Photography by: @kaylaroccaphoto
This spring we’ve teamed up with Vans to highlight their new Anaheim Factory Collection and introduce you to a diverse group of artists, small businesses, and creatives from across Canada, making a positive impact on their community.
We recently caught up with the beloved Toronto based food stylist, culinary producer, and recipe developer. And, between co-starring in, boisterous chef, Matty Matheson’s ‘Just A Dash’ YouTube series and running her CBD infused cookie company @MomJeansProvisions Michelle sat down with us to answer a few questions and show off her favourite pair of Vans from their new Anaheim Factory Collection.
First of all, could you introduce yourself? And give us a Readers Digest version of what being a ‘food stylist’ involves?
Hey, Hi there, I'm Michelle Rabin and I’m a food stylist, which means I make food look great for cameras. Most people think that being a food stylist means applying hairspray to turkeys and putting glue on hamburgers, but it’s not really like that. Food stylists are experts at making food look super appetizing for commercials and ads and there’s lots of tips and tricks that don’t involve anything but real food to make that happen.
When did you realize that you could take your love of the culinary arts and turn it into a career? Did you have a first big break or gig that really solidified this path?
My love for culinary arts is met with a great passion for art. Foodstyling is kind of like a perfect marriage of the two. Before I got started as a food stylist, my dream job was to work in the test kitchen at a magazine like Bon Appetite, experimenting with food and creating new recipes. My first big break was getting an internship position at Chatelaine Magazine doing exactly that. I began freelancing as both a recipe developer and food stylist afterward.
How would you describe your food styling aesthetic, and do you have a personal ideology for creating your work?
My aesthetic is driven by my appetite. I just want to make beautiful, delicious food and teach others to do the same. Cooking should be enjoyable and mistakes are bound to happen, and they are funny when they do!
What advice would you give someone looking to peruse a path in this field? What are some first steps or things to consider?
I say go for it! In the world of Instagram and TikTok, everyone has a platform to show their work and that’s a great place to start. If you’re really serious about entering this very niche world, try finding a local food stylist to be a mentor. Like any obscure job, you have to carve your own path. There’s no template or formal schooling, just dedication.
What are some of your fav places to eat in Toronto?
Bernhardt’s holds a special place in my heart. The food is super delicious, but what I love about that place is the vibe. I can always stop by for a cocktail to go, a delicious snack and a nice chat.
I also love cafe Polonez, a family-run traditional Polish restaurant that hasn’t changed a thing since they opened over 30 years ago. Nothing better than a reliable schnitzel, ya know?
When did you start working with Matty Matheson and how did the concept for ‘Just A Dash’ come to be?
Matty and I have known each other for years, but we began working together in 2017 on the Vice show, “It’s Suppertime”. The concept for Just a Dash came from Matty’s desire to self produce a cooking show: nothing censored, no script, no network to answer to. He hired a skeleton crew and the rest is history. We all dove in not knowing what we were about to make: the best cooking show of all time (obviously).
Can you tell us about your brand of edibles, “Mom Jeans?” Where did the idea come from and how has it evolved since you first started?
I didn’t invent weed cookies, but I did invent really delicious freshly baked cookies dosed perfectly and consistently. They are called Mom Jeans because the cookies containing thc are called “high rise” and those containing cbd are called “relaxed fit”.… get it? The brand has evolved due to its popularity and I’m so thankful for that. Mom Jeans has collaborated with so many amazing cannabis driven brands like Superette and Studio A-Ok.
Are you working on any new projects or have any exciting plans for the summer you would like to share?
I am working on creating my own show. I have lots of recipes, stories, and advice(that no one should take) to share with the world. Like it or not, the world is getting more Michelle.
What Vans are you wearing and why did you pick this pair today?
I'm wearing the Authentic — I love a classic shoe, and Vans is a classic brand. Why this pair? Clean, white and a gum soul. Chef’s kiss.
Any last words, shout outs or even just a cool movie we should check out?
Everything feels a bit rough right now because of Covid. So ya, shout out to the all the cooks hustling thanklessly in kitchens for take out. Shout out to my check out girl at the grocery store. Shout out to everyone who had to pivot to make things work.
And for a cool movie, I recommend getting a little high and watching Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. It’s weird and beautiful and weird.