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. »