“I love that I get to get my hands dirty and do something I actually enjoy.”

Alex Blake, 34, Food Stylist

When you see photos of a perfectly prepared meal in an advertisement or cookbook, do you ever wonder how it looks so flawless?

Alex Blake, senior graphic designer at The Fresh Market, can tell you about all the preparation that goes into creating that picture-perfect cuisine.

When working with certain foods, it can take a long time to get the perfect shot.

“If you have a steak perfectly medium rare, it only stays pink for so long,” she explains, “You have to be prepared with multiple steaks.”

In her role at The Fresh Market – a Greensboro-headquartered grocer with 187 stores in 27 states – Alex styles food and designs packages and layouts for in-store publications. From shopping for the ingredients to preparing the food and directing the photo shoot, Alex does it all.

Alex started as a graphic designer nine and a half years ago, but her role has evolved to be an in-house food stylist. “I really enjoyed [food styling], and my boss encouraged me to do more of it” Alex says, “I love that I get to get my hands dirty and do something I actually enjoy. And I love that I’m not sitting in a cubicle.”

“Working for The Fresh Market immersed me into the world of food and I was forced to learn a lot more,” she says, “I started cooking more at home and became extremely passionate about it. Making beautiful meals makes other people happy, too. It’s really satisfying.”

Alex realized that food was just another creative outlet.

“Creating food and recipes and working with flavors is a very creative thing to do,” Alex says, “It allows me to flex creative muscles that design software just doesn’t do for me.”

She does a lot of research and preparation to make sure she is keeping her images fresh and unique with slicing techniques, propping and garnishes. Some of her inspiration does come from others though, “I love thumbing through cookbooks, I don’t think print is dead,” she says.

“I’d love to execute a cookbook or come up with something big for the brand.”

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