Behind the Scenes: Dr. Oz’s Food Stylist Spills

082306 Showing Cook Ulli Stachl in her Home at 580 Huntington Boulevard in Peconic, Long Island, New York, holding Fruits and Vegetables.

Food stylist and chef Ulli Stachl talks about what it’s like to work for The Dr. Oz Show. In a candid interview she reveals how much work goes into prepping food for television, her favorite foods to cook and style, and even the things she’s made for Dr. Oz himself.

Q: How do you prep for a big show with a lot of recipes? 
First I get a look at the prop sheets with recipes or recipe requests and a suggested layout by the producer. Then, I start writing shopping lists to figure out my priorities in terms of what foods can be prepared ahead of time, what has to be done last minute, where I can find some of the unusual ingredients, and how to transport the food to preserve the look and taste.

Some of the ingredients for the recipes I can order online and others I just go to the grocery store for. Once all the ingredients are in my apartment I have a battle with my fridge for storage space: my family knows during show prep that the fridge is off limits!

Through my years of food styling I have learned that the recipes you have to work with often don’t work on the first try. So it’s essential that I test them out and adjust them until they do work. This process can be very time consuming and stressful, but it’s important to make sure I am presenting the viewers with recipes that work.

I do most of the prep work in my tiny New York City kitchen, since I usually only have very limited time to assemble everything once I arrive at the studio—The Dr. Oz Show starts rehearsal for the morning show at 8:15 a.m. and I have access to the studio and my “kitchen” (which is really just an electric hot plate) by 7:00 a.m., so it is always a time crunch. I can proudly say that, despite all morning rush, in my 17-year career of food styling I have never delayed a single segment or show. Read more  »