Get to Know: Sydney Food Stylist, Yael Barkhan

The woman behind Sydney Food Stylist is Yael Barkhan, She's a passionate creative, who loves styling beautiful events, drool-worthy food dishes and creative "instagramable" content. Spend five minutes with Yael and you'll see that her passion for these beautiful creations is contagious. Get to know her a little better...

Sydney Food Stylist

What’s led you to "Sydney Food Stylist? I have spent over a decade styling beautiful events.  Styling, theming and designing stylish parties, weddings, private events, PR launches and kids' parties.  From beautiful table-scapes, grazing tables and styling all my own floral designs.  Having worked with caterers at events and creating beautiful food set ups is something that I have loved doing so stepping into the food styling space was an easy progression for me.

What study have you done? I am actually a trained speech and drama teacher.  I have also studied marketing, PR, fashion and design after finishing school.  I have worked in the film and entertainment industry launching new releases and putting together creative briefs. 

When and how did you start events and then progress to food styling? I started selling flowers at a small flower kiosk.. from there I was approached to style an event. It kinda snowballed from t and the seed was planted.  I have always offered grazing tables and dessert bars as an add-on to my styling.  Lots of clients want more of a nibbles offering at their events rather than full-service catering.  Working with food and displaying food beautifully has always come naturally to me especially when combined with my love of flower art.  

professional food stylist

Why do you love food styling? This is a space where I  disappear to my magical creative place. It's my 'nirvana'. Making food look even more 'delicious' through styling and display is a space that just fits!  After all, we eat with our eyes! 

Finish this sentence. “On a shoot day, I am…. like a kid in a candy store! Not limited by my imagination...anything is possible!  I spend hours looking for the perfect pieces and props so my vision can translate into something beautiful.  I put love into all that I do!  

How would you describe your style at home? I would describe my style at home as casual hamptons, pretty chic, a loved in and lived in homely space! Always flowers, pot plants and something bubbling on the stove! 

Hamptons Style

What do you love most about what you do? Everything. It's my 'true north' creating and seeing the end result, nothing gives me greater satisfaction!  When I dream up a styling look and see the end result, this for me is the perfect moment.  As a compulsive creative! My family are always teasing me when they see all the 'crazy' antics that go on to get the perfect shoot!

Are you a good cook? How would you describe your cooking style? Hmmm... Well... I love food so I would have to say yes (although fussy kids may disagree) my cooking style is predominantly family-friendly cooking.  I spend hours in the kitchen with four boys to feed it's endless and everyone is always hungry! With my styling, I get the creative freedom to be more experimental whereas the boys really like yummy fare nothing fancy.  

Any memorable jobs you’ve worked on? Yes, I have styled amazing parties for Jackie O (her daughter's 4th birthday party) that was a highlight as the party was featured on the Daily Mail!  I also did a beautiful set up at Kirribilli House. Other memorable events was when  I also styled a seafood luncheon held  in a boat shed with the Sydney Harbour lapping at the guests' feet.  It was an incredibly authentic experience hosted for 40 Stanford graduates.  

Any food you can’t live without? I always start my day with a weak almond latte - it's my fix and I have been known to travel quite a distance to find the best coffee made just as I like it!  I have a real sweet tooth so I would have to say chocolate!  Even my dog is chocolate!  Oh and olives I eat jars at a time! 

Sydney Food Stylist Yael Barkhan

Favourite meals/restaurants/ingredients? Anything with rice, Portuguese-style chicken with dipping sauces.  A gorgeous green salad heavy with feta and olives!  I love Mediterranean food  lots of little dishes with dips, olives, bread, cheeses that for me is heaven!  Pheast in Bronte - has amazing share plates and fresh local produce.  A family favourite is Silvas in Petersham - best Portuguese chicken and espitados with creamy pepper sauce!  For the best fresh bread, I buy my sourdough at the Shuk Bakery in Bondi...they make an amazing walnut and raisin loaf,  Yummy breakfast we frequent Kepos Street Kitchen - modern middle eastern food very homely ambience. 

How would you describe your everyday life?  I am a busy mum of 3 gorgeous boys, an amazing husband and one furry baby!  A soccer mum who spends most afternoons doing soccer lifts and then dashing back home to cook dinners for my hungry brood!  I love connecting with nature and try most mornings do a beautiful coastal walk in that time I think and dream up lots of creative ideas. I am dreamer and somewhat of a unicorn.  I take in all the details around me and this gift is what sustains me... my creativity is what keeps me level in a household of lots of testerone! (haha)

A few more things I love:

  • Good coffee
  • Chats and Hugs (when I get them) with my teens
  • Park walks with my pooch
  • Online shopping 
  • Mad flower lover
  • Being busy & having lots of projects on the go
  • Spending time with like-minded creatives and people with spiritual perspectives
  • Entertaining and styling beautiful tables 
  • Making delicious cocktails
  • Watching loads of reality tv (guilty pleasure) 
  • Eating out and discovering new watering holes in Sydney

My best saying:

"Assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled" Wayne Dryer

"Do what you love and love what you do."

"Love is in the detail." (that's how I live my life - every detail is planned out when I do my styling)

Sydney Food Stylist