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…
It has been ages since I made a Princess Torte, actually many moons ago for a friend’s little princess 8th birthday. Although not difficult, it is a mini production of its own, the sort of cake that I could see the Daring Bakers attempt one month.
If you were to visit our house right now, you’d be wondering if Christmas is really just a a week away. Oh, we have a small tree up in the living room but that’s about it. No present wrapped up underneath and a few of Christmas decorations here and there in the house. We have gifts almost all ready to go for everyone but we can’t leave them out since they are of the edible kind. The pupps have a tendency to get in trouble with bows and ornaments!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by friends and family or just chilling. We loved being able to share the day with a few different groups of people, plopping from one dinner to another and a glass of Champagne to a glass of wine, surrounded by the warmth of a good fire and a few good hugs.
Yes, I have a difficult relationship with bite size desserts, also known as mignardises or petits fours. I love them and I dislike them. I did not want to use the verb "hate" because I can’t truly hate anything sweet that passes through my lips.
Everytime I do workshops, I get inspired by the people who come to attend the creative space we put together for them. The one I taught last week was no exception and as soon as we wrapped on a week of shooting and good eating, I texted my bestie, professional food stylist Tami Hardeman, to see if the was available to do another with me. See, we always try to carve out some time in the year to get together and shoot. She food styles, we compose, I shoot. It’s a time for us to challenge ourselves but also create together. We nourish both our souls and our bodies.
And when she said “yes”, she just about made my day. We both have busy schedules that don’t often match so finding a week to be together and share with others what we know and love is important to us. “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” Confucius said. And we believe that.
She is an amazing food stylist, with great art directorial skills in my opinion, and she always makes me a better photographer. My goal when we are on set is to push my own creativity and skills to show off hers.
So, that’s why I am excited to announce that we are holding a creative food styling and photography workshop March 28th-April 1st in Charleston, SC. (registration open HERE)
During the three days of workshop (first and last day being your travel days), we will do lots of hands on demos showing you our process and guiding you through your own mini photoshoots.
While we like to shoot “pretty foods”, we also know the challenges faced by many of you trying to shoot “brown foods” or “flat foods” and will guide you through those challenges. She will share her best tips and techniques about food styling and I will share mine about choosing the right lens for the food, how to work the light to your advantage, working camera angles and settings. Together we will talk you through picking the best props and composition to showcase your food.
We aim to create a collaborative environment where you are free to expand upon your usual repertoire or dig deeper into the vibe you like. While we love to push ourselves beyond our own comfort zone, we also want to foster the style and mood you like or help you get happy venturing out to new territory. We will provide you with the tools and knowledge to do over three fun and energizing days.
Because we believe in the beauty of imperfections, we will show you how to create real life images not perfect ones, images that let the food shine and help you tell a story.
If you have taken workshops with me before, this one is the perfect extension to those. A workshop v2 if you like. If this is the first time you are considering a workshop with us, fear not, we will take every hands on demo from a to z as far as process goes and make “rounds” when you are shooting to offer help and guidance.
Oh and we are planning a photoshoot on the beach where we hope to have everyone contributing their own creativity. (the house we will be staying in as a group is just a few steps from the ocean).
Follow this link for the registration page.
Here are the details:
3 days of photography, composition, food styling hands on demo and photoshoots with our guidance and help
March 28th – April 1st (March 28th being your arrival day and April 1st being your departure day)
4 nights accommodations on the beach of Isle Of Palms
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners
Refreshments and snacks
Fee is $1875, early bird registration through February 28th, then $2100 (does not include travel fares to and from workshop)
Most rooms are shared – there is opportunity for single rooms on a first sign up basis
Workshop is limited to 8 people.
There will be no refunds for this workshop – please know you can attend before registering.
Back in late November (Halloween weekend actually), I traveled to Columbia, South Carolina, on assignment for Garden&Gun magazine and the Columbia Midlands Authority for 72 hours to explore and venture around the city for their upcoming feature in this month’s issue. It was a packed trip of food and cultural outings but I had the best partner in crime. My husband. Sending a French to the state capital is one thing, but armed with her best weapon, a Charleston born and bred husband who attended college there and whose great grand father was governor of South Carolina and thus resided in the Capital, was probably the most fun way to explore a city. Lots of walking around, driving around, eating everything and asking all the questions…
We got to Columbia on time for a late lunch at The Spotted Salamander in the historic district. Sweet little spot with an extra outdoor space and friendly staff. Missed their renowned deviled eggs as they were not making them that weekend but everything else we ordered (crisp pork belly salad and the hot turkey sandwich) was spot on.
I am more of a nibbler/grazer than a sit down lunch or dinner gal so after what felt to me like a bigger meal than I do most days, we decided to walk the historic district and hopefully catch up on a house visit before they’d close for the day. We got right on time to catch up the last guided tour of the Hampton Preston House and stole a few extra moments walking the grounds before heading back to our hotel (perfectly located to boot…)
Dinner was at The Warmouth. A cool little place located in a revamped car garage. It was warm enough to sit on the back patio which was nice and quiet. While I’ve had many a cheese and charcuterie boards in my life, I remain attracted to those boasting house made cured meats and terrines. The Warmouth charcuterie board was served with various pickles and mustard. The pickled pineapple was a revelation. Must duplicate soon!
The bustle outside and inside of Bourbon on Main street lured us in for a nightcap and satisfied our thirst for a couple of cocktails and bourbons and some chit chat at the bar with other patrons.
Their bourbon list is extensive and the cocktails creative. It also serves a late food/nibbles menu.
Our Saturday started at The Wired Goat Cafe. Really cool breakfast place offering a wide variety of coffees and coffee drinks, breakfast sandwiches and waffles. Come early because the line can get quite long as it is a favorite with the locals. Don’t miss the oak smoked sea salt and honey latte. I still have dreams about it. All their breads and baked goods are made on the premises daily which is definitely a plus in my book.
If you’ve have been following me for a while you know how much I love farmers market. Nothing better to get the beat of a city. The Soda City Market that occupies much of Main street on Saturdays is a great mix of artists, food vendors and farmers. Lots of food trucks and plenty of street music at every corner.
To break away from the bustle of the market, we crossed the street and headed inside the Columbia Museum of Art. The permanent exhibit is really well aid out and offers way more than just a glimpse into the history of the arts. I didn’t expect to see so much and we ended staying a good couple of hours. By the time we were done, a faint rumbling could be heard in our stomachs. Time to eat again…!
I don’t know what it is with French peeps and barbecue but we love it. And can’t get enough of it. So I was really looking forward to our lunch stop at Southern Belly. While the inside is cozy and funky at the same time, we couldn’t resist grabbing a table outside on such a gorgeous day. We got two of their famous sandwiches, the Django and the Castro and devoured them with reckless abandon. A part of my brain wanted to order a couple more "for the road" but it wasn’t time to head back to Charleston quite yet..
We drove around town a bit and even caught the USC marching band rehearsing before their game that evening. Back in the 70s my husband was in the same marching band so it was a really cool trip down memory lane. Just from the look in his eyes, I knew that one little moment had made the entire trip for him. I mean, tagging along with a photographer on an eating and cultural discovery mission is nice but sometimes disjointed for him!
From our hotel, we walked down to the State Museum which we had both visited before a few times but there were a couple of things we wanted to see. I really wanted to give a long at their new telescopes exhibit and hopefully catch a glimpse of the skies through their major one and my husband wanted to see the Anderson car that was built to rival (never did but what a beauty!) the Ford back in the days and designed and built in South Carolina by a family member. The museum gives a thorough history of the South throughout the years, and f you have kids, there are tons of various exhibits and activities for them.
A quick nap at the hotel and we were magically hungry again! Our next stop was walking distance from the hotel on Gervais street, The Motor Supply Company. What an evening! Josh, the bartender is a master at his craft, truly. We started with one of the cocktails on the menu and soon we were talking about old fashioned drinks, the resurgence of vermouth based cocktails and before we knew it, we had a couple more before our meal. And a couple afterwards. Good thing we only had to cross the street back to our room!! The menu is inventive, changing daily and offering many choices for all palates. We settled for a couple of apps and dove straight to the mains. The fish that evening was quite spectacular. The staff was attentive and knowledgeable navigating perfectly between locals and tourists.
You know me, I can’t help but going to the back of the house, the heart of it all, the kitchen to catch a few pic of the chefs in action. They indulged me in their (always) small space and were really nice to let me snap a few shots while int he middle of a busy dinner service.
Rising and shining on Sunday was a tad slow but we had been told of the perfect antidote to a late night by visiting Rise Gourmet Bakeshop. I have long been an admirer of chef Sara Simmons who happened to be on the premises that morning at the same time we were. After a few "oh I follow you on Instagram!" "Me too!", we dove right in on our sausage and grits and breakfast sandwich. Feeling I needed something a bit healthy to balance out all the foods consumed so far, I also got their yogurt and granola. I still dream about it. Smooth, silky with a layer of perfectly tart lemon curd. Doesn’t take much to make my day and this hit the stop. We also sampled (and took home) some of their other goodies. Couldn’t possibly eat it all in one sitting. Needed some for the road back home, right?!!
At last, it was time to head back to Charleston but first, we made a pit stop at the Congaree national park on the way home. While some trails were closed because of the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, many remained accessible wand we ended up doing a 5 mile loop around the park. How we wished we had had the dogs with us. They would have been in heaven!
The last time I had been in Columbia for more than a few hours was back in the 90s and while we drove through the town to visit family upstate or on our many back and forth to Birmingham a couple of years ago, neither of us had taken the time to be tourist in the town. For my husband it was nice to get back to his college grounds and show me around where his great grandfather would have resided, worked or walked. Being the food person that I am, I was really impressed by the care and dedication of the establishments we visited. Not to mention the quality of the food. If you ever travel through the state of South Carolina, I hope you will carve out a few hours to visit Columbia. You won’t be disappointed.
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
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
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.