Thursday, December 29, 2011

Su Xing House

        Walking by the old brick red color awning of this Chinese vegetarian restaurant you wouldn't think the inside was as decorative and elegant as it was. Being seated immediately I was taken to the second floor in a window seat that overlooked Sansom St. The sunlight coming in made the golden foil table glow and the pink linen napkins pop. The dishware had details throughout and the food was plated well.

         Even though it offered vegetarian choices you could still order the classic General Tso Chicken amongst other dishes. I went with the Dried Bean Curd with The Spiral Seaweed and my boyfriend order the General Tso.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Breakfast...

 Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

Christmas is this weekend! Everyone is finishing their shopping, getting their cooking in order and cleaning the house...

I see so many recipes for dishes that you have for Christmas dinner but what about the next morning? You have friends and family fly in spending the night to wake up to eggs, cereal, and frozen waffles.

Why not impress them with a special treat that will start their morning right. I chose the french toast casserole because it's something you can prepare the night before and it serves a lot. Baked with spices and topped with a sweet crunch it's everyone's favorite.

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup on the Food Network

via: Paula Deen, Food Network

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tashan: Chef Sylva

I had the opportunity to shoot the new Indian cuisine restaurant Tashan...

When I walked in I was blown away by the sleek dark interior made up of hand carved tables down to the imported silverware from India. There was a private dining room filled wall to wall with over 3,000 bottles of wine. The FOOD; wow. Delicately prepared and full of flavor with vibrant colors. Each dish had it's own story and the signature cocktails complimented the food without over powering the flavors.

After photographing the dishes I had a few moments with Chef Sylva and took him into the private dining room to photograph him. I loved the swivel leather cushion doors that divided the room and the wall behind him filled with wine bottles. The sunlight coming in through the window I balanced with a kick light in the back that made for a epic chef profile shot.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Food Styling Interview: Diana Isaiou

Photo Credit: Scott Pitts- Armstrong/Pitts Photography

What made you want to be a food stylist?

I was a chef, and had lots of friends in the film industry, I had always thought it would be fun. I was working as a restaurant consultant, and Jane Armstrong called and needed a stylist. I said, I'll do it! and the rest is history. For people who want to break in to the business, work nights or weekends while you
try to get started. Be brave, when you are almost busy enough, jump. Quit your part time job and be ready to live off your credit card. You MUST be available to work. My friends  and I here that are stylists all worked a part time job while we tried to establish ourselves. It can be painful to break in to this business. Ive stuck to it through "chicken or feathers" and am grateful that I am now successful.

Did you do a lot of cooking as a child?

 Yes, I was cooking dinner for my family at age 6. My earliest memory is of "cooking" noodles for my dolls. My Barbies had a mini wood burning oven I built behind the mailboxes, my Mom would make me dough to bake in there. Both of my parents were great cooks, food was always important in our house.

Did you teach under other food stylist?

No, I was a classically french trained chef, and learned a lot of tricks from food photographers.

Who would you say was your break through client?

Don't know really, that was a long time ago. Certainly my best and oldest client is Starbucks Coffee. Ive been shooting with them for over 20 years.

Who are some notable photographers you have worked with?

Ive been lucky to work with SO many talented people. My main base is in Seattle, I work with EJ Armstrong, Scott Pitts, Angie Norwood Browne. Ive done some work in Texas with Dick Patrick - Cinnabon,  I did a Holiday Starbucks shoot with Charles Shotwell. Recently I did a shoot with Bryan Sheffield for Starbucks that was so much fun, it's hard to believe we got paid for that! I've also been to London  for Starbucks and shot there with Diana Miller.

Where/who have you looked for your inspirations?

I find inspiration in nature, fine art, restaurants, day dreaming, magazines. I garden quite a bit, and am know for growing crazy stuff in my greenhouse for shoots. And the web is so full of amazing photographers, I like looking at product and food shots.

Photo Credit: Scott Pitts
A lot of your drinks are slushies or the Frappuccinos from Starbucks; how’d you make it stay fresh?

I work FAST! Keep the studio cool, and keep your glass cold. No tricks really. So much of this job is controlling temperatures. We often have to do a lot of frozen drinks together, so occasionally we will photoshop a couple shots together.  Harder to do is lattes, very short shelf life, or pour shots - where repetition is king.

Did your degree from California Culinary Academy help mold your food styling career?

It was more of finishing school for me. I was already a great home cook taught by my parents. I remember when the pastry chef at school was teaching everyone how to transfer rolled out pie dough to the pie pan. He was amazed I knew how to. If your parents are good cooks, watch and learn!

What is your favorite food or drink to style?

I don't know if I have a favorite. I think what makes this job so fun is the wide variety of things I get to do. Ive set up indoor farmers markets for Bobby Flay to stand in, and shot single coffee beans. The beauty is that everyday I get to solve problems, work with talented and creative people. I find the most rewarding part of the job is that I get to fine tune my craft every day. I'll look back at how I used to do something, then try to think how can it be better? Im always striving to be a real as possible, the perfect combination of  what food really is, achievable by the populace, and made exquisitely beautiful and delicious looking. That said, I really enjoy working with liquids. People ask me to draw crazy stuff on top of coffee, and I have to remind them, Im drawing on liquid, with liquid and that is pretty hard to do.

What is your must-have tool on every shoot?

Offset tweezers. Or my little spray bottle.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Food Styling By: Tobe LeMoine

1. What made you decide to be a food stylist?

When I was in culinary school I initially wanted to open a restaurant. After becoming more educated I really liked the artistic aspect of food as a medium. Once graduated I pursued the food styling direction.

2. Where are you originally from?

I’m from the Chicago area. My mother was a gourmet cook for her time. That’s where I had the initial interest in cooking and food.

3. Where did you find it the easiest to get work? To start out?

When I first stated out I was assisting other food stylist. Through that I developed samples of my own. I created a portfolio of my own and once I felt proficient in my skills I started to work on my own.

4. What is your connection to Food on Film?

When I used to assist I started to attend the event. It was very educational where I learned new skills, and meet new people. In 2003 for Food on Film I taught a meat styling class with Judy Vance.

5. Who are some notable photographers you have worked with?

I’ve worked with so many! One I’ve worked with was Kevin Smith who is based in Chicago. Kevin and I have been friends and have worked together for years.

6. Where/who have you looked for your inspirations?

I’ve looked in different periodicals of art. I admire Donna Hay’s style because it’s natural and real. Otherwise I just start brainstorming and thinking of creative ideas.

7. What type of marketing do you do for yourself?

I started with creating my website, and listing myself in creative directories. Also trying to make new contacts with photographers. Eventually I got to the point where work was word of mouth.

8. What type of degree did you graduate with from The Culinary Institute of America?

 An Associates in Occupational Studies, which was a 2 year degree.

9. What is your favorite food or drink to style?

All the above. I love my job and like to style and think creatively with everything.

10. What is your must-have tool on every shoot?

Tweezers, can’t survive without them.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stephen Starr Should Be Shaken In His Boots...

   Farmer’s Cabinet

     I originally checked this place out to get a drink with my parents... They actually found the spot on Walnut street, It’s a dark exterior with a pounded copper bar top. You could easily pass it with the bright green irish pubs surrounding it.

    So when I walked in I heard the old western themed piano playing cheery tunes by a costumed western looking fellow wearing his mustache curly and full of hair oil. His outfit along with the animated bartenders were wearing the classic button down whites and black arm garters. The bartender was shaking the drinks to the beat of the piano which was quite entertaining.

    I was there for drinks and was handed a distressed looking menu with hundreds of beers listed! Very overwhelming considering it was written in the language from where the beer was from. Other than the imported they had their own brewmaster that had some amazing beers.

    Going back for dinner I was able to experience the saloon themed restaurant as if it were out of a classic movie. I was waiting for the sheriff to walk in, but that didn’t happen :)

    Everything was lit by real gas lanterns or candles on the tables. The dining room area had walls filled with their different beer bottles and the tables were real dark long wood tables with dark wood benches that seated many groups. I was greeted by a cheery saloon well-spoken waiter that had a old west accent. He probably learned how to do it, but was cool!

    My meal consisted of a cheese spread I created myself with drunken figs, pork, down to the almost ordered stuffed frog legs.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


When I was in NY the other week for business I wanted something quick to eat but not fast food : /
While walking around I came up to this place on the corner, which looked fairly new and had a very architecturally pleasing inside. It was this modern food court with fresh food and great service. The concept was flawless and you paid when you left.


I ordered a chicken and brie panini with a tomato and leek soup YUM! 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Food Styling by Dawn Brown

1. What made you decide to be a food stylist?

Mathematics:  A passion for food and wine  +  a background in marketing and advertising + a desire to create  =  food styling!

2. Where are you originally from? 

Toronto, Canada

3. Where did you find it the easiest to get work? To start out?

Magazines, newspaper inserts, small businesses

4. What is your connection to Food on Film?

It's mine.

5. Who are some notable photographers you have worked with?

Top Greek food photographers and, both, Greek and international directors.

6. Where/who have you looked for your inspirations?

Inside myself.

7. What type of marketing do you do for yourself? Is it all word of mouth?

Good work is the best advertising!

8. Do you produce more work in print of television?

50/50 - Many of my clients have me style for both their print and television advertising.

9. What is your favorite food/drink to style?

Salads.  They need speed and precision (a bit like the 100-mtr dash!).  And, cocktails.  Their names alone inspire fantasy!

10. What is your must-have tool on every shoot?

Mechanical knife

11. What can you say is the most important for a food stylist to do when starting out?

 Keep trying. Again, and again, and again. Always work towards the final image, not your pocket.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Southern BBQ In Philadelphia

    Where’s the next closest “South” you can get BBQ that’s in Philadelphia? Tricky question... with an answer. Percy Street BBQ! Texas style food with a little extra on the side. Sometimes I want to go out to eat and use my hands even though they offer silverware. Percy Street captures the classic Texas atmosphere with their weathered chalkboards with the menu and drinks listed. The decor was old fashion farm house meets Texas country land. For larger groups than 2-4 they had these neat bench style tables where everyone could share the food. The bright red and blue glazed table tops took be back to classic America. Even the lights were hanging inside old glass jars. Once we were seated a waiter immediately came to our table and filled our glasses with ice cold water and c-clamped a role of paper towels to our table. That was cool! 

    Before I get too deep into my dining experience, I was planning on eating here a few weeks ago for my boyfriend’s birthday, but was deterred when it was closed for a private event I didn’t know about. The manager, Don I wrote an email to about the incident responded quickly and professionally. Having received a gift card in the mail I made sure to make the trip back soon. So when I got their last night with my boyfriend he was there and came to my table to apologize once again and to make sure I was taken care of, also to make sure my boyfriend spun the birthday wheel! Thank you Don for making our dining experience incredible :)

    After we put our order in the waiter came back with a tray of their signature sauces; which consisted of a mild to hotter sauces. 

For a appetizer we ordered the BBQ fries which was topped with chopped brisket and cheese. Kind of reminded me of a Philly cheesesteak which was a good thing. They came out hot with the cheese melting on top and chunks of tasty brisket. I made sure and tried all the sauces and I think my favorite was Old Faithful. Other than washing these down with water we ordered some drinks. The drink list was very extensive, including cocktails, whiskey, and canned beers. What first struck my interest in this restaurant was the canned beer. I don’t see much of that around here, and the quality of the beer in a can was impressive. 

    For the main course we got meat. Oh yeah it was good meat! The simple salt and pepper rub than smoked in a pit spoke for itself. I got the brisket with some moist and lean slices. It came with coleslaw, pickles, and onions wrapped in butcher paper. For my choice of side I got collard greens. The dinner was served on a silver platter; seriously ha! More like a silver lunch tray with a moist cloth. The helping of coleslaw and collard greens was plentiful and tasty. The waiter also brought out slices of white bread if we wanted to make sandwiches with our meat. The brisket came out hot and smokey. Yummm :) I cut up some slices and ate it as is which was so juicy and packed with flavor. I tried some with the sauces and also made a little sandwich. The presentation of the food and the white bread had a real old western country feel.

    Key Lime Pie was for dessert. Don brought it out in addition to a slice of their Pecan Pie. He was asking how our dinner was and was nice enough to bring a extra dessert. Both were rich in taste. The key lime pie had the perfect citric after taste and the pecan pie was topped with the creamiest, cold vanilla bean ice cream I’ve had in awhile. The pecans were sweet and crunchy with a perfectly baked crust.

    After eating we spun the birthday wheel and got a free root beer float. I think that was nice to have something like that, it will keep you coming back. 

The location was on the heart of South street and the food had that perfectly smoked southern taste. Next time I go I have to try their cornbread.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

#FF MS 150...

This Friday I'm preparing for my MS150 city to shore bike ride.

Thank you all who donated to this great cause and the fight against MS!

Look out though for next week; I'll have a juicy write up on Percy Street BBQ  and a restaurant that should have Stephen Starr shaking in his boots :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Margarita of Fort Washington

Since Tequila Joe’s closed in my neighborhood its been hard to find a good quality authentic Mexican restaurant with the right salsas and traditional margarita. Sure there are plenty of places in the city but I don’t always want to drive down there. Catina Feliz is a perfect distance from my house and just as enjoyable as if I were in the city.

Tucked down and around Butler Pike is a beige office looking building with the Catina Feliz sign outside. When you walk in it’s a whole other world. The vibrant colored walls and traditional Mexican murals and decor fill the restaurant from front to back. I was in the right place. There is a lot of seating and a beautiful bar right when you walk in. It’s filled with the best tequilas and beer. Their menu is as authentic as it can get. The salsas, guacamole’s, and tortilla chips were fresh and tasty. The taco shells, enchiladas, and re-fried beans you can’t find anywhere else. The margarita’s, oh yes! Get em fresh :)

 I could tell Tim Spinner, the head chef definitely learned under the great Jose Garces. Knowing his style of food and restaurants then stepping into Catina Feliz I could make the connection. Tim and his close friend Brian Sirhal are going to do good in the town of Fort Washington. Mexican places are something of a favorite in the area. 

Make sure and check out their events! Coming up, Oct. 1st Tim will be teaching how to prepare Mexican street food!
As always any successful restaurant can be found on Twitter and Facebook

Photos Copyright of Perretti Photography 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Restaurant Review: La Campagne

    I’ve found my secret oasis back to France only having to drive about 45min. Just over the bridge in New Jersey is this adorable white farm house turned french cuisine restaurant. The elegance of the farm house makes the dining experience VERY romantic and perfect for a date. It is a BYOB so you can really impress by bringing your own bottle of superb wine to pair with your meal.
    I found out about this spot because it was a featured restaurant in SJ Magazine about a month ago which I photographed and knew I had to come back just by photographing one of their desserts. (It looked that good). Also this gave me the opportunity to find out the history of the restaurant and how they prepare their food. All they had to say was homemade and I was sold!
    I looked over the menu before I went and I decided to get the Gourmand Tasting Menu which consisted of six courses. This included a Amuse Bouche, which is a hors d'oeuvre dish smaller than a appetizer. Then a choice of appetizer, fruits de mer/salades, entree, cheese course, and dessert.
    For my hors d'oeuvre they served me a sliced tomato from their garden with homemade balsamic and oil drizzle over a freshly sliced piece of mozzarella. That refreshed my pallet for the coming dishes and was a nice introduction on how they really stick to homemade; freshly and locally grown.
    For my appetizer I had to get their Escargot Bourgogne because I had to see how it compared to my escargot experience in France at Le Mont Saint-Michel. Their escargot was so rich with a buttery garlic brandy base served with a piece of their homemade brioche toast. The escargot was just like I remembered, savory and melting in your mouth. The textures mixed very well and you had to get a little bit of everything on your spoon and the taste just exploded in your mouth.

    The next dish I chose was the tomato salad because their garden grown tomatoes like my first dish was amazing. They were plump, juicy, and the perfect ripeness to cut up and eat with a basic balsamic vinaigrette with diced ricotta cheese and red onions.
    The main entree I went with was Fish du jour Provencal which was grilled perfectly on both sides and not a single bone. (I hate bones in my fish, pet peeve) The cut of fish was very meaty (poultry...hmm..), if that makes sense and was paired with cooked zucchini, potatoes and tomatoes in a white wine broth.

    After the main entree they brought out the cheese tray which was meant to clean the pallet. It was presented on this round, thick wooden cheese block. It consisted of artisan and farmstead cheeses served with their house made croutes, mustard, jam, and apple slices. It was a buttery, creamy goodness in my mouth. The mustard seeds in the mustard really gave it a spicy kick. To tone it down, pair a piece of the cheese on a croute with some jam on top. Then have a slice of the apple and do it all over. 
    My favorite dessert of all time is a french classic, creme brulee, which they had at the top of their dessert menu. I ordered that without question. It came out in the shallow porcelain dish with the perfectly fired shell of sweetness. Once you broke the surface, underneath was a creamy vanilla custard you scoop with the sugary surface and eat that in one bit. It’s sweet, crunchy, creamy all at once. The dessert though that I photographed before was their Apple Tarte Tatin which is just as good.
    The whole experience of dining there was about 2 hours. The dishes were brought out in a timely manner allowing the food to digest. The portions were small but that’s usually how the tasting menus work. You end up feeling just as satisfied.

My overall experience was great and I would recommend treating yourself here once a year. Their menu is ever changing just like the seasons and their garden would also change with the season.

*FYI- These are my Iphone images, not my professional images. Thank you -Felicia (still copyrighted)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Food Friday Tip!

    What do you do with those left over vegetables? 

That seems to be everyone’s problem by the end of the week when cleaning out the fridge.
    I hate wasting food and it’s usually vegetables that make it to the end of the week. (I always buy more vegetables then I need for a recipe.) To prevent me from throwing them away I’ll put together a quick and easy grilled dish that I can eat alone, put in a sandwich or have as a side dish for dinner!

    You can prepare this any way and with whatever vegetables you have. For the example I have today I’m using onions, green peppers, green, and yellow zucchini...

    So the first thing I do is check the vegetables for any bruised or over ripened spots and cut them off. Then I chop up the vegetables from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. The thinner your slices the faster it will cook. I also chop my onions separately and cook them first. Otherwise all the vegetables can go together. To season the vegetables and give them that extra crunch any seasoning in your cabinets will work. Use your best judgement. I use combinations of salt, pepper, italian bread crumbs which have a few seasons mixed in already and taste great! Mix your seasonings in a large bowl with the vegetables and you can let it sit for a few minutes or cook right away.

    When grilling the vegetables I use a grill pan sprayed with Pam. Any pan will work but I like my vegetables to be cooked well with the grill marks. I cook on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes until there semi-transparent and not in the “raw” uncooked state. You want to spread the vegetables out in a layer so they all cook evenly and you want to flip them continuously. I feel it’s easiest to use tongs to flip and mix the vegetables up.

    Once they are cooked to your satisfaction you can transfer them to a bowl and serve or wrap them up and place in the fridge for later. To add a little extra flair to your veggies I sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese to the mix and stir it together. The heat from the vegetables melts the cheese giving a extra taste and texture to your dish.

Simple. Easy. Delicious.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fried pickles done right!

The Metropolitan: American Diner & Bar; Let me start by saying I’ve eaten there twice, and both times I’ve gotten their hamburgers, they just that good. (Next time I’m going I’m getting one of their salads.) The interior is very welcoming and family friendly. The wait staff is nice, efficient, and very accommodating...

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the hostess and her IPAD in hand taking reservations. Pretty cool. She had a big smile on her face and enjoyed seating us. The booths were very comfy and we were served quickly.

What makes this place good is the quality and quantity of the food. It serves portions as if at a real diner but the quality surpasses your normal restaurant. My personal favorite that I’ve had so far is the chipolte burger with fried pickles, and bacon. I LOVE fried pickles, and to have them on my hamburger which is fresh ground beef made to order makes it unbelievably tasty. The bun doesn’t fall apart, and the bacon is real fresh whole  slices.

Another huge plus to the restaurant is their beer selection. It makes sense now to have bar in the title of the restaurant because what they serve is above and beyond your average selection of drinks. If your just going in for a couple drinks and not dinner the bar is a nice, comfortable place to sit and chat with your friend, or a romantic date.

I have yet to try their desserts because I usually finish my meal because it’s so tasty and I end up filling myself. Another incentive to eat here is they have a rewards card! It’s awesome! Just use it when you pay and you earn points, percentages off your bill, and it’s free to sign up.

This place understands customer satisfaction.

Friday, July 8, 2011


   Philadelphia is making food history.. This Saturday is the 1st annual vendy awards which will be held at The Piazza at Schmidts. Food vendors in the city are just as important as the restaurants that feed our great city. Each vendor has its own character, taste, location, and loyal customers. Vendors can serve you coffee to mexican food, to BBQ, and anything else.
    Going to college in the city I’m familiar with street vendors and their cooking expertise so I’m glad we are having our first vendy awards in the great North Libs of Philadelphia. To name a few judges so far this year are Mayor Michael Nutter, Jennifer Carroll, Drew Lazor, and Lindsay Lidge. The list is growing of food experts so you know the vendy winner will be worthy of the award.
    The vendy awards originally started in New York in 2005 and has been called one of the greatest food events ever seen. It’s no surprise Philadelphia has jumped on the vendor cart and is holding the event also. The barriers of food and culture are starting to blend together between New York and Philadelphia where the quantity and quality of places to eat and drink are becoming comparable. This is the start of something great!

Tickets are still on sale but limited. So buy yours now!

If you are attending send me your best vendy photos for me to post and share with everyone.

You can find ALL your needed information here:


Friday, July 1, 2011

Food Friday #12 Andrew Scrivani

 Andrew Scrivani
New York Times Food Photographer

1. What made you decide to be a photographer?

I was interested in photography since college. I met my friend Joe Fornabaio after High School. He was starting his studies at SVA in NY. I was attending Baruch College across the street...I spent more time there then at my own school and my love of photography was born.

2. Contributing to the New York Times as a photographer has that been a large
part of your success in your career?

It has been the work that has defined me as a professional. The byline added legitimacy to my work that I may not have had in other publications. The fact that I went from unknown to a regular contributor to the Times changed my life, personally and professionally.

3. Does the New York Times approach you with stories and let you run with them? Or do you collaborate on a angle to photograph the food and people involved?

I started shooting in restaurants and gradually moved into the studio work you see now published. I used to get a lot of art direction but as the years progressed and my technique was cemented they offered my the chance to in essence art direct myself. They give me a very wide berth and trust me. There are collaborations on specific pieces and I'll often have a general direction they point me in but I am lucky that they trust my vision. They have really allowed me to grow as an artist on a very big stage.

4. With studio work you usually designate the whole day if not week to shooting food with stylists, but for the newspaper is the story sprung on you last minute and you have one hour to go and shoot it?

It's not quite that harried but short notice delivery has become a bit of a specialty for me. Because I cook and style or have a team of people I work with regularly we operate as a well oiled machine. We can turn stories around in a time frame many other shooters could not. When I do work with a bigger team and a longer time frame it seems like a luxury.

5. Who are some of the notable chefs you have worked with?

Chef Pichet Ong has become one of my closest friends. We met on a job. I have worked with Daniel Boulud, Julian Medina, and scores of other chefs here or in other cities. Many times I work with their recipes and never actually meet in person but talk on the phone and through email. Many times when we meet for the first time it's like we are old friends.

6. Do you enjoy shooting at restaurants or out on location at someone’s kitchen or party?

Honestly, I prefer my studio but it is nice to get out and actually see people now and again. The reason I prefer the studio is control. I like that I have the light I am used to and all of my tools at my disposal. Being in foreign spaces is a lot more work. It's fun...but the days are always longer.

7. Do you travel outside of New York to photograph food? If so where have you gone?

Yes, and I love it. I have shot food all over California, Seattle, Portland, Nice, France, Berlin, Germany among other places here and abroad. The light quality is so different in different locales and it always adds something special to the images.

8. When shooting cookbooks do you photograph what is actually in the recipe or do you create a dish that the viewers can visually understand what it is supposed to be?

That's a great question. The answer depends. Sometimes we break down a recipe to it's component parts to make it more visual or descriptive. Sometimes we shoot it as is. It really depends upon the story we are trying to tell. Sometimes it's about beauty...sometimes it's about learning. It all depends upon the focus of the book.

9. Do you have a favorite type of food you enjoy shooting?

That's easy. Dessert.

10. Has social media and the Internet really help you in making new connections with potential clients?

It has been the single most important way to market what it is that I do. I have made amazing business contacts, new friends and clients with social media. The community is very embracing and I truly appreciate the reception I have gotten from bloggers, Tweeters, Facebook Friends and websites. It is essential to what I do.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Liquid Bread

For this Friday post I wanted to share with you the VERY tasty beer recipe my boyfriend and I came up with.
It took me back to my vacation in Vermont this past summer :)
You can order beer ingredients online along with the tools to make it at home, or find a local beer supply distributer.
3 lb. Pale Dry Malt Extract
6.5 lb. Pale Ale Malt
3 lb. Mild Ale Malt
.5 lb. 15L Crystal Malt
2 oz. Warrior Hops
2 oz. Citra Hops
5 oz. Cascade Hops
Northwest Ale Yeast

Steep all grains for 40 minutes at 155 degrees F.  Drain and rinse.  Add Dry Malt Extract and bring to a boil.  75 minutes of boiling.  Add .25 oz of Warrior, .25 oz Citra, and .5 oz Cascade at 75, 45, 25, 15, 10, 5, and 2 minutes of the boil.  Cool to 80 degrees and add yeast.  Dry hop the rest of the hops.  Primary fermenter for 7 days; secondary fermenter for 12 days. 
Useful Links:


Friday, June 17, 2011

Food Friday #11

John F. Carafoli


1. Being in the food styling business for numerous years now have you noticed any change in the way you do your job?

Over the years the business has become more restrictive do to several factors: A. There are many more layers of corporate people involved and people are always trying to please the person above them. The best result comes when the client themselves are actually at the photo shoot. Things move faster with direct input. B. The economy is tight now and budgets are watched very carefully. Everyone is cutting costs and budgets..

2. What kind of art did you major in while attending art school? Were your intentions to pursue that as a career?
I graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and majored in Fine Art and Design. I moved to Chicago and my first job was with the University of Chicago Press as Art director. I worked in Chicago for several years as a designer/art director working for magazines, advertising agencies and publishers. My last job was in publishing as creative director managing ten designers. I left that job and Chicago, moved back to the East Coast and pursued a career in food. 

3. Was it hard to get your work published? How long did that take?
I started writing for the Boston Globe, working with photographers who shot my articles. They got to know me and started hiring me as a food stylist.
4. Who was your first breakthrough client?

Boston got to small so I moved to NYC. There I continued my writing for magazines and wrote my book Food Photography and Styling the first book on the subject. There was nothing out there so it was fairly easy to get it published. It took about a year of writing and pulling it together.
5. One of your titles is a food consultant, can you explain what you actually do? Does it tie into working on set and styling food?

Under the umbrella of food stylist/writer, I am also a consultant working with restaurants and companies developing menus and recipes. I am a “conceptual” person.
6. Teaching food styling and cooking classes did you find that there were more aspiring food stylists or chefs?
I also have taught food styling course, recipe writing and development and theme cooking classes.
7. Looking at where you are in your career do you think you have more editorial work or advertising work? About equal?
My styling work consists of advertising, editorial, and packaging. I enjoy styling my own recipes for clients because if I don’t like something in a recipe like color I can change it. Lately I have been doing lots of “liquids” drinks.
8. Who was the most notable photographer you have worked with?
I have worked with so many great photographers it is difficult to name one good one. It usually has to do with simpatico (on the same wave length) more than anything else. It is a difficult business and we are problem solvers so there has to be this connection. 

9. Where do you look for your inspirations?

My inspiration comes from being open to new ideas, working with creative individuals, bouncing concepts and ideas off of them and of course traveling. Creative people cannot work in a vacuum.
 10. For your shoots do the art directors/photographers look to you for recipes or is it a joint collaboration?

I do bring my art directing background into the photo shoot if it is appropriate for me to do it with out threaten anyone.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Food Friday #10

Debbie Wahl

1. Reading your biography it looks like you had a passion and vision for a food career at a early age, was food a big part of your family growing up?

My mom was an excellent cook!  What amazed me was that although she worked full-time, we always sat down together for a full home cooked dinner that included vegetables, salad and a main course. I was her little “sous chef” and always had my assigned chores to help get dinner started.  When I was about 12, I read a book about someone working in the test kitchens at General Mills and I realized then that was something I would love. I attended Ohio University and got a B.S. degree in Commercial Food with an emphasis in food for business. I also received  a minor in Communications which required coursework in art, advertising and marketing—I draw upon what I learned from those courses in almost every job. 

2. Where are you originally from? Where do you currently reside?

I’m originally from Ohio but reside in Maryland. I was recruited by Marriott Corporation to come to the DC area and never left. I mainly work in Pennsylvania, D.C., and Florida. But I love to travel for work—I think I am headed to Texas for a job next week!

3. How did your other services you provide come into play when being a food stylist?

Having a Bachelor of Science in Foods required me to take chemistry and a lot of food science courses.  This proved to be tremendously helpful in knowing how foods are going to react.  Working in restaurants and test kitchens at both Marriott and Stouffers gave me valuable experience in the food service area—knowing how to scale up or down recipes, knowing restaurant equipment, etc.   I mainly do food styling now, but occasionally I am asked to provide recipe development and media support for chefs—it is always fun to do that—I appreciate their skill and they appreciate the fact that I can make their food look good for the camera.

4. Has being a member of different organizations helped your career in making new friends or job opportunities or both?

With over 25 years in the business, I have made a lot of contacts—many of whom have become good friends. Being exposed to actual production—through visits to various production plants has given me great background knowledge. In food styling, it’s knowing where to find that absolute best items for the shots –great produce suppliers, farms,  bakeries,  butchers and fish suppliers,etc.

I’ve used NRA (National Restaurant Association , Linkedin, and IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) for contacts. Early on, a group called Home Economists in Business (HEIB)was terrific in linking food stylists and other women in the Food Business. I met fellow food stylist, Lisa Golden Schroeder, at the HEIB Minneapolis Food on Film seminars. She and other contacts I made there have been most valuable.  In fact Lisa and I now co-teach an online food styling class through  It’s fun to compare notes with peers and see what they are going through. I’ve gotten job opportunities through Google. Now 85% of work is word of mouth and with my established relationships. Clients such as McCormick, Campbell's, Perdue, and Friendly’s are some that I have had for many years.

5. Did you start out on t.v. and film styling or was it photography?

I first went to T.V. commercials for Stouffers as their company representative—it was there I saw wonderful well-known food stylists in action. My very first food styling job on my own came when I was actually still working for Stouffers—had to style a hot fudge brownie sundae with real ice cream.  I still cringe when I think about it!  Along with print and film styling, I styled for a couple of feature films ---I loved the grand scale of all the movie production, including the massive amount of food needed.

6. Who was your first break through client?

Marriott (which owned Roy Rogers, and Big Boys) was my first big client when I start free lancing.  At the time, Roy Rogers owned about 250 restaurants so I did a ton of print work for them in New York and traveled for them to L.A. for tv shoots.

7. What type of food do you enjoy styling?

I like styling everything. I like the variety. Styling produce is great because the natural beauty and organic shapes. I like to keep things loose and playful as far as my styling. The trend now is a little loose. A casual real approach is what most clients want now—nothing overly styled.

8. I know putting food under hot lights is hard to keep fresh but styling on a grille with a open fire, is that harder? Do you use real fire?

I’ve styled with real flames. I had to keep replacing the food because it would burn up. Now many photographers shoot images of grills with flames and then shoot the food on the grill separately and merge the two shots together.

9. Where do you look for your inspirations?

I look online--Donna Hay, Martha Stewart,  Real Simple, and all the magazines. I look at other stylists work. Donna Hay’s work was groundbreaking in the 90’s. She was the pioneer in the selective focus, “blown out”  look.

10. Do you think social media such as Linkedin helped your career? Is a lot of your work now word of mouth?

Social media is important. It’s helps get your name out there and gives you a chance to show your experience.  A website is essential—but the website just sits there unnoticed unless you have a way to draw people to your site.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Food Friday #9

Karen Quatsoe

1. How did you get into styling?

I got into prop styling in a round about way. In colleges(SVA in NY) I did an internship and worked in a photo studio. The photographer had me running around gathering props for him for still life projects...he shot for AVON quite a bit. I was an advertising/graphic design major but realized by my last year that  I couldn't really see myself doing that as I didn't enjoy drawing story boards or choosing the point size and style of type. After graduation I started a costume jewelry business w/ a childhood friend selling to stores around the country including Blooming, Bendel's, Nordstrom's. After about 8 years our cottage industry needed to move to another level and my friend and I both decided we wanted to pursue other things so I thought about styling. Someone I knew from my neighborhood in Brooklyn was a stylist and I started assisting her.

2. Did you start out styling rooms or food?

The woman I worked for did both  prop styling for food shoots and room shoots. After a few years when I was off on my own I ended up  working for  both HOUSE BEAUTIFUL SPECIAL INTEREST PUBLICATIONS and WOMAN"S DAY SPECIALS styling  for titles such as Home improvement, Kitchen and Bath , Decorating and Remodeling , Home Building. So for several years I traveled around the country as a field editor/stylist working exclusively in homes styling rooms.

3. What do you enjoy styling more? Why?

I currently do more food shoots locally...mostly NYC... A variety of projects including magazines, cookbooks, advertising, and packaging. I started doing more food shoots in the mid 1990's. I would say I enjoy both equally but shooting homes involved traveling and I was really sick of living "out of a suitcase" from May thru Oct.

4. Where do you find your ingredients for your food shoots?

I find props in stores, flea markets and prop houses. The prop houses are the most valuable tool for a prop stylist as the house so many props in one place that may be difficult to find at retail in a timely manner. When you are working on magazines or catalogues you are shooting out of season. Say a Christmas shoot in July so the prop houses are vital.

5. Do you see yourself getting hired directly by photographers or art directors?

I would say both.

6. Who is one of your biggest clients?

A partial client list is on my site. In addition to those listed I have worked for Goya and for Rodale on the BIGGEST LOSER:FLAVORS OF THE WORLD COOKBOOK.

7. Where do you primarily work? Any travel involved?

 I primarily work in NYC. I live in Bucks County. Pa. and would love to work closer to home.

8. Do you see social media as a helpful tool for your business or is a lot of your work word of mouth?

Mostly word of mouth but sending e-mailers with a link to my website. Art directors, photographers and  food companies has definitely been worthwhile.

9. Do you have a favorite food you enjoy styling? Pretty food? Easy food?

My favorite projects whether they be still life. rooms or food usually involve combining old and new props, strong color and texture. I worked on a personal project on a farm in NY state with a team that included 2 food stylist and a photographer.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Counter Culture Coffee...

Copyright 2011 IPhone

I took this a few weeks ago while up in New York and wanted to share it. 
This was at Bluebird Coffee Shop in the east village. 

It's small, flavorful, and friendly. 



Friday, May 27, 2011

Food Friday #8

Ana Kelly

1. How did you get into styling?

I come from a French/Brazilian/Italian background. I’am currently living in Pittsburgh. I graduated with a marketing degree. Had a bunch of jobs, for example Filipacchi Hachette Publishing, Euro Disney. My 2nd degree was in culinary. I attended Bidwell Training Center and fell in love with food. Background in advertising and culinary experience together along with apprenticing for 2 years with a food stylist helped. Also a lot of cold calling. It was a hard time in PA to find work and got more work out of town.

2. I see you have a good number of sauces/dips in your styling, is it hard to get the right consistency? Any tricks to making it stick right?

It depends on the product. An example; red pepper hummus. What makes it appealing, must place with movement that shows texture. The hero object in the shoot is the red pepper. You don’t want to use a lot of garnish. I like the food to speak for itself. At the same time some food garnish might be needed.

3. Have you ever styled drinks? If so what kind? Was it difficult?

Everything is difficult. Even then it depends if client likes it or not. If it’s cold you have to show it’s cold without it actually being cold. With smoothie shoots you must have same consistency as what client uses. They can’t send you their 20,000 dollar machine to make the actual smoothie either.

4. Where do you find yourself working mostly?

Mostly in PA and Ohio. I work where ever anyone calls me though. Started coming to Philadelphia recently.

5. Do you work with photographers directly or do you get hired more through art directors?

50/50 with both. Depends on company, art directors come to me to get my real rate. It’s always a bidding war.

6. Have you always done still photography styling or did you start out in t.v. styling?

I started doing movies here and there. I did a party scene on Wonder Boys with wine and cheese. Whatever passes through the scene. Also prop master might hire me. Once I had to cook food to be eaten that had to be served cold. It was a rack of lamb. I was Frenching tons of bones for the rack of lamb. High end looking meal for “rich” family for movie. Love and Other Drugs was another movie. With still images there is more attention to still. Motion it’s more forgiving.

7. Now that social media is growing do you find yourself using it more as a marketing tool?

Yes. Facebook I have my fan page. Ana The Uncensored Chef is my RAW Facebook page. Clients are my friends on Facebook. Personality has a lot to do with it. I have a fan page, Ana Kelly Food Styling.

8. What is your favorite tool you use on set? Why?

Vaseline, crazy glue, tweezers, Q-tips, Windex, and blue sticky. Without any of these things it’s not worth showing up. You must invest in business, it takes a lot of money. Especially to get larger clients. You have to front a lot of work out of pocket.

9. Who was your first big client?

First big client was All-Clad, then Campbell's. I did a Art institute commercial. All-Clad selling pots and pans. Moved onto Smuckers company. Also worked with Emeril, Giant Eagle (grocery chain), Market district.

10. What is your favorite thing to style?

I use food to style. I like to use food to make other things. I have used Jell-O to insinuate a butt jiggling. There is no one favorite thing I enjoy to style, I just like to use food to create other things that aren't necessarily meant to be food or eaten.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Watch Out Milkman!

The other day I was on the mainline meeting Neil Binkley for coffee and to look over my photography. His recommendation of a coffee shop to meet at was perfect!

Milkboy.. The name is as cute and funny as the logo. This Pudgy, happy one color toned boy placed on the coffee sleeve really set the mood.

It wasn’t that though that will keep me coming back, it was their almond croissant pastry. It was like funnel cake for breakfast! You would expect it to be flaky and light but it was this doughy center when pulled apart and melted in my mouth. The powdered sugar and slivered almonds were a nice touch. Then I washed it down with my freshly brewed coffee brought to my seat in the window.

The only thing the Milkboy lacked was a business card. They instead had a great little sticker with a amp on it. They short history behind it, is it used to be a recording studio then expanded into selling coffee. You can get a better explanation on their website.

What else is great they are on Twitter! :)


Friday, May 13, 2011

Food Friday #7

1.) How long have you been in the food styling business?

I have been prop styling for seven years. I started food styling about five years ago mostly out of necessity because several of the shoots I was styling were about entertaining and therefore involved food.  I’ve always been an avid cook, I’ve taken a lot of cooking classes, knife sills classes, etc. and also built my prop styling career by working in the restaurant business at night.

2.) What is your education background?

I have an undergraduate degree is in journalism and I worked in publishing both in Philadelphia and New York for several years before going back to school for photography.

3.) Who was your first break through client?

I’m not sure that I’ve ever had one break through client but there have been three employers on my career path who have given me significant guidance and opportunities.  The first is Barry Halkin, a Philadelphia architectural photographer who I worked for after graduating from art school.  He introduced me to the world of architecture and interior design.   Zave Smith, another Philadelphia photographer who I assisted for, introduced me to the idea of prop styling as a career and gave me a lot of opportunities to develop my styling skills on his shoots.   Anne Bigler, the Art Director for Philadelphia Home magazine gave me my first editorial styling job.  

4.) What do you enjoy styling the most?

I love styling food because it’s so precise.  I think fresh produce is the most beautiful thing in the world.

5.) Your site shows your wide variety of expertise, do you enjoy styling food or rooms more? 

I enjoy them both.  As I mentioned food styling is very precise and it allows me a professional outlet for my OCD.  Styling interiors gives me a chance to play with different styles of design because every location is so different.

Do you travel a lot for work? 

No, I don’t really travel for work.  I’m based in Philadelphia and most of my clients are located in Philadelphia, New York or D.C.

7.) Where do you find your prop? Stores, Trash cans? Best resource?

I’m definitely a collector.  I love thrift stores and yard sales.  My grandmother was an antique dealer and my mom displays a lot of her old glass, plate and cookware in her home.  I borrow from my mom regularly, and refer to her home as "my second prop closet". I’m also lucky enough to have a large group of friends who are collectors of all sorts of things from old cameras and tools to vintage fabrics and jewelry.  I’m shameless about hitting up everyone I know for props.

8.) Is a lot of your work word of mouth now? How hard was it to break into styling?  

Up until a year ago, all of my work came from word of mouth. Now I list myself on several online film and photo production directories and I find them to be very effective.  Breaking into styling was not very difficult for me but I’ve had a lot of very generous people passing my name along and many clients who have been very loyal even in challenging economy.

9.) Do you find yourself working with art directors or photographers more? Or is it a middle collaboration? 

I find that I collaborate with photographers and art directors equally.  Usually the art director presents an overall vision for a project and then the photographer and I will typically work together to bring it to life.  

10.)  Hardest thing you had to style.

I think the hardest thing I ever had to style was a grilled cheese sandwich.  I have some favorite cheeses that I like to work with but for this particular shoot I had to use the client’s products, which were not very cooperative.  Also, the art director was not at the shoot so the photographer had to quickly shoot each sandwich and email it to the art director.   Every time the art director wanted to make a change, the sandwich was already too old to shoot again.  I must have made 40-50 grilled cheese sandwiches that day in order to have a perfect option ready at all times. I do however, still enjoy a good grilled cheese!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Food Friday #6

"I love to tie history and food together."

1.) With your Broadcasting degree did you think you were going to end up as a food stylists?
No. I didn’t even know what a food stylist was back then.

2.) What made you decide on going to school for a culinary degree?
I had been working for CBS at channel 10 here in Philadelphia and at the same time was the sales manager.  When CBS sold channel 10 to NBC in 1995 or 96 I stuck around with NBC for a year. The way they did business wasn’t the way I wanted to, so I left the station. I just decided, being a very successful sales guy with money in the bank I have always wanted to work in the restaurant industry and wanted to go back and learn what the chefs were doing.  Learn the “secrets.” I have cooked and bartend in the past and I knew there were things out there I didn’t know.

3.) You have a substantial list of chefs you’ve worked with, do you think that’s where the majority of your work still comes from or was that a door that opened into more possibilities?
Neither. I came to be able to work with all those chefs in one or two locations. When I was in culinary school there was a job posting on one of the bulletin for food stylist for QVC . I didn’t know what that was so I just went to see what that was all about. I went to work for QVC. I started meeting clients out there that needed a food stylist.  Worked with industry clients T.V. styling that way.  I started with the Christina Pirello show. Started to work for Banyan Productions. At the time they were a production company that handled Christina’s program for PBS.  That’s how I got into T.V. styling production. Then started producing another show for Discovery Channel Epicurious. Which there is still a version of that on internet.  I was the kitchen director for that show. Had a team of food stylists working for me. The T.V. production business is a small inbred group that move to together to production companies. If you don’t know anyone you won’t get anywhere. Wants your in, your in. If you do a good job also. You gotta believe you can make a clients vision happen.

4.) Did you start out doing T.V. food styling or was it still photography?
Started out doing live T.V. styling with QVC. What’s great about still photo now is its digital.

5.) Do the chefs you’ve worked with have their own restaurants or was it primarily individual chefs that had recipes and cookbooks?
They were all very well known chefs with their own restaurants, cookbooks, and recipes. Paul Prudhomme, Emeril...

6.) What do you enjoy styling the most?
I like styling more than anything. Very tough to style drinks. You can recreate anything in photoshop. Digital has made it easier from a food stylist and photographer’s standpoint. Also clients get images immediately.

7.) What kind of garden do you have at home?
Vegetable, fruits, herbs. An Organic garden. I started with my seeds in the basement. Things I tend to grow are things that are usually more expensive. Eggplants, peas, tomatoes, green yellow beans. I grow my own culinary herbs. Fresh is the best!

8.) Who was your breakthrough client?
Christina Pirello. She played a pivotal role in my food styling career.

9.) Have you ever worked or been hired directly by a photographer?
 I’ve been hired by a photographer through a client. Never directly by a photographer. Usually a creative director between photographer and myself. Or a production manager with a company or magazine. I’ve been directly hired by photographer Dan Engongoro. His studio is Studio E Imaging in Lambertville, NJ. 
10.) What is your favorite home meal to make?
I don’t cook like I used to. I changed my eating habits in the past 2 years. Chicken Marango is my favorite dish. There is such a great story behind that dish. Sauteed chicken breast which is served over a piece of toast. On top of chicken is crawfish which have been sauteed in vermouth toped with a fried egg. Great backstory: 1804-1806 Napoleon found himself on battlefield near Marango in Italy. Moved around a lot for battle and left his supplies behind once. He was hungry and had to eat something so he finds a chicken and had cognac and vermouth. Finds crawfish at local stream and goes back and cooks a meal. Apparently first use of chicken and seafood on same dish. “Culinary legend”

Friday, April 29, 2011

Food Friday #5

This was a test shoot with Lisa Russell. A very talented food/prop stylist 
in Philadelphia, Pa

She had a bunch of wood supplies she had been dieing to photograph, and I had the opportunity to shoot it with her. Great minds think alike and great results come with it! 

Interview to look forward in the Fridays ahead!

Monday, April 25, 2011

ASMP Bulletin, 01 Apr 2011. Page1

ASMP Bulletin
01 Apr 2011

Peanut Butter Rules!

Finally I got to taste the weirdest but greatest peanut butter sandwich(jelly was an option).

I heard of this sandwich shop briefly through main line Tweets, and discovered this little gold mine of a place in Wayne, PA. If anyone lives in or around Philadelphia this is a place you have to try. There’s only one and even though they just opened this past August I know it will take off.

This place is so different because there’s only one like it. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a staple food in any family household. If anything I’d be the first to take part in this idea and spread the joy. After the first anxiousness passed me I was able to analyze the place from a consumer point of view while taking snap shots with my camera. Would this place really succeed? Is the quality there? The atmosphere for kids and adults? Location?

Pros: The quality and options for peanut butter: There was 5 options for me which was plenty because they all looked good. Gluten free, chocolate peanut butter, chunky, all natural, and creamy. At first I wasn’t sure which one I wanted and the person behind the counter was super friendly and helpful asking me if I wanted to taste any first. In the end I chose the chunky peanut butter. To add to the fun atmosphere the quirky chalkboard menu had all the options for make your own and pre-made sandwiches clearly written. Being my first time there I went with a pre fixed option which was the peanut butter, honey, cinnamon sugar, raisins, and cream cheese sandwich. It was VERY good. I had it on wheat bread toast. Also the sandwiches came with a bag of cheddar Sun Chips, which was odd at first but worked :) Sat at one of the peanut shaped tables and chowed down!

Cons: The options for bread weren’t as extensive as I might of liked. Maybe throw in wraps? Or challah bread. I thought it was great how they really made the peanut butter shine and tie in its historical roots with facts on the wall, but I feel like the jelly part was left in the dust. I think they could elevate both sides of the spectrum and have some pre-fixed jelly sandwiches like they have for the peanut butter. It’s a great location for the shop but it’s a tease because there’s not one in the city. The only other thing that bothered me was the lack of comfortable seating. The idea behind the furniture was great but the chairs were hard wood on a hard cement floor. Adding some lounge seating wouldn’t be a bad idea.

That’s my review in a nutshell (peanut shell) I’ll be going back, and I encourage you to go too!