Apr 30, 2009

The Date Night Cookbook

We recently collaborated with Meredith Phillips, former star of The Bachelorette, to create The Date Night Cookbook. She has become a dear friend and as Spring arrives, some of her recipes popped into our little heads.

We are happy to report that Meredith is in a loving, non-televised relationship and when asked what the secret to their success was, Meredith replied "date night", and the book's concept was born.

Keeping the focus on quick, healthy (yet tasty) and easy menus, some of our favorites include a gorgeous salsa cruda, decadent pasta with cauliflower and pancetta and sassy tangerine margaritas. If you'd like a recipe, holla!

Apr 23, 2009

Cupcake Break

When you're hard at work on your Mac, and you're four, sometimes you need to take a moment and have a vanilla cupcake. Cindie made this one especially for our littlest member of the set. Somebody knows how to smile AND model product. When Mandy was four, she was potty trained.

Yes, the icing is the best part, so let's not mess about. Bliss.

What April 23rd Looked Like

We love to start the day of right when we're in Rancho Cucamonga (which is becoming so common, we are proposing that Motel 6 knock out a couple of walls and design a suite to hold our entourage). Our RCM ritual is breakfast at Zeke's Eatin' Place. As Denise says, "it's clean as a whistle and Judy is the hardest working waitress I've ever seen. And we're a big fan of breakfast meats."

We gathered our breakfasts for a group shot. Denise and Cindie were beyond their bacon obsession on the third consecutive day at Zeke's, and switched their dishes thusly.

Denise had a cheese and avocado omelet with hash browns and sourdough toast. She said the omelet was delicious and had every intention of not finishing the hash browns. Which she did not, although if she did, we wouldn't tell.

Cindie had french toast sans breakfast meats. It looked dense, eggy, buttery and scrumptious and she said it did not disappoint. Mandy had the "one-egg breakfast": one egg (I chose fried), hash browns (I chose the "light eater" portion) and sourdough toast. Nummy, although she wasn't all that hungry as she inhaled a giant burrito for dinner the night before. She figured she'd work it off.

Denise's genius lasagna "hero" plate.

What genius takes.

We had to capture Cindie's heavenly cherry pie with Denise's amazing triple Cool Whip dollop. Mandy was the natural choice to model the pie with her cherry apron. How domestic.

International Food Stars!

Apr 16, 2009


Here we are, jumping into this bloggy blog world. We are excited, we are confused, and we are ready to tell our tales...so hold on!

And now, a howdy do from our fearless leader, Denise Vivaldo:

Why we named our blog

I've been a food stylist for 20 years. That means I make food ready for the camera, any camera. Still, video, film -it doesn't matter. Cindie came to Food Fanatics as an Intern 10 years ago -she never left. She was a natural.

Los Angeles is a big media city -so, we work a lot. Like everyday.

From the outside -food styling looks like an easy "food" job. Not true. We make food and everyone else look good and it ain't always easy. We work with food manufacturers, pr firms, celebrity chef's, faux chef's, photographers, production companies, restaurants - we work for anyone or anything connected with food. It can be pretty amazing.

The idea behind this blog is to peek behind the kitchen door and see us at work. It's the good, the bag and often times, the ugly. Who mentioned Sandra Lee? Our goal it to provide a weekly update on what our strange lives are like.

Like cowgirls at a rodeo, we'll try to corral information to give to Mandy, our blog mistress. The universe sent us Mandy, otherwise we would never get this done. We are grateful.

Please see the picture above of Cindie's hands (photo courtesy of Heather Winter). Cindie was sorting through giant cans of cheap chili for our hero dish. This is the glamorous life we lead. The photo will be on their can. I've never eaten canned chili and can now say with utter confidence, will never do so. There are better ways to die.

And there you have it. Denise, Cindie and I hope you will join us on our culinary adventures. We don’t travel light, our dogs wear sweaters and as Denise always says, “that’s exactly right”.

Do It For Less! Weddings: How to Create Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking the Bank

Weddings cost an average of $27,000 (2007 national average). Do-It-for-Less! Weddings is an answer to that nightmare (and pre-marital debt).

It's a practical guide for brides- and grooms-to-be, showing them how to design and plan a lavish wedding on a tight budget. The book addresses everything a novice wedding planner needs to know, including information and insider tips on master timelines, budgets, invitations, locations, catering, cakes, flowers, food preparation and recipes, and more. Vivaldo offers tried-and-true tricks of the catering and event-planning trades and shows readers how to save thousands of dollars while creating the wedding of their dreams.

Do It for Less! Parties: Tricks of the Trade from Professional Caterers' Kitchens

Many people can handle throwing a party for 8 or 10 people, but how many can successfully negotiate the trials of entertaining 25 or 50? Do It for Less! Parties has all the tools you need to plan efficiently and entertain flawlessly when cooking for a crowd. Packed with quantity recipes for 12, 25, 50, or 75 friends and family, this combination party cookbook, decorating guide, and entertaining primer shows today’s savvy hostess how to do it for less time and do it for less money without sacrificing one’s sanity or style.

The first half of the book focuses on the logistics of quantity cooking. It’s brimming with estimating guides, catering resources, and conversion charts that are useful for the professional caterer and home entertainer alike. The second half provides nine complete menus with 65 twice-tested, quantity recipes. All the menus include complete shopping lists in each quantity, a menu countdown, decoration ideas, and specific tips for shaving costs, time, and stress from your preparation schedule.

How to Start a Home-Based Personal Chef Business

Are you passionate about cooking? Have you ever thought about working from home at something you enjoy? Now you can make your dreams a reality.

Through plain language and easy-to-follow worksheets, Denise Vivaldo takes you through every aspect of setting up and running a thriving home-based personal chef business, from estimating your start-up costs and finding clients to cooking for special needs and staying profitable. Whether you’re just starting to learn the trade or are an experienced chef looking to be your own boss, this guide can help you build your own successful personal chef business.

How to Start a Home-Based Catering Business

Are you passionate about parties? Do you live to cook? Now you can realize your dream of working from home at something you enjoy - a home-based catering business.

Author Denise Vivaldo shares her experiences and advice on every aspect of setting up and running a thriving home-based catering business, from estimating your start-up costs and finding clients to outfitting your kitchen and staying profitable. She even offers tips on the latest high-tech help, including CD-ROM recipe books, culinary Web sites, and computer software designed especially for chefs and caterers.

Learn all about defining your market niche, selling yourself as a pro, establishing your daily schedule, pricing your services, organizing parties with ease, honing your food presentation skills, avoiding the 10 most common home-based mistakes and much more.