Mar 21, 2012

The Food Stylist's Handbook Explained!

The Food Stylist's Handbook from Diana Lundin on Vimeo.

Denise explains how her handbook can help anyone from novice to experienced food stylists.

Mar 19, 2012

Planting Cabbages Gets The Real Food Styling Truth

Chef Dorette Snover, owner of C'est si Bon! Cooking School, delved deep into the art and love of food styling with Denise.
"Explain a day in food styling with detail.

Everyday is totally different. I've been styling for 27 years..
Many days we develop and test recipes -take our own test photos -
then move into a studio for professional photos.
Food styling makes you very aware of concept, color and elevation.
Some days we shoot packaging for vendors.
One of our clients sells 20 M dollars a year in beef jerky....light that!
We shoot with a photographer that shoots more than 50%
of all the food clients in LA. And has extensive his 4,000 square ft studio.
Makes the job so much easier...we prop most of our own shots ...didn't plan on it...but great use of color is necessary for  superior food styling...
Once in a while we work on a movie....there are less skills needed...for a moving camera than a still shot."

Click here to enjoy the entire interview.

Mar 16, 2012

Do It For Less! Weddings

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) - 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.

Click here to order your copy!

The Entertaining Encyclopedia

This is the essential guide to planning any event on budget and with all details considered. In today's challenging economy, people are rediscovering the fun and frugality of hosting parties and throwing their own celebrations, and The Entertaining Encyclopedia is the only do-it-yourself guide they will need. Every phase of entertaining is covered, from how to write and create your own invitations to deciding on a theme and planning and serving the food -- even advice on getting rid of guests who have overstayed their welcome!

Click here to order your copy!

Do It For Less! Parties

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.

Click here to order your copy!

How To Start A Home-Based Personal Chef Business

From estimating your start-up costs and finding clients to cooking for special needs and staying profitable, this book, now in its second edition, takes you through every aspect of setting up and running a thriving home-based personal chef business. Whether you’re just starting to learn the trade or are an experienced chef looking to be your own boss, each chapter will guide you on how to build your own successful personal chef business.

Click here to order your copy!

How To Start A Home-Based Catering Business

Those passionate about parties or cooking can now realize their dream of working from home at something they enjoy. Now in its sixth edition, Denise Vivaldo shares her experiences and advice on all the essentials and more, including estimating start-up costs and pricing services, finding clients, outfitting one’s kitchen, and honing food presentation skills.

Click here to order your copy!

The Food Stylist's Handbook

Acclaimed food stylist Denise Vivaldo shares the tips and secrets of the trade with cooks who want to become master stylists. It takes a steady hand to arrange the chocolate curls and drizzle the caramel sauce in elaborate designs on top of that sumptuous tiered cake. Whether for food blogs, television, books, magazines, movies, menus, or advertising, food stylists and photographers learn to slice, plate, tweak, and arrange so the dish becomes less a bit of food and more the work of an artisan.

Click here to order your copy!

Perfect Table Settings

An easy guide to the art of napkin folding and creating beautiful table settings from a seasoned professional. 
This comprehensive do-it-yourself guide is fun and demonstrates in great detail the art of easy and elegant napkin folding. The author also provides festive, imaginative and inexpensive table decor ideas, featuring everything from favors and linens to centerpieces -- she even shows readers how to create the perfect buffet setting.

From the casual to the elegant, more than 250 full-color photographs illustrate napkin folding how-tos and place-setting ideas. All the projects are graded for beginners, intermediates or advanced, providing a myriad of ways for all readers to express their creativity.

Click here to order your copy!

Mar 12, 2012

Healthy Foods That Nourish

Denise was happy to be featured in Eat In Eat Out's Spring 2012 issue.

...most of the time we ate delicious, nourishing meals together. It formed our family
 bonds and values. My mother’s food choices were decidedly her own in the 50’s and 60’s.

We ate only fresh fruit and vegetables, were not allowed sodas, dessert only once a week and
only dark, heavy whole wheat bread that a local baker made and delivered to our door every
morning. In grade school, my friends ate squishy white bread and American cheese sandwiches,
Wampum corn chips and pink Hostess Snowballs. My lunch was never a tradable commodity. Few
classmates were enticed with my roasted leg of lamb sandwich with an apple and bruised
 banana for dessert.

I was in college before I ever tasted a Snowball… I was disappointed, obviously. Way
 too much foreplay.

Check out The Last Word column on page 87 to enjoy the article in its entirety.

Mar 9, 2012

NEW Class: On-Camera Bootcamp


April 15. One day only. Hollywood. If you've ever thought of sharing your culinary prowess with the world, you need to check this out.

Chefs TV Boot Camp from Diana Lundin on Vimeo.

Click here for details. We'll whip you into camera-readiness.

Mar 8, 2012

Potatoes & Pinot (Maybe Not In That Order)

A wonderful time was had by all at the monthly Food Bloggers Los Angeles meeting! Graciously hosted by Miss Patti Londre, the theme was Potatoes & Pinot and per usual, the creativity (and carby deliciousness) flowed.

Here was my contribution. Perfect for a still chilly early Spring evening with a nice glass of, what else, Pinot!

Potato, Blue Cheese and Filet Mignon Toasts
Makes 12 servings
2 pieces per serving

1 baguette, thinly sliced on the diagonal into 24 pieces
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 pound filet mignon
1 (8 ounce) package cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 pound prepared Idaho russet mashed potatoes, hot
3 ounces (1/3 cup) blue cheese, crumbled
12 candied walnuts, cut in half

1.    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2.    Using a pastry brush, coat both sides of baguette slices with butter, reserving remaining butter. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
3.    Sprinkle all sides of filet mignon lightly with salt and pepper. Place a medium skillet over medium high heat and sear filet mignon on all sides until nicely browned. Place in a shallow baking dish and continue cooking in oven until desired doneness is reached, 7-10 minutes for medium rare. Remove from heat and loosely cover with foil. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
4.    Return skillet to medium high heat. Add remaining butter and mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
5.    Cut filet mignon into very thin slices.
6.    Combine mashed potatoes and blue cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble the appetizers; place a tablespoon of mashed potatoes on each piece of toast. Top with filet mignon, mushrooms and a piece of candied walnut. Serve warm or at room temperature. See below for more delicious potato dishes made by some fabulous LA bloggers!

Mar 5, 2012

Making Guac With Two Hot Tamales

Photo: Zachary Benedict, California Avocado Commission

Recently, Cindie and Paty traveled to an avocado orchard in Temecula to work with the California Avocado Commission and the Two Hot Tamales, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken. A dream shoot in a dream location with dream talent, clients and crew!

Photo: Zachary Benedict, California Avocado Commission

Here's a great spring recipe using California Avocados.

Tropical Guacamole

This salsa is delicious over beef, chicken burgers, or any type of seafood.

Makes 4 servings


1 medium tomato, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/2 cup pineapple, diced
1/2 cup mango, diced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 ripe Fresh Hass Avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp. lime juice

Place tomato, jalapeno, pineapple, mango, onion and salt in a medium bowl, stirring to combine. Add avocado and lime juice and stir gently to combine. Serve immediately or chill.