Betsy Haley turned her background in fine art and her love of cooking into a career in food styling. Her blog betsylife.com features a variety of recipes, fun videos, and lifestyle content reflective of her home in California with her husband and dogs.

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When did you first decide you wanted to make food your career?
I decided to become a food stylist 7 years ago, but I’ve always wanted to make art my career. My chosen medium just happens to be food.

How did you get where you are today in the food business?
Education, dedication, professionalism and kindness. I’ve always been a curious person. I take countless seminars, I read everything I can get my hands on, and I ask a lot of questions. I love to observe and learn from other people’s methods. I practice my skills daily. I’m driven to improve. When people give me an opportunity, I never take it for granted. I always show up on time, work hard, and am gracious. Please and thank you still go a long way in this world.

What is your favorite food experience?
Eating-wise, I ate the 22-course summer menu at The Willows Inn in Lummi Island last summer. Incredible! Professionally was working on a beef-centric photo shoot on a cattle ranch in Texas and learning about generations of farmers.

If you had one last meal, what would it be?
Maybe In and Out Burger with Coconut Ice cream for dessert!

What is the most exciting thing going on in food right now, in your opinion?
Just that people seem to be cooking! With the power of blogging and Pinterest, recipes are more accessible and people are making use of their kitchens more than ever. I think it’s an important part of families and the history of humanity in general.

What advice do you have for young people who wanted a career in food?
Say yes! Try new things, and ask a lot of questions because you’ll never know what might interest you if you just give it a try.

What condiment is always in your refrigerator.
Ranch dressing.

What was your first cookbook?
My mom gave me a kids microwave cookbook when I was about 8. I made scrambled eggs every day.

What cookbook could not live without?
I’m not much of a cookbook reader. I get most of my cooking inspiration online.

What is your go-to recipe for entertaining? 
Devils on Horseback. Bacon wrapped, goat cheese stuffed dates. Always a crowd pleaser.

Where do you shop for food?
Sprouts, Berkeley Bowl, Amazon Fresh

What are you working on today and how will it impact your career/business? 
I’ve been working with lots of exciting local companies since moving to the Bay Area a year and a half ago. Every day is different with food styling, and I love getting to see first hand what’s happening in food innovation.

What chefs or blogs do you follow?
There are too many to count. I follow Richard Blais because he’s what’s happening in my beloved San Diego right now. I follow local chefs Dominica Rice and Preeti Mistry because I like to be involved in my local food scene, and hundreds of bloggers. People I’ve met throughout my career and people I admire.

What project are you working on now?
Helping create digital assets for Chef’s Catalog out of Napa. They launch their new site in September!

What have you gained from being a member of the SFPFS?
When I moved to the Bay and knew NO ONE, the members of SFPFS were incredibly welcoming. It helped my homesickness tremendously, and gave me great insights into the local food scene.

betsylife.com