Producing high-end digital food photography at the professional level is a team effort. Chefs, food stylists, prop stylists, and assistants are all a part of the team. Establishing good relationships with these professionals and associates is fundamental to furthering your career. I have been working for The French Culinary Institute for more than 20 years. I've met many chefs and other notable industry professionals there. It has been a great networking source.
Here's some of the esteemed faculty, associates and graduates of The French Culinary Institute. The French Culinary Institute (The FCI) has been rated one of the top 10 culinary schools in the United States and Canada.
The Internet is a valuable resource for identifying and contacting stylists and other prospective team members. For example, you can offer your services to shoot for their portfolios while they do the styling, and you both have pictures to show potential clients. What's more, you've extended your circle of contacts, and you have added more people to your "sales force." It's a win-win situation!
Sites like www.craigslist.org are very useful for reaching other creative individuals.