Going Bananas! My Second Time as a Food Stylist for Dole (and Disney)

Get ready for the fruit puns. 😉

Last year, I had the joy of being a Food Stylist for Dole for the first time. And to get the opportunity to do it again? BERRY COOL! In case you missed it, you can read about the good, the bad, and the fruity in last year’s “Get Up & Grow Together” Tour post here. Spoiler alert: it didn’t go exactly as planned.

2017: Dole Partnered with Disney for the “Cars 3: Road to the Races” Tour

Unlike last year’s tour which stopped in 42 cities, Dole & Disney will only be appearing in 25 cities in 2017. (Eeee, lucky to be one of them!) All five recipes I prepared were created after one of the characters in the Cars 3 movie:

  • Lightning Berry Smoothie (Lightning McQueen)
  • Pineapple Pit-Stop Smoothie (Cruz Ramirez)
  • Crunchy Banana Roll (Jackson Storm)
  • Romaine Mandarin & Avocado Salad (Miss Fritter)
  • Buffalo Bites with Chicken & Pineapple (Smokey)

The Live News Segment on Good Morning Arizona

Now this was the fun part. Despite a somewhat early morning…okay, okay I only had to be there by 8 am, but I’m not a morning person…Ahem. Anyway, with the power of a double shot of espresso, I brought all the bowls, Tupperware, glasses, straws, and bananas I could fit into my tiny Prius C to the location. Then, I quietly set everything up in the news station. I say “quietly” because the 3TV news anchors were broadcasting live in (basically) the same room, only separated by a few prop walls.

You can actually hear them in the background in this video:

There weren’t any chuckle-inducing mishaps like last year, except a small blunder by the Dole spokesperson, Collin. When they did the live segment, he said that the Crunchy Banana Roll was covered in almond milk—he meant almond butter. 😳

In fairness, that damn almond butter was giving everyone grief. When my boyfriend was helping me buy all the groceries, he sat in front of the cow butter for …well… let’s just say too long before realizing that almonds’ udders are far too tiny to get that kind of butter out of ’em, and stores definitely keep it next to the other nut butters…not in the refrigerated section.

When the cameras started rolling, I captured this behind-the-scenes video of the segment…

Dammit Snapchat, training me to take vertical videos. 🙄

When all was said and done, I took the 3 lessons from 2016 and…

  1. Erred on the side of “too many” when asking questions. Last year, I had more of a casual, go-with-the-flow approach and assumed I would be featured in the news segment since previous Food Stylists were. (I wasn’t, which was a huge let-down.) This year, I’m really glad I did ask an abundance of questions, though, because a lot wasn’t clarified in the initial email exchanges…bringing a blender, for instance.
  2. Knew what I want for my time/resources and asked for it. There wasn’t much of a negotiation last year. They offered me an amount and I accepted. I assumed I’d be featured on the news with Dole, so getting paid anything seemed like icing on the cake. Since that wasn’t going to be the case, I felt more comfortable requesting different payment terms, knowing I’d be putting more hours into preparing/styling more recipes than last year.
  3. Eek, may have forgotten to learn the last lesson. It took nearly two months to be reimbursed for groceries and paid for my time last year because I didn’t clarify the timeline. I forgot to ask about payment terms again, so I suppose all I can say is that I’m expecting it to take that long this year.

What I Learned as a Food Stylist This Year

  1. I really, really like playing with food. With my ridiculous food allergies multiplying out of control (see #3 in this post), I haven’t gotten many opportunities to get creative with food lately. Being a Phoenix Food Stylist for Dole this year was a refreshing experience. It reminded me how passionate I truly am about concocting healthy, delicious food…then making it look radish-ing. (I warned you about these puns lol.)
  2. Thankfully, I learned most of my lessons last year. I was pleasantly surprised that everything went so smoothly. Hooray!
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