An All Things Food Related Workshop that you can think about!! January 23rd-28th 2017!

December 12, 2016

Feels almost like giving you guys an early Christmas present! I'm quite excited to announce this upcoming comprehensive foodie workshop in Charleston SC, January 23rd-28th 2017. Nothing like what we've done before! 

We'll share with you all the food related topics we can think about and that you may ask! Lots of casual Q&As by the fire and lots of demos. Food photo & styling, social media content, recipe developing & cookbook writing, hands on cooking demos with local chef John Ondo and our special guest Gina Homolka from Skinnytaste! So so excited!

The workshop is for all level, whether you are a blogger, photographer, recipe developer, foodie, working from home, or someone who just wants to broaden their horizon with like minded people in a relaxed atmosphere over hands on cooking classes, practical hands on food photography & styling demos, and casual Q&As by the fireplace where no topic is off limit.

Registration page HERE. 

We are thrilled to bring you such a wide variety of topics photo and cooking related: 
Understanding your equipments and how to choose the right tools and settings for the job. ISO, focal length, aperture. 
How to understand and utilize light no matter what you are shooting. 
Shooting darker, moodier images and bright lighter ones and the do’s and dont’s of each to achieve great results. 
Hands on demos of food and prop styling for recipe shoots or for gatherings. 
Photo for Instagram, Facebook or other social media content, shooting with a smart phone, use of filters 
Developing your brand/voice, social media and working with brands. Networking, sponsors, hashtags, groups, etc.. 
Developing original recipe and writing a cookbook 
pantry and equipment essentials 
Sourcing ingredients 
Cooking demos where John Ondo will share a few of his favorite Mediterranean influenced recipes 
Cooking demos where Gina will share some of her favorite Skinnystate recipes

All this right by the ocean. Which is a gorgeous place to be this time of year…

Note that the workshop is limited to 8 attendees so we can devote all our time and knowledge in a casual setting to the group.

Arrival day is January 23 by 4-5pm when we will start by a casual meet & greet at the beach home, followed by dinner prepared by Chef Ondo. Attendees will have an afternoon free to wander about Charleston get some personal work done or just chill. A trip to the docks to get fresh fish and a visit to a favorite antique store are also on the itinerary. Departure day is January 28th by 11am.

Registration is open HERE.

The workshop includes: 
All workshop sessions 
full accommodation 
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Refreshments and snacks 
Most rooms are shared - there is opportunity for single rooms on a first sign up basis
Workshop is limited to 8 people. 
Fee is $1875 (does not include travel fares to and from workshop) 
There will be no refunds for this workshop – please know you can attend before registering. Full payment due at time of registration, no deposit required.


DBO Home Tastemakers' Table

December 1, 2016

Cranberry Pomegranate Baked Brie
Like most photographers, I "met" Dana Brandwein and Daniel Oates through the prop stylists I've worked with along the years. As a lover of beautiful props myself, I instantly found myself drawn to their line of ceramics, DBO Home.

Cranberry Pomegranate Baked Brie
The funny thing is that on a photoshoot, we use plates and dishes for the photos, carefully clean them and put them away. We rarely eat from them. For some rare, one of a kind pieces, that makes sense. But not so for DBO Home's ceramics. I realized over the last few years working with them on sets that these were not only unique, handmade pieces but also functional and gorgeous on any tablescape. In any occasion. 

So when Dana emailed and asked if I were interested in doing a photoshoot with some of their pieces for their Tastemakers' Table feature on their site, it was basically a no brainer!
Table Dbo
I already had in mind the pieces and color palette I would love to work with. I picked dinner plates, platter and cheese board from their Burl series and mixed them with the delicate look of their Kashmir collection. A perfect balance of strong masculine dark grey with creamy accents of light blush and soft grey flowers. The color palette alone makes me happy. Seeing the pieces work together is completely thrilling.
Creamy Parsnip Soup
I asked my friend and prop stylist Angela Hall to create a table around those pieces and left it completely to her to pick what she thought would make an inviting Friendsgiving table of sort. What she came up with made me giddy the first time she showed me. When we put it all together in my backyard, it simply looked amazing. Decked out, yet inviting. Much like DBO Home ceramics. You may feel like they are too pretty to eat from but trust me, they are strong and feel so good and practical in your hands. 

We gathered our favorite peeps around a holiday orientated menu and had a fantastic time enjoying the work that Dana and Daniel put into each of their pieces. Because they are handmade, each is a bit unique, slightly different from the rest. Shapes are irregular, details are strong. Much like everyday life. And I won't be waiting for another big dinner to use them again! 

You can see the pieces as sets and more photos from the table on the DBO Home site. They would make great additions to any table, any time of the year!
Creamy Parsnip Soup
If you are interested in what we cooked and enjoyed that evening here is the menu with links to the recipes. 
Appetizer: Cranberry Pomegranate Baked Brie from my friend Liren at Kitchen Confidante 
First Course: Creamy Parsnip Soup With Pear and Walnuts from Marcus Samuelsson (minus the sun chokes)
Main Course: Porchetta Spiced Turkey, Gaby's insane wild mushroom stuffing and a salad with roasted acorn squash, blue cheese and pecans with a coriander seed vinaigrette that I made up in my head.
Dessert: Cardamom Poached Pears with Mascarpone cream (similar to this)


Food Styling & Photo Workshop in Tuscany, Italy!! September 27th - October 1st.

June 9, 2016

Bichi Borghesi-11-5
I am so excited to share with you this upcoming workshop I have been working on! Tuscany baby....!!!!!!!! !
I am teaming up with Giulia Scarpaleggia, the force behind the Italian blog Jul’s Kitchen for a workshop in Tuscany, Italy at the gorgeous Tenuta Bichi Borghesi in Scorgiano, September 27th - October 1st.

The registration page is HERE :)

Bichi Borghesi-3-1
The 3 day workshop will be geared toward food, prop styling, photography, cooking demos and lots of hands on practice. I will focus on my photo, composition & styling processes, from basics natural light manipulations to more advanced ones. Each day will be filled with lots of practice, demos and guidance.

We will also have the chance to explore the best of the area with dinner in Sienna, visit of a cheese farm, wine tasting and a trip to the local market. Giulia will also host the group at her studio kitchen for a fun cooking class using fresh local ingredients. 

Together, they will guide you to create an edible narrative with your photos, and share current food styling and propping trends, etc...

Nothing is off limits with questions, from how to pick ingredients, how to cook them, how to manage your cooking/photo time efficiently, knowing about photography for blogging or professional work, cooking for photography, photo as a hobby or how to get started in the business.
 All this in gorgeous Tuscany….

Bichi Borghesi-9-1
The group will stay at the beautiful Tenuta Bichi Borghesi estate, located 1 hour outside of Florence in three charming cottages around the property, September 27th - October 1st 2016. The cottages have a mix of single or double occupancy rooms which are available upon request on a first come, first serve basis. Perfect options whether you are a light sleeper or you want to come with a friend and share a room to catch up!

Bichi Borghesi-5-3

September 27th: Arrival day 
Welcome Meet & Greet and dinner at Tenuta Bichi Borghese

September 28th:
Morning: Hands on food styling, composition and photography demo. I will discuss my approach to a photo shoot and how to create a specific mood and feel to tell a story. I will cover selecting ingredients, props, composition, as well as choosing the best lens and angle for a specific recipe/item. Understanding and manipulating light and shadows.
Individual practice to follow, with my guidance.

Afternoon: Hands on food styling and photography demo.
Another demo led with me and getting more specific with defining and creating a style and a mood for either editorial, brand or blogging work. Basic art guidelines will be covered and put into practice. Individual practice to follow, with my guidance.

Late afternoon tasting of local produce (olive oil, wine, charcuterie)
Dinner in Sienna

September 29th:
Morning: Shooting on location - food photojournalism
Visit of a cheese farm nearby - we’ll get the chance to learn about the cheeses made in the are as well as see cheese made that day. I will cover the basis of shooting on location such as what camera gear to pack, how to handle light in unknown situations, etc…

Afternoon: Hands on styling and photo session. I will cover food and prop styling 101 for editorial and blog work. I will also talk about the business side of food photography for those who are eager to make that leap from hobby to full time food photography.
Students will work on creating a vignette of their choice (picnic, mini location set up, tabletop, studio work,…) with my guidance.

Pizza dinner at Jul’s kitchen studio nearby.

September 30th:
Morning: Market visit in Colle val d’Elsa, shopping for fresh and local ingredients followed by a cooking class at Juls' Kitchen.

Afternoon: Critique and review: students will present a few of their favorite shots and will have one on one guidance/comments within the camaraderie of the group so that everyone can benefit from tips and techniques shared.

Farewell dinner at the Villa

October 1st: Travel day.

To register, head over ---> HERE

Workshop includes:
3 days of hands on practice photo workshop
4 nights in a cottage at Tenuta Bichi Borghese
All meals, snacks and refreshments
Transportation to workshop activities (cheese farm, Juls’ Kitchen, Market, etc…)
Airport shuttle pick up (specific time tbd) from Florence and/or Pisa airport.
Workshop is limited to 8 people.

Fee is $1875 (does not include airfare to Italy)

There will be no refunds for this workshop – please know you can attend before registering. Full payment due at time of registration, no deposit required. Schedule subject to change (mainly due to possible weather changes!)

All photos courtesy of Giulia Scarpaleggia.

Rhubarb Tart With Cashew Frangipane

April 21, 2016

Rhubarb Pie
Workshop update: there are 3 spots available in the workshop I am teaching May 16-20th in Charleston. Right on the beach, with lots of hands on demos, practice times, all around great food and meals! All details HERE.

I know better than to stock the fridge before a photoshoot but I could not resist the Spring produce in front of me at the market. I loaded up. Greens, radishes, okra, lettuces, herbs, rhubarb, eggs, milk, etc... I got worried on my way home that my food stylist would have a fit with that much valuable real estate taken up for her own groceries. On the other hand I know that if one eats as many vegetables as we do, the volume/space occupied in the fridge seems to be gone in a matter of a couple of days anyway.

I almost panicked when I thought the rhubarb was lost in the deep dark spaces of the refrigerator, somehow fighting its way between the baby radishes and cherry tomatoes. As soon as rhubarb appears at the store I stock up, load up and cook up. It's probably one of my favorite things. It reminds me so much of home. My mom used to cook big pots of rhubarb compote or make rhubarb jam galore. I like to poach just until slightly soft but not mushy and add it to yogurt for a snack, make candied rhubarb or lots of rhubarb simple syrup for cocktails all through Spring and Summer. 

And then there is always a rhubarb tart or galette. This time I used some leftover puff pastry I had from a previous tart, made a cashew frangipane and layered some quick poached rhubarb batons (pieces) on top. Not too sweet and super buttery. The perfect little piece for an afternoon snack.
Rhubarb Pie


Brown Butter Lemon Yogurt Cake

April 1, 2016

Brown Butter Lemon Yogurt Cake
You have no idea how excited I am to have our farmers' market start again next weekend! It's my weekly stop for all things locally harvested as well as eggs, raw milk, fish and meats. Unfortunately, I'll be missing the first weekend which makes me a little sad but I'll be with a fantastic group of ladies shooting the last increment of Skinnytaste's second cookbook. It's been a joyful, wild and busy ride (another cookbook fell right in the middle and one other starts 5 days after we wrap up) but you can bet I will be showing up as much as possible until December that the market ends.

I haven't had much time to cook and photograph for this blog lately but one thing I did take time to bake and shoot was this Brown Butter Lemon Yogurt Cake because I knew with the two sweet toothed people in the house that I would not have much time to do so before it was all gone...! Except I think I ate most of it! Call it editing deadlines, planning nerves. I'm just putting it on a case of "Spring is here! Give me lemons! Give me cake!".
Brown Butter Lemon Yogurt Cake
This cake is a slight departure from my usual olive oil cake. I cook butter on the stove until its wonderful nutty aroma filled the kitchen and used Bulgarian yogurt instead of regular yogurt. It adds an even tangier flavor and enhances the lemon kick in the cake. This recipe makes one large loaf or two smaller loaves if you want to make the goodness last. We obviously can't resist that long...

Happy Spring!


Fennel & Celery Salad and Roasted Vegetable Salad With Blood Orange Vinaigrette

March 19, 2016

Fennel Celery Salad
Thank you to all who have inquired about the latest workshop I posted. It is the last before Fall for Chef Ondo and myself as Charleston gets unbearebly hot after May. We are excited to have you join us and spent one on one quality time with you and sharing everything we can! And yes, there are still spots available! May is so gorgeous this time of year and hopefully the water will be warm enough for a couple of dips in the ocean (although there is a pool at the beach house!) It feels like every where I turn these days, where it to be Instagram, Pinterest or blogs, everyone has Spring fever. And rightly so. Except for us here in SC,

It feels like we had two weeks of winter in between Spring and Spring. Fall? I have no idea what that is around here! We've had a mere couple of weeks of winter it seems and now it already feels like summer. My socks have been relegating to the bottom of the drawer and the box of summer clothes is about to cramp up our bedroom space soon. 

I feel torn about it - I like the milder temperatures that our winter brings. I like the ability to layer, put on a hat, wrap myself in a warm blanket or a comfy scarf. I like the long simmered stews that screams winter comfort to me. On the other hand, I can't wait for Spring and Summer produce, long dinners al fresco with our friends, juicy peaches and nectarines, and colorful fresh salads.
Roasted Veg Salad
I am about to embark on a short trip to Kentucky to wrap up a cookbook shoot and while I try to stick to good eating habits while on the road, between the crazy schedule and the fatigue elements, I am never sure of what the days will be like food wise. It seems like wine always find a way to make it to dinner though... Joke aside, I have been filling up on lots of veggies and greens over the last couple of weeks in between editorial and cookbook shoots. I am happy to share with you two of my go-to salads. Easy to prep, shock full of flavors and they can easily accommodate the addition of a protein if you feel like it.

I often make the Fennel and Celery Salad as a quick lunch with a soft or hard boiled egg to go along but it would be great with a side of chicken or fish. The more robust Roasted Root Veggie Salad is loaded with beets, turnips, carrots, farro and chopped carrot green (tops). It's a favorite alone but the cumin blood orange vinaigrette makes it a flavorful side for grilled fish or pork chops. Pomegranate seeds are now available pretty much all year long thanks to nifty little packaged cups while the blood oranges in the vinaigrette can easily be subbed for part lemon, part oranges (half and half) making it easy to have year long.


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