Duckworth Dozen Eugene Jho

Photo courtesy of West Elm

Tell us all about you...

According to AI, I'm a botanist and plant pathologist, considered a leading expert on citrus diseases. When nudged to find another Eugene Jho, perhaps hinting at food stylist who lives in New York City, it says, "Based on my thorough online searches, I feel confident saying there does not appear to be any evidence that a food stylist named Eugene Jho exists."


What’s something inspiring you’ve seen this week? 

I just got back from vacation, where I saw a great show of Tacita Dean’s work. More recently, nature on my drive up to Connecticut for work. 


How do you prepare before a shoot? Tell us about the process for Reese’s Ice Cream.

First, I pray to the food styling gods that the product will arrive frozen and in the quantity that I've requested.  

Prepping for ice cream is all about temperature. There is an ideal temperature range that gives you just the right texture when you scoop, and this can be different for every type, flavor, and brand of ice cream. Finding that temperature—and giving the ice cream enough time to come to that temperature—is the most important step in the process.

Next, if the product is sent in small containers like you would find in the grocery store, I have to repackage the ice cream in a vessel that will allow me enough space to scoop. A commercial-size tub (the kind you would find at an ice cream parlor) is ideal, but I rarely get product that way, no matter how nicely I ask. 

Lastly, I have to prep the inclusions that are in the ice cream—Reese’s cups in this case—so that they’re ready to place in the scoops in case there isn’t enough visible naturally. 

When we are actually shooting, I set up a little box with dry ice to chill my scoops to help them last a bit longer on set. You can’t go too hard with the freezing, though, because then the ice cream can look too icy, which isn’t appetizing. I also have my assistant hold some dry ice over the product on set when the photographer isn’t shooting to slow the melting process. 

What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to style for a shoot? 

Many years ago, I had to "fabricate" a roasted chicken by gluing and sewing together different pieces of a chicken and a quail. It would not have been out of place on a Saturday morning cartoon. The client didn't understand (or refused to accept?) chicken anatomy or scale, so that's how that happened. 


Best advice for someone who wants to become a food stylist or something you wish you knew when just starting out.

You have to assist. Reach out to food stylists you admire and ask to assist. Have a strong culinary background, but also remember that this is ultimately a visual industry. Look at images you like to figure out what makes them work—composition, lighting, color, angle. What makes the food look good? Ultimately, the key is not knowing how to prepare the food, it’s knowing how to prepare it for the camera. 
People also think food styling is all about tricks. While there are plenty of those, the most important skill is being a problem solver. Being able to think on your feet, being resourceful, and thinking unconventionally to solve a problem is much more valuable than any trick you might pick up. 
Lastly, learn how to manage your money! Retirement may seem far, far away, but it is (literally) exponentially easier to save for it if you start early. 


Something you cannot live without? 

Coffee and wine. 


Last emoji you used? 

It's technically not an emoji but I've been sending an image of Kermit lying on his back a lot--kind of a dead Kermit emoji? As for actual emojis... I'm partial to the crying emoji or middle finger. 


Describe your work in three words. 

Me food pretty 

What would you be doing if you were not a food stylist? 

Interior design 


Describe your perfect day off? 

There's no single type of perfect day off for me, but it's generally unplanned and involves me doing, eating, and drinking whatever I want.  


Finish this sentence, you might not believe this but… 

I'm horrible at loading a dishwasher. 


Go-to song when you’re working? 

Whatever doesn't put me to sleep or make me feel like I'm at the club. That's a wide enough berth for most sets. 

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