THE cup and saucer containing my flat white reminded me very much of Istanbul, Turkey. So quaint and intricately designed, I just had to snap a photo.
As I started to position the cup and saucer in a way that would best showcase the design, I suddenly became aware of a pair of watchful eyes. Not just any stranger’s, but particularly those from renowned food stylist Eunice Martin, who just arrived for the interview.
The 23-year-old is already making waves as a food stylist. She was recently named Top Food Influencer from Malaysia at the Influence Asia 2017 Awards at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Martin’s remarkable body of work belies her age, with big names in the food industry as some of her clients.
Born in Puchong to parents who hail from Penang, Martin started off as a food blogger at 17.
“I read a lot of food blogs. I like scrolling through blogs and Pinterest, and see how people take photographs of food.
“I am fond of pictures that look nice, with some effort put into taking those shots.
“That was how I learned the tricks of the trade, so to speak,” she told the New Sunday Times in an interview recently.
As a food blogger, Martin didn’t just write about food, but also presents food photography in a creative manner.
“I put effort into the food items for the shot, so that when people read my blog, they will say ‘hey, you have nice photos’.
“Then, people started asking me if I do food photography for a living. From there, people began commissioning me to take photos for their restaurant. The rest, as they say, is history.”
The food stylist and photographer, who is also active on social media, said her clear direction in life stemmed from her humble background.
“Since I was 7, I have learned how to look after myself because my parents had to work. Before leaving the house in the morning, I would prepare my own breakfast and then take the bus to school,” she said.
For her first food review, Martin said she had to beg her parents to allow her to go out.
“My parents were concerned about my safety because they didn’t know the food bloggers I was going to meet. Over time, I shared with them works by the food bloggers until they became more comfortable with the idea of me going out to do the same.”
Her food styling kit contains a chopping board, cloth, cutlery, a table cloth, cotton buds, syringe and a pair of tweezers, among others.
“My style is simple, clean, straightforward, minimalist and whimsical,” she said, adding that she had more than 47,000 followers on Instagram.
For a full photoshoot, she has two or three boxes full of props and various backdrops that she brings herself.
Having been nominated and making it to the top four of the food category in the Influence Asia 2017 Awards, Martin said she felt proud of the recognition.
How does she challenge herself to be different?
“Push yourself to do something you are not initially comfortable with,” she said.
“In my opinion, flatlays have become rigid and boring. It is the same thing over and over again.
“I am always thinking of ideas, even when I am not working.
And it always revolves around food,” she said, adding that she turned to magazines, online websites, Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration.
When asked what’s next for her, she named video editing and hosting a travelogue.
“I don’t like being idle. At the same time, I don’t think I’m moving fast enough.
“People say you should not underestimate yourself, but you should. You should always underestimate yourself so that you continue to improve.”