Drop the Beet

Victoria Granof


1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it? 

Drop the Beet, November 2019

2) How did you get into directing? 

In my work as a food stylist and creative director, I’ve typically come into the creative process earlier than most other stylists. I’ve always loved being involved holistically in a project, from set design to copywriting to styling. Directing was a natural extension of that. It was Becky (Donahue) and Thomas (Schauer) of TASTE who took a chance on me.

3) What is your most recent project? 

I am working on a story of ketchup, from the purview of a coquettish tomato.

4) What is the best part of being a director? 

I love giving life to a project, taking an idea from conception to birth. Love the process of collaboration, working in a team and sparking off of each other, moving forward, pivoting, changing direction but keeping focus. It’s a real thrill to find that you’ve made an emotional connection between your work and the people watching it.

5) What is the worst part of being a director? 

The worst is also the best: knowing that I’m responsible for the entire project. Requires loads of meditation.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre--comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 

I’m very focused on commercials and branded content, with food as the main focus, though I do love working with cosmetics.

7) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you? 

I worked with the late Irving Penn for ten years and from him I learned how to stop (when you “have” it), and how to compose images with hierarchy and restraint.

8) Who is your favorite director and why? (Response may be up to 125 words)

Agnes Varda! Her humor and playfulness, her lightheartedness, her cheekiness, her use of real people, real places, women, marketplaces,...and an Instagram account at age 90!

Fellini, Marco Ferreri, the Dalí/Disney collaborations, Wes Anderson’s camera angles, Visconti’s sets.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 

I saw The Red Balloon when I was in kindergarten and it marked me forever (In the best way). Destino by Dalí and Disney, La Grande Bouffe, Soy Cuba, Il Gattopardo

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?) 

I grew up in L.A., studied art and design, then baked cakes and tarts for restaurants and coffeehouses for fun. When I found that I loved cooking at least as much as I loved art and design, I sent myself to Le Cordon Bleu in London. Fast forward a few years to my dating a food photographer, who introduced me to food styling. After a few years spray mounting sesame seeds to burger buns, I moved to New York where I could combine food, art and design in a more conceptual way. It was my decade long collaboration with the late Irving Penn up until his death that really formed who I am now as a director.

11) How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?

Well, I have a strong spiritual core so it didn’t send me anywhere dark, fortunately. For the first few months I leaned into the not working, not DOING; I purged--both things and people--and finally got bored. I did a lot of bartering and remotely collaborated on a project called Barter, Baby, a zine exploring the act of bartering for goods, and how we place value on our time and output.

I’m actually enjoying the new way of working--with lean sets, an economy of bodies, and greater intention. I’ll be happy when we can unmask ourselves, though. I miss seeing people smile.


Contact Becky Donohue, Executive Producer, TASTE via email