t have strain and worry. “I don’t have greed of money, because I really love my job. Actually it costs quite money to buy dishes and study. But I don’t think this is waste of money. And I always think positively like ‘everything will be okay’. It makes me relieve.”
Working as a freelancer, she met many other freelancers. From them, she learned the most important thing as a freelancer worker. “The most important thing when working alone is not to being lazy. I always go and sit in my office to make my work cycle stable otherwise my whole life will be crumbled.”

CAH: Haven’t you tried to do other jobs?
Kim: When I was a child, I wanted to be a teacher. I became food stylist but fortunately I have been also teaching in my inferior and cooking classes. I dreamt of being a flight attendant, once because of its worldwide traveling. My parents didn’t want me to be because of my trouble in health. Some of my stewardess friends said it is not really possible to travel after flight. However if I were them, I would get around here and there. 

‘The Eun-ah style’
She initially employed only two assistants. However, as the works has expanded, nowadays, she adopted company’s system. Kim has a lot of works to do so she arranged staffs in each team considering the type of work. And she controls the whole work. She plans to register of business under her own name. She will become ‘the head of a department’.
What is her dream or goal? Kim dreams of launching her own brand like famous Australia food stylist Donna Hay or American Martha Stewart. Donna Hay is widely well-known as her own simple style. And Martha Stewart has her TV program, magazine and the line of table service. She said “I will work on the field until my mid-thirties. After that, I plan to enter the graduate school. I want to study at the department of food stylist, design or food and beverage management. Then, I desire to make my own brand like ‘Eun-ah style.com’ same as my blog name.”
Her 24/7 is right connected with her job, ‘food.’ Kim has visited to the pottery making room as a hobby these days. It also connected with her dream which is making her own dishes. Also in her free time, she usually goes to the restaurant or market to find new menu, kitchen appliances and study recipe. “I don’t think it is a work because it is fun to me.”

CAH: What do you think color represents you?
Kim: I really like violet since young. Therefore, I have many violet items like clothes. My acquaintances say violet looks great on me. Violet is not normal and little weird. I think it is very charming although it is not as popular as red or blue. People say, “Your job is also not stable and so called main occupation. And your love of job and thought well matched with violet.” 

Lastly she said, “It is good for university students to have diverse experiences. Meet and network with many people, travel a lot and be exposed to various things. Maybe you don’t know the worth of it that tines, but it will lift your horizon in anyway.”

A lot of students these days seem to be only focusing on getting certified and TOEIC score to enter major company. Looking back on it, Kim Eun-ah’s life inspires us to find something makes us happy regardless money or company’s size. It is not too late still. If you find your own way while not the main field, you have to chase your dream. 

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