Jan 16, 2014

Denise on The Media Chronicles

The Media Chronicles interviewed Denise about her beginnings in the food styling world, how the industry has changed, and what advice she has for aspiring culinary artists. Following is a bit about styling for TV.

You’ve done quite a bit of work on the Food Network, HGTV, Iron Chef America, Bravo, and countless commercials. Is there a difference between styling for scripted shows like Aaron Spelling’s shows and styling for news?

Oh sure, every show, especially a live show, like The Ellen DeGeneres Show, is going to be different—you set it up, you do it live, but you never know what’s going to happen. Or when we go to Fox in the morning or Jay Leno, you never know what you’ll get. On shows like that, it’s really not about the food. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is about Ellen, so even though she has a chef on, Ellen is what they’re selling.

On a sitcom, sometimes the food is the joke, like they’re out of milk or the kid spills it at the table, so that part of the script is the joke. If you’re in a drama, the food is maybe helping to build the theme, because it’s a romantic dinner, and obviously a romantic dinner tells the viewer it’s something different. And if it’s a print shoot for a brand packaging, that’s entirely different, because you have to get up close and personal to help sell that stuff.

Click here to enjoy the interview in its entirety.

Jan 9, 2014

Limoncello Parfait

Last month, I cruised on the HAL Noordam. For those of you who haven't cruised in a while or perhaps never...there's not just one dining room anymore! There are specialty restaurants, buffets, private dining rooms, terrace bars and even chocolate kiosks. If you can think it, it's on Holland America Ocean Liners. I love to say "Ocean Liner" because it makes me think of gloves and hatboxes. Most people say cruise ships, which makes me think of swaying casinos and karaoke.

One night in the Italian restaurant, Canoletto's, I ordered dessert and they served me a limoncello mousse. I loved it and vowed to create something similar.

Here is my version, which is ridiculously simple and divine. Don't ask about calories because the trick is portion control. Be European and use small glasses and it won't bust your diet.

I think lemon is the perfect dessert flavor, light and creamy. We finish this parfait with a float of limoncello on top.

Write us when you make it!

Limoncello Parfait
Makes 6 servings

1 (8 ounce) container mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup super fine baker's sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup limoncello
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup crumbled amaretti or biscotti cookies
6 cookies for garnish 

  1. Place mascarpone cheese, sugar, lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of limoncello in a small bowl and whisk together for 3-4 minutes. 
  2. Place cream in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  3. Add mascarpone mixture to cream. Fold gently to combine.
  4. To serve, put half of the crumbled cookies in the bottom of small dessert glasses. Spoon half the limoncello mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining crumbled cookies. Dollop remaining limoncello mixture on top.
  5. Gently pour a bit of limoncello on top to create a float. Garnish each glass with a cookie just before serving.