What is a Home Economist?

Wendy StrangI’m sure that there are lots of people out there who haven’t heard the term Home Economist or Food Stylist but may have wondered who it is that produces recipes in magazines and cookery books, cooks the food for the photographs, tests kitchen equipment and writes the detailed instructions for cookers and other household appliances.

The role of the Home Economist is very diverse and it is usually someone who has completed a degree in Home Economics or Consumer Science and who has a lot of experience working within the food and retail/manufacturing industry.

You can be assured that recipes will have been well tested before reaching a book or recipe leaflet and cookers and other appliances will have been put through their paces before reaching the consumer. Cooker companies sometimes offer an after-sales service of having an expert come into the home to explain how to use the new cooker by cooking with the new owner (generally charged as an extra cost) and some companies offer public cookery demonstrations which is a fun way to show the cooker off to it’s full potential, giving lots of hints and tips to the new owner.

Over the coming months I will be writing about the best ways to get the most out of your cooker, giving seasonal recipes and tips to help get great results at home.

The recipe below for Cherry Frangipane Tart uses fresh cherries, available in stores now. Don’t despair though, if you can’t get fresh cherries at other times of the year just use canned pitted cherries, making sure that they are well drained before use. Also, if you prefer not to make your own pastry, use ready made pastry available in the supermarket chiller section or a pastry case.



175g plain flour
100g butter at room temperature
Few teaspoons cold water


2 medium eggs
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
1 teaspoon almond essence
150g fresh cherries, stones removed


1. Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180 C (170 fan)
2. Sieve the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add just enough water to form a firm dough. Roll out and line a 20cm metal flan tin. Place half of the cherries in the bottom.
3. Beat the eggs, butter, sugar, almonds and essence together until light a fluffy, spoon over the cherries, then add more cherries on top, make sure the filling covers the pastry base.
4. Place onto a baking tray and bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is golden and set. Serve warm or cold with cream.

About Our Expert Contributor

Wendy Strang has been working as a consultant Home Economist/Food Stylist for over 20 years for a variety of food and appliance manufacturers, writing recipes, styling food for stills photography and film for advertising and editorial purposes. Wendy also gets involved with cookery demonstrations for appliance and houseware companies. Prior to working on a freelance basis She was Head office Home Economist for Iceland Frozen Foods and before that for Kraft Foods. Wendy has recently been on the judging panel for The Grocer Own label Food and Drink Awards.

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