Sep 28, 2011

Personal Chef's Food Styling Savvy Helps Boost Business


Personal Chef Garbo took my food styling class a few years ago and hit the ground running! With a thriving business in San Francisco, she's taken what she learned and given herself an edge in this internet/food blog/visually centered culinary world we find ourselves in.

I can honestly say that listening to Denise Vivaldo’s talk on food styling at the 2007 USPCA Conference in Philadelphia changed my life. Soon after, I signed up for her Master Food Styling class with Gail Kenagy, former President of the USPCA. I was so inspired and energized that I returned home and immediately began a series of photo shoots of all the menus that I prepare for my clients. I applied many of the techniques I learned at Vivaldo’s class and soon the Return on Investment (ROI) kicked in when my phone started to ring more frequently. People really do “eat with their eyes” and it was my new and improved photos of carefully styled plates that attracted the business.

She recognizes the importance of an appealing website with enticing photos, and the time and care she puts into how she represents herself and her product comes shining through.  Her photos have won her cheffing clients amongst an elite group of chefs, and she shares a few of her secrets here!


Click here to enjoy the article in its entirely. Congratulations, and cheers to continued success!

Sep 23, 2011

Peek Inside Carla Snyder's Kitchen


Carla Snyder, a dear friend, has been in the culinary world for three decades, wearing every hat imaginable (caterer, cooking school teacher, artisan baker, food writer, corporate culinary event planner, cookbook co-author and co-owner of Kitchen Counter Points cooking school). Deep breath.  Talented, smart, can cook on a dime, and nice, too! Doesn't her kitchen make you want to bake something involving cinnamon?

Carla raised her family in a 1961 center hall colonial, located in a quiet neighborhood in Hudson, Ohio. She has lived there for 23 years, and during much of that time the nearly 50-year-old kitchen had only two functioning burners and, as Carla put it, "a satanic double wall oven that went from 350 to broil on its own accord." 

This was obviously not the ideal place to test recipes, and so a few years ago Carla took the plunge and remodeled. "Aside from the births of my children, it was the best thing I've ever done," says Carla.

Click here for more than a peek at Carla's beautiful kitchen. The red knobs on the stove are killing me!

Sep 14, 2011

When Students Get Work

Work it.

I cherish these kind of stories. Had to share the success of a former student. Way to go!

i wanted to update you on my first overseas food shoot...

firstly, i never work sooo hard ever! we started work at 8/9am with grocery shopping, prep til noon, and the shooting didn't end until 2am to 5 am in the morning...haha if only i had included overtime hours in my quotation...the opportunity was more important than money since i m still building up my portfolio. i did not know then i would end up working so many hours!

i was kinda stressed out before as you know. it helps that everyone was really nice and my assistant (an aspiring food stylist), and another assistant to a famous food stylist in manila for 20 years were really really helpful!

am super glad that i took your advice and paid a thai chef to give me a crash course cooking lesson (since i was shooting asian food). she gave me lots of pointers that come in handy. knowing how to cook does make a difference...

even ingredients that are commonly available here are not available in manila (i.e. no shallots, instead its all about deep fried garlic over there). one of the girls had to travel for 6 hours for potted herbs that i just needed to use 2 tiny pieces of!

thanks to you i did use the saw i brought over, the paper for absorbing oil (strange these are not available there), and the coloring that you ask me to buy. and i followed your teaching on sharing, and in return they shared with me tips on stopping bleaching beet roots in soup. how nice is that!

you're so right about taking chance and challenging myself. if not i would never know i can do THIS.
will email you the food packaging i styled when they send it to me next year...can't wait to see!

Sep 13, 2011

Guest-Proof Your Home For Harmless Holiday Partying!

The holidays are coming, yet again. We know what you're imagining. A perfect vision of home entertaining: House is spotless, wine is chilling, weather is brisk but not too cold.

The reality of home entertaining: The morning after you are on your hands and knees trying to scrub the wine stain out of the carpet and the plumber’s on the way to snake the toilet that couldn’t quite handle 100 guests. Taking a few easy precautions can save a lot of stress and money!

Breakables.  If your guests are likely to spring to their feet at the opening bars of Jingle Bell Rock and you anticipate lots of dancing, remove all breakables and delicate items before the guests arrive.  Common items that may be damaged include table lamps, picture frames, candle holders, glass and porcelain anything, and, of course, potted plants, whose soil will be strewn everywhere by the party’s end.

Privacy.  If you have a special attachment to a certain piece of furniture or carpet and you think that throwing a tarp over it may offend your guests, either move it to another room or close the door and hang a polite sigh that says “private area.”

Clogged pipes. Have your toilet snaked before the party, especially if you expect a lot of guests. Better to spend $40 now than to risk having to spend hundreds of dollars to call an emergency plumber during the party.

Toiletries.  Stock the bathroom with plenty of paper napkins, tissues, and toilet paper.  Provide a trashcan, and check on it every hour to make sure it doesn’t get too full. Using a pump dispenser for soap will keep the sink area cleaner than using bar soap.  A scented candle burning in the bathroom makes for a nice touch as long as it is checked often (and out of reach of little hands if children are present). It is, however, dangerous to leave an unattended candle burning anywhere.

Neighbors. As a courtesy to your neighbors, alert them to your upcoming party. Invite them to stop by if it’s appropriate.  They are less likely to be annoyed by your guests’ parked cars, loud music, or any other inconveniences if they’re part of the fun.

Garbage. Make sure your trashcans and recycling containers will be as empty as possible before the big day. Set up a recycling system at the party with each trash can labeled appropriately. Not only will this help to alleviate a mountain of trash, but you will also be helping the environment! If you run out of space for trash cans, double-bagged, heavy-duty trash liners are a great alternative that should last until trash day. Put a few extra trash bags in the bottom of a trash can before lining it. This way you can replace the bag quickly and have it back in working order immediately. Do not let trash can become too full. They look unsightly, and trash bags can burst when you change them.

Excerpt taken from Do It For Less! Parties, by Denise Vivaldo.  Terrace Publishing.

Sep 8, 2011

Edible Centerpieces

Denise chats with Lisa Quinn on 7 Live about edible centerpieces.

A brilliant way to maximize space is to have appetizers double as decor.  Love it!  Now everyone wants a cheese cage.  Watch and learn.