Jan 26, 2010

What Food Stylist's Do In Their Spare Time

The short life and tragic death of Benjamin Bloodorange

by Cindie Flannigan

Jan 22, 2010

How To Bake Bread by Michael Kalanty. Review by Blog Mistress Mandy

As a cook, I am afraid of baking. I know I'm not alone in this. The precise weights, measures and formulas make this girl shake in her Dansko clogs (math not a strong suit-I promptly dropped out of Algebra 2x as soon as I got a college acceptance letter).

Michael took all the fear away as he patiently and clearly explains each step of the bread making process.

He starts by uncovering The Five Families Of Bread:

Lean Dough (ie Baguettes)
Soft Dough (ie Ballons)
Rich Dough (ie Butter Bread)
Slack Dough (ie Focaccia)
Sweet Dough (ie Cinnamon Buns)

Reading this book reminded me of culinary school. In school, you learn that it is one thing to have a margin of talent and be able to create delicious dishes by following a recipe. It is another thing entirely to LEARN and know your food by touch, look, taste and feel. When you understand food as product and how to apply techniques to enhance the product, you are completely empowered.

Michael's book made me feel this way about the world that is bread.

Not wholly unrelated to his bread bible, we happened upon this delightful video of Michael demonstrating pizza throwing with his students at the CCA and just had to share it with you.

I decided to try the simplest of bread "formulas": the baguette. Please enjoy my pictorial bread adventure!

Ingredients couldn't be simpler: yeast, flour, water, salt

The dough pre-knead. I love kneading. So satisfying.

After two rests, my "baguette" was ready to hit the oven. Yeah, it ended up kinda big, and kinda wide...first attempt, y'all!

It smelled amazing as soon as it hit the oven. Here it is, golden brown.

Okay, so it felt very dense and I honestly did not have high hopes. When I cut into it, I was pleasantly surprised. Cooked all the way through, a touch moist...then husband and I tasted it. I'M A BREAD BAKER! So good. Thank you, Michael! I think I have found a new hobby (well, my first hobby-I'm not big on fun).

To purchase Michael's book,call 1 800 BOOK LOG and use discount code RSB2010XF. Bloggers can get a 50% publisher discount, making the price only $25.00!

Jan 20, 2010

Teaching At The Art Institute. Fabulous!

We just had the most fun last weekend teaching at The Art Institute of California in San Francisco. The design of the school, the kitchen and the staff were all amazing. The Art Institutes have over 40 locations, 30 of which offer culinary arts programs.

Click here to learn more. We hope to teach food styling at many Art Institutes in the future!

Our dear friend, Linda Carucci, is the culinary director in San Francisco and we cannot say enough good things about her.

Blog Mistress Mandy found this video of Linda on View From The Bay (we're a little behind as it was shot last January, but just in time for Superbowl 2010! Her muhammara recipe demo is making us very, very hungry).

Back to the Master Class...click here to view Anita's photo pictorial of the weekend. Gorgeous work as always, missy!

Jan 12, 2010

What An Infomercial Omelet Looks Like

Jenny's beautiful omelet.

Now it is time to plate the omelet. This is the "hero" or "beauty" plate. Cindie is sprucing.

Omelet is ready for her close-up.

When working on infomercials, one thing you can count on is too many shots in one day. This makes (many, many) lists absolutely essential. A good checklist means when you're brain dead and hypoglycemic at 4:30pm, you can consult the list you made when you still had all of your marbles.

More supplies. This is (part of) the dry goods section. Mandy was eyeballing the Entenmann's cinnamon rolls. A lot. Down, girl.

Jan 11, 2010

Back On The Infomercial Wagon

We haven't taken you into the bowels of food styling for an infomercial for awhile, and know you have been feeling a little deprived.

Here you go, lovelies:

The rented fridge. This is the food we need today. Only today. This is only the beginning.

Cindie cooling off for a brief moment.

Jenny is getting ready to make an omelet with the rented stove, which is next to the rented sink.

Jeff is strategizing the what food will look best on which plate.

Yes, we are working in a garage. This is not unusual, and we are grateful for the shade!

More pictures to follow...

Jan 6, 2010

March 2010: Styling and Photo Techniques for Food Writers and Bloggers

We are thrilled to announce that our Styling and Photo Techniques for Food Writers and Bloggers class will be offered on March 13 & 14, 2010.

We will be teaching this popular workshop with Matt Armendariz in Long Beach, California.

Click here to register.

Click here
to read one former student's experience with this workshop.

We hope to see you there!