Person of Interest: Professional Food Stylist Judean Sakimoto

Westminster native Judean Sakimoto is a professional food stylist who has worked with many of the county’s top restaurants and food brands.
Photograph by Emily J. Davis

What does a food stylist do?

I’m not the photographer. I style the food for photos or videos. Sometimes I’m at restaurants shooting a menu. Then there are a lot of things that are live action, like for a commercial. 

How did you get into this? 

It happened by accident seven years ago. My husband does marketing. He has a client who owns a high-end olive oil company, and he hired a chef to create some recipes using their olive oil. I would test the recipes at home. We started putting them on plates and taking pictures of them so we would remember what they looked like. I started playing with it, and the photos were used for their social media. Then when they hired a real photographer, he found out I had been doing the food styling, and I got to work with him and learn more.

Who have you worked with?

Norms Restaurants, SOL Mexican Cocina, Truff Hot Sauce, Kodiak Cakes, Poached Neighborhood Kitchen, South of Nick’s, and Slater’s 50/50, to name a few.

What’s the hardest part about being a food stylist? 

Dealing with how much food is wasted. To get maybe one good hamburger, you might go through multiple bags of buns to get that perfect bun. Then the rest all get thrown away. I would love to be able to donate it, but we can’t because if something makes somebody sick, it’s a liability.

Do you ever use fake food? 

I don’t use a lot of fake food, but sometimes. The most common one is ice cream. People use different things for fake ice cream, like mashed potatoes. I use powdered sugar and cake icing.  

See Her Work!