The Gluten and Dairy Free Food Stylist, Pascale Kim Yamashita
Tell us a bit about yourself! Specifically can you share what it’s like to work as a food stylist?I am a French born Korean who has been living in Japan the past 17 years now. I have been living in different countries since I was little including Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. So food from different places was always something we appreciated as a family growing up.
I am also a mum to a beautiful teenager, am a wife and a self-taught cook and a designer. 3 years ago I shifted more towards food styling as I am getting more of these jobs than the other. My prior experience as a designer does inform my current work. As they say here that “we eat with eyes then mouth” right?
Also, since food has been such a big part of my life and I started cooking early it just makes sense that I do this now and I am very grateful. Working as a food stylist is really a job where I get to put together everything I am and everything I like. Obviously, I love creating beautiful things and I love eating so put that together and there is the dream job. It would be a lie if I said there is zero pressure but that’s a healthy challenge in my opinion when I get to create and style food that people can enjoy.
How often do you make bento?I actually make them almost every day as my daughter still goes to school and I have been making them for my husband too since the pandemic. I think there will be many more to come :)
How do you decide the menu for your bento?
Years ago, I made them according to what school menu my daughter had. My daughter no longer has school lunch so now, I make them from prior experience and also do lots of experimental side dishes, pre-cooked dishes that make things easy in the morning and also try out new plant based products on the shelf for fun.
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You often make beautiful plant-based bento. Is it difficult to find plant-based ingredients in Japan?
Oh thank you, I am so flattered.
Traditional everyday home cooked Japanese meals involve very little meat to start with and I am so lucky to have access to Japanese ingredients as I live here. So it’s easy to reflect that in my bento box. Also there are tons of plant based eating tips on the net that goes into my bento too. We definitely do not have as much variety of plant-based ingredients in Japan as in the West but there are always ways to substitute so I am happy with that :)
Pascale's kimbap made with vegan sausage
Any bento tips or hacks you’d like to share?
I find that filling bento with more than 2 repetitive colors makes things interesting. Symmetric, repeating patterns make things really eye-catching, I think that’s pretty much my style summed up.
Onigiri (riceball) bento in the Ojyu Bento Long | Black bento box.
Thank you Pascale for chatting with us! It’s fascinating to hear what goes on behind the scenes of these talented bento makers and helpful to hear their personal techniques to make beautiful bento creations.
Have some bento-making advice of your own? We’d love to hear from you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know your favorite bento making tip/hack with a picture of a bento meal made by you, for a chance to be featured on our blog!