Nov 18, 2013
Dorothy of Shocklingly Delicious was kind enough to include the Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds on her list of fabulous holiday gifts for the culinary enthusiasts in your life. Click here to check out her entire list. Thank you, dear Dorothy. Holiday shopping, DONE!
Nov 16, 2013
|Styling by Denise Vivaldo and Jazreel Chan. Photo by Dario Milano.|
We had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Tuck of during our Food Styling Intensive. The class was amazing and we can't wait to do it all over again in 2014. Below is an excerpt of Sarah's experience.
"Although I didn't get to cook while I was there I did get to play with food, and learn a whole lot of clever tricks used by stylists to keep food looking good for photography. Some of the techniques were incredible for film, TV or advertising styling, and there were heaps I picked up to use myself for blogging, magazine and website work - less about your style of styling if you get what I mean, and more about helping the food look it's best. We learnt everything from how to make food steam for a shot, to slowing down the pour of maple syrup or chocolate sauce, to keeping salad greens and fruit from browning under lights..."
Click here to enjoy her post in its entirety.
Nov 1, 2013
It's happening. In less than a month. You're cooking (or perhaps catering). You have no idea what you're doing. Or you've done it and want to try something different. Or you want to get drunk just thinking about it.
We hear you!
In Do It For Less! Parties, we lovingly hold your hand through the whole holiday entertaining process, from decorating, menu countdowns and complete shopping lists, to how to make the perfect turkey and recipes that will feed 12, 25, 50, or 75 guests.
Here is our Free Complete Thanksgiving Guide with our sincerest gratitude for following the blog, buying the books, attending the classes, and making us smile! Let us know how it all turns out, or send us pictures and we'll post them!
Oct 2, 2013
|Photo Courtesy of Educated Palate|
In 1983, I was a student at the California Culinary Academy in my hometown of San Francisco. Against the advice of my mother (and just about everyone else), I enrolled and started my chef studies. I was 33, the age Jesus died on the cross. I often miss big signs from the universe.
At the time, my mother could only say, "Isn't this why we sent you to college the first time? So you wouldn't end up working in the kitchen?" She had a point; the women always had a point. I was determined.
During the first three months of very intensive schooling, I would walk everyday during my lunch break to ponder if this had been a smart move. There were only five women in my class of 90 students. We were treated poorly, discouraged often and yes, asked to serve the chefs' differently. Male classmates were there to learn to cook and run kitchens. Girls were at the CCA because the Constitution of the United States made them accept us.
It was a hard time. I was not used to taking orders or being a second-class citizen. I had had a successful career and put my first husband through college and dental school. I knew how to take care of business. Taking care of myself did not come as easily
The notice went up on the bulletin board that Marcella Hazan was coming to teach an Italian cooking class. It was not part of the curriculum, but if you wanted to attend you might have to assist or be an escort to Ms. Hazan.
I was the first person to volunteer. I could not believe my good fortune.
My interest in cooking began in 1973 with Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Marcella's landmark, The Classic Italian Cookbook. One was completely foreign and the other was like coming home. My Italian grandmother and aunts cooked like Marcella. Wonderful meals to eat, share and enjoy with your family at home.
When the Grand Dame of Italian food arrived, I was surprised because she was tiny. With slightly blonde hair, not yet grey. What I noticed were her huge, soulful eyes.
She brought her own apron. Plain, a real cook's apron, not fancy. With two other female students, we prepped lemons and herbs and several chickens for her to roast. If there was time, Marcella would also make a pasta dish. When I turned around to ask her if she needed anything else, she had a cigarette dangling from her lips.
My classmates and I had done almost everything wrong in the set-up, and Marcella quickly handed us back our prep bowls and verbally instructed us: "Oh no, this too big, this too small, this too wet." All of her instructions were given with a warm desire for perfection and a straightforward smile.
An hour had passed and other students were wandering in for the class before I noticed that Marcella had one dominant arm. Her right arm, much weaker, was a condition often referred to as a withered arm that had been caused by a childhood accident.
I was stunned because I'd been questioning if I had what it took to make it in the kitchen, any kitchen, and here was an idol, cooking away with only one really good arm.
It was a sign from the universe I didn't miss. If this tiny, smart, biologist turned chef could make it in the kitchen, I had to try.
Marcella smoked after her cooking class was over, even though several people told her no smoking was allowed in the demo kitchen. She simply replied, "I smoke.''
Years later, I told this story to her son Giuliano, and he sweetly mumbled, "Yes, that sounds like my mother."
I found a classmate to drive Marcella to her next school. He was whining that he didn't let people smoke in his car. I kept saying, "This is Marcella Hazan, open a damn window."
When he returned I asked, "Well, how did it go?' And his sheepish reply was,
"Guess What? She smoked!"
Sep 16, 2013
Posted by Kirsty Bryson.
This class is amazing!!
I am a Food stylist and have attended Denise Vivaldo’s food styling workshops two years in a row 2010 & 2011. I am helping Denise return to Australia to bring you this brilliant class.
Denise was in Sydney March 2013 and due to popular demand she is bringing this class back again.
Denise Vivaldo is an American Food stylist who got her big break into food styling some 30 years ago through Aaron Spelling. She is a published author of several books including The Food Stylist's Handbook. As a consultant, food stylist, and culinary producer, Denise has helped with numerous television productions, infomercials, food manufacturers, grocery stores chains, restaurants, publishers, authors and celebrities with their projects and products.
She brings with her to Australia a wealth of skills and knowledge, which she is happy to pass on…no secrets here!
This course is designed for professionals; those working as stylists, assistant stylists, photographers, food bloggers, foodies, food writers, people in advertising and people starting out in the food industry.
It may be this class that sets you apart from the others; it’s going to arm you with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.
The class will be held at the Sydney Cooking School in Neutral Bay. Details of the course can be found here.
Feel free to ask me any questions in regards to this workshop; email@example.com or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This class has limited spots and is filling up fast.
Hope to see some of you there!
Aug 9, 2013
I have lost count of the cooking show pilots and series I have worked on as a food stylist. I put them in the good, the bad, and "I worked the Titanic" categories. Most of them were decent shows that lasted a few seasons and then disappeared. The television show being the pinnacle of the talent's career, even adding a cookbook or two, but no remarkable sales. Those shows just go bye-bye, and the talent goes back to their restaurant or bakery or computer. If you don't know, I'll tell you that most talent has a very small window of time. Only a tiny percentage moves on to super stardom.
Several shows I've worked on from the spark of an idea to thirteen taped shows never made it on the air. The network sells the forgettable season off to hotel programming after a dismal weekend showing. Now, I told producers on one particular show, "Really guys, don't cast for talent on Craigslist." Those silly kids, they just had too much of someone else's money, and the show was ahead of its time; gluten free, sugar free, vegan, no dairy (we mixed up a lot of nuts). As the stylist, I was left with brown gunk. And every time we used the dehydrator, we fell behind schedule. Twelve to fourteen hours is a long time to cook a tomato. Remember, television is a visual medium. Thank GOD the hostess had a nice rack.
When the shows bombed or died, so did the producers. In my career of 25 years, I think I've worked with at least four generations of producers. Just like dog years, producers age and die rapidly. It's only fair. They've had enough. I've had producer friends that were driven to drugs, alcohol, and serial marriages. And they were the happy ones.
The best shows for me have always been hosted by real chefs or cooking school teachers. Talent who knew their craft and loved their work. It wasn't money or fame that drove them. It was the food. Now, don't misunderstand me, just because they were great chefs didn't mean they were exceptional people, nobody's perfect. Actually, one of my favorite chefs is still in jail. I don't care what evidence the jury had, he was such a nice guy who made an exceptional reduced fat eggplant Parmesan.
What I have witnessed when I'm around the greats, the legends, the masters...their work is truly their bliss.
I have seen a lot from my backstage kitchen. It's not always pretty but it's usually funny. Yes, you can die laughing in the kitchen. I have written volumes about my kitchen adventures but on the advice of my attorney, my last agent, my present agent, and possibly pending agent...I've inspired a script instead. Please know that ALL names have been changed to protect the guilty. This is a script for television; it's not real. Even if it seems real it, is not real. It's as real as a Real Housewife.
A few years ago, one of my best clients and producers, Pattie Kelly said, "Denise, we'll have our writer friend Brian Everingham come and follow you around on set, he'll take notes and make sure you tell him all your war stories." At the time, I was working with a woman so mean, she would have made Osama Bin Laden cry. I dubbed her Princess Petty Tyrant. But, I had to admit that bitch could cook, and then Brian created Amanda Bliss.
The other cast of characters fell into place; the brow beaten assistant, the sassy food stylist, the director with the voice of GOD, the network show runner with his perpetual tick, and the dear, foolish producers, always like generals, screaming no guts, no glory. It's a very littered battlefield. I've known them all.
I love seeing "behind-the-scenes" on a set and thinking; it's only Monday.
Our show is called "Swallow Your Bliss." We need money to make the pilot. We want to make it our way and with our talent. And yes, there are some dirty, sexy, possibly raunchy parts that go down in the kitchen. Why else work there?
My team and I are asking for donations (your money) - oops, now it's called "Crowd Fundraising." Please go to our Indiegogo page and make any size donation.
Everyone in the Army of Bliss has been working for free, even our talented cast for months. We believe in this idea that much. Please join us and help yourself to a big serving of fun and laughter!
Denise Vivaldo feels if you know her, you will donate because dammit, she's funny and one of the hardest working women in Hollywood and if you have worked with her and you were a shit, you owe her hush money.
Aug 6, 2013
|Swallow Your Bliss at Times Square!|
INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS SET TO CREATE INDEPENDENT TELEVISION WITH CROWD FUNDING OF SITCOM PILOT FOR SWALLOW YOUR BLISS
A brand new sitcom produced by Scarpaci/Kelly Productions is taking a truly independent approach to funding its pilot episode by raising money on crowd funding site, Indiegogo.
Swallow Your Bliss is a tantalizing food-centric sitcom about a top-rated TV cooking show and its life-addled crew. In "Bliss", the only thing sacred is the food. Everything else is fair game.
Award-winning food stylist/chef Denise Vivaldo and multiple award-winning indie filmmakers Pattie Kelly, Phil Scarpaci and Brian Everingham created Swallow Your Bliss.
The sitcom was born out of their obsession for cooking shows, the antics of many celebrity chefs, their complicated recipes and definitely their public gaffs. So it is not surprising that between a food stylist/chef, a producer, a director and a writer, that this hilariously funny script came to life.
Rounding out the team are Actor/Producer Christopher Rich (Murphy Brown/Reba/Boston Legal) Actor/Producer Lisa Long (Shameless) respected Casting Director/Producer Ricki Maslar, C.S.A and veteran actor Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation / Castle).
What sets this crowd funding campaign apart is that this is the very first time a sitcom has turned to a crowd funding site like Indiegogo to raise money to film the actual pilot episode. By utilizing this unique independent approach, the team, who refer to themselves as the "Army of Bliss", will have the opportunity to shoot the pilot their way, maintaining the wacky characters and the quirky humor they feel makes it special.
Indiegogo allows the production to launch a campaign of this size to help generate interest in the project throughout the entertainment community and beyond. By involving potentially thousands of people through the crowd funding process, they will create an early buzz for the project that can help the actual series find its permanent home. The Indiegogo campaign can fund the project quickly so it can go into production in months not years. The filming of the pilot episode is currently scheduled for the end of October.
Additionally, Swallow Your Bliss will give back as they move forward by donating five percent of all funds raised to the Los Angeles Mission,
their lead character's favorite charity.
Contact: Cherry Hepburn Office: (818) 783-4071
Cell: (818) 471-7079
Cell: (818) 471-7079
Thank you SO much for your support!