In our latest What’s Cooking, we talk to Jody Vassallo, founder of Jody Vassallo Beautiful Food. Find out how Jody balances all the hats she wears as a cookbook author, food stylist, publisher, health coach, retreat chef, events coordinator and stays true to her intention to rest, recharge and regroup on a regular basis.

Your name: Jody Vassallo

Your business’ name: Jody Vassallo Pty Ltd trading as Food by JodyV

Where are you based: Bangalow, NSW

How would you describe the business you are in? I write cookbooks, work as a food stylist, I’m a publisher, health coach, retreat chef, events coordinator and I do whatever other jobs come my way. My business is versatile.

What do you love about your job?  I love the variety, working with food and never knowing what the next phone call will bring.

What part of your job would you gladly give away? The worry, being a freelancer, it is either feast or famine. Sometimes I dream about getting a 9 – 5 job and giving up the stress but then the phone rings and another amazing job offer pops up. I wish I could relax more in the quiet times and trust there is work just around the corner.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career? Jamie Oliver is one of the biggest influences on how I conduct myself in my career. Jamie and I have worked together for several years now and I am always amazed at his humility and the way he encourages everyone he works with to aim high.

I would also have to say I am constantly inspired by the amazingly talented men and women in my business. These days everyone thinks they are a food photographer or food stylist but I have been blessed to work with some of the best in the world and I am so grateful for that. Ben Dearnley, Anson Smart, Jarred Fowler, Petrina Tinslay, James Lyndsay are some of my favourite photographers in the world and Sarah Tildelsley, Kirsten L Jenkins, Emma Knowles, David Morgan and Steve Pearce are extraordinary food stylists who continue to inspire me through their unique talent to make food on a plate a work of art. And then there are all those incredibly talented recipe writers and I can’t live without home economists!

If you were starting out in business again today, what advice would you give the younger you? Read contracts very carefully and then get someone who knows what they are doing and specialises in that area to read them and help you negotiate.

As for what I’ve learnt along the way as a food stylist, cookbook author, publisher, yoga teacher, health coach, retreat facilitator, there is huge value in pushing the pause button in your life. It is really easy to get caught up in success and let it cast a shadow over other very valuable aspects of your life.
Some very wise woman once told me to put a weeks holiday in my diary every three months and don’t move it and it was some of the best advice I ever got. Rest, recharge, regroup and get a different perspective – it works wonders.
The other lesson I’ve learnt is, never forget to feed and nourish yourself. Often those of us who work in food deprive ourselves of a good meal because we are either too busy or too tired. Don’t, no one does their best work when they are tired or hungry!

Tea or Coffee

Herbal tea

Sweet or Savoury


Sunnyside Up or Down 

Depends on if it’s fried egg or a sunshine egg

Red or White


Well Done or Rare 


Your go-to snack

Carrots with homemade hummus


Jody is a Females in Food VIP Member. For more about membership, visit here

We’d love to hear of your experience building your business or what inspires you about Jody’s story. Leave us a comment below.

The Females in Food team