Saturday, May 30, 2015

Commercials for Kroger

I love working with CB&S Advertising, a division of Kroger. They come to San Diego from Portland several times a year to film commercials for Kroger, Ralph's, Fred Meyers, Dillons, Quality Food Centers, and other food stores. Their creative team is fabulous and a real joy to work with. I've done at least eight commercials with them and I'm looking forward to starting another project with them in August.

Here are the three most recent:

A Boy and His Dog from Cindy Epstein on Vimeo.

The Garage Sale from Cindy Epstein on Vimeo.

Summer BBQ from Cindy Epstein on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 23, 2015



noun (pl) -tuses, -tus
1. (esp in manuscripts) a break or gap where something is missing
2. a break or interruption in continuity
3.a break between adjacent vowels in the pronunciation of a word
4.(anatomy) a natural opening or aperture; foramen

Word Origin from Latin: gap, cleft, aperture, from hiāre to gape, yawn

© William Collins & Sons Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins

That's what I've done....taken a blog hiatus, but I'm back, so stay turned in for more food styling yarns and stories from the set.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Aloha Spirit

Every company has a culture: a blend of values, beliefs, behaviors, systems, symbols, and habits. The culture affects the way people and groups interact within the company, with their clients, and with their investors. King's Hawaiian embodies the Aloha Spirit in all they do, an expression of caring and sharing that is an essential part of island culture. Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion and mercy.

I had the great pleasure of working with some of the folks from King's Hawaiian as well as some of the creative staff at the Buddy Group on several photo shoots. The Buddy Group is an interactive advertising agency, specializing in online marketing strategy, online video production, and web and user interface design. And what a team King's Hawaiian and the Buddy Group make! Both truly believing that collaboration and excellent customer service are the cornerstones of any successful business.

King's Hawaiian is known for its soft, fluffy, light, and delicately sweet bread and rolls. From its humble beginning in the 1950's in Hilo, Hawaii, the company grew. Because of it's huge popularity they expanded to Honolulu. Islanders and tourists alike sent loaves to family and friends in the mainland, and in the 80's King's Hawaiian came to Torrence, California, and opened a huge new bakery.

Today there products are sold throughout the US and their slightly sweet bread and rolls have become popular favorites. My 7-year-old great niece and 5-year-old nephew absolutely love this bread, and were thrilled when I brought them several loaves after the shoot. They didn't bother with butter, jam, or peanut butter, but ate the rolls right out of the package! Hmmmmm, I guess     
                                                                 there's something to be said for that!

On the set at the Buddy Group. Prop tables in the foreground. 


All photos copyright Alan DeHerrera 2013.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back in the Blogger's Saddle

It's been an incredible winter and spring! I've been crazy busy food styling between San Diego and LA since my last post, and I have a been a delinquent blogger. I've been working with long-time clients and many new ones, and finally I'm back in the blogger's saddle.

When I started this blog I assumed I'd write a post as soon as I got home for a job. But alas, by the time I get home from a 10 - 15-hour day, I pretty much collapse at my desk and try to catch up on the day's correspondence before drifting off to dream land.

I want to offer up big thanks to these companies, TV stations, and brands:

Good Day LA
Jenny Craig
Access Hollywood

Golden West Food Group
Harrah's Rincon Casino
San Diego Living TV6
NBC Universal 
Fox TVChef Ludo Lefevre
Harvard Common Press
Ferren Com
Chef's Press
Luna Grill

Pasta Mia
The Buddy Group
Groovy Like a Movie
Paul Martin's Restaurant
Flagship Cruises
Helene Beck
Flippin' Pizza
Malibu Winery
Pizza Express
Dr. Kellyann Petrucci
Mastro's Restaurant
Country Archer
Addies Cheesecakes
Direct Pack
King's Hawaiian
Chef Chloe
RSI Homes

And all the fabulous clients, photographers, and producers with whom I have the great pleasure of collaborating:

Erin Adams
Debbie Adler

Erin Adams
Debbie Adler
Joleene Armbruster 
Rob Andrew
Ryan Beck
Chloe Coscarelli
Keith Davis
Kaynisha Dawson
Alan DeHerrera
Virginia Downes
Karen Fadel
Tiffany Frowiss
Alecia Guarneros
Rob Hammer
Abbie Harrison
Mike Henry
Bob Hodson
Alex Karnib
Somany Koeung 
Carl Kravats
Amber Lussier
Stephanie Murphy
Kelly Musgrove 
Tim Mutrie
Jonathan Neubauer
Junvi Ola
Chef Jeremy Omer
Maria Pourteymour
Beatriz Sandoval-Maldonado
Anthony Smiljkovich
Rick Starkman
Kathy Strahs
Brenna Stillwell

A great big THANK YOU to all! 

Cheeseburger Before - Photo Copyright Carl Kravats 2013

Cheeseburger After  -  Photo Copyright Carl Kravats 2013

Good Day LA with Chef Ludo
Having fun with my assistant Maya

Sunday, February 3, 2013

California Dreamin' on the California Spirit

Back in the late 80's I worked as a chef on a private yacht, the Arcadia, in Ft. Lauderdale (oh-oh I'm dating myself). I could tell you a few stories that would curl your toes, but somethings are better left to the imagination. The yacht, owned by a Kentucky tycoon, was 100' long and decked out for a king. A few times a year the owner would fly down and cruise for a few days, but most of the time the yacht was chartered. The captain was a crazy drunk, making it a challenging work environment, but the guests were great.

Fast forward 23 years and I find myself food styling for Flagship Cruises.  Flagship Cruises and Events offer a magnificent fleet of luxury yachts, special events, and fabulous dining in the San Diego Harbor.

Since 1915 the  company has offered numerous services including, harbor tours, ferry and water taxi transportation, whale watching excursions guided by Birch Aquarium naturalists, fabulous gourmet prepared dinner cruises and bountiful buffet brunch cruises, yacht and boat charters and fairy tale weddings.

Tim Mutrie, Director of Marketing and Chef Brian Gist, the Executive Chef for all of Flagship, have created spectacular and memorable events and gourmet menus for their guests. I had the pleasure of working with them and Junvi Ola, the principal of Hospitality Content Studio on two recent photo shoots with photographer Rob Andrew.

Jumbo shrimp cocktail. Photo by Rob Andrew.

Refreshing salad with sugared walnuts, cranberries, and bleu cheese. Ymmmm! Photo by Rob Andrew.

Working with photographer Rob Andrew and his assistant Alex.
In the photo above you can see part of the dining room on the California Spirit. What a magnificent yacht - I just  have to share a few more photos to so you can get a feel for this luxury liner.

With nine outrageous food stations, the award winning Sunday Champagne Brunch Cruise is a fine way to experience this magnificent yacht. It leaves from 990 North Harbor Drive on Sunday. Boarding starts at 10:30 and she cruises from 11 AM - 1 PM.

Be sure to make reservations online or 855-955-9558!

Think Valentine's Day: they have a very special cruise planned!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mom's Cooking Naked

Ahhhhhh! Mom's cooking naked? Did I read that correctly?

Yes you did! Debbie Adler, owner of Sweet Debbie's Organic Cupcakes, cooks naked, that is without any refined sugar, dairy, gluten, nuts, soy, or wheat. I know the first thing you're thinking, OMG! How can any dessert taste good without at least some of those ingredients? But they do!

Debbie on the right in the bakery with one of her bakers
Debbie's son was born with multiple food allergies and finding any desserts for him was near impossible, so Debbie decided to solve that problem herself. As a  long time nutrition buff she was inspired to create desserts her son could enjoy, and a bakery where children like her son, as well as those with celiac disease, diabetes, and autism could safely enjoy nutritious and healthful desserts.

If you have ever cooked for someone who has special dietary restrictions you understand the challenge. With a raised awareness today for gluten sensitivities, we're not only seeing a much larger variety of products on supermarket shelves and many ancient gluten-free grains milled into flours. Teff, sorghum, amaranth, corn, brown rice, oat, and many other varieties are readily available today, and Debbie uses a variety of them in her baked goods. (Which reminds me of my visit and tour through Bob's Red Mill near Portland, Oregon, which is another story I promise to tell.)

The good news is that Debbie is sharing her recipes in a cookbook due out in fall 2013, published by Harlequin, and when that happens I promise to share some of the photos and recipes.

Debbie hired me as the food stylist for her cookbook, which I was thrilled to do! Carl Kravats, AKA the Delicious Photographer, did the photos. Since her audience is largely moms who have children with food sensitivities, Debbie wanted the photos cupsto be colorful and somewhat whimsical and playful. What could be more fun?! I'd love to share some of them with you, but no-can-do until the book is published. But here are some of the ribbons, ties, and fanciful paper cupcake cups we used.
We had a wonderful time we had creating the images; miniature tea sets and toy dump trucks came into play. Working on an editorial project, such as a cookbook, is one of my favorite styling jobs because it offers much more creative license than a packaging shot that must be done to very precise specifications.

We had a wonderful time we had creating the images; miniature tea sets and toy dump trucks came into play. Working on an editorial project, such as a cookbook, is one of my favorite styling jobs because it offers much more creative license than a packaging shot that must be done to very precise specifications. 

Fanciful trimmings
One of the prop tables

With Carl and I in his studio and Debbie joining us virtually we were quite a trio.  Part of the fun was Debbie's son who participated in all the calls and piped in with his two cents. It was a wonderful project! And Debbie is truly one of the kindest, most caring people I've ever met. She's a real gem! Keep your eyes open for Mom's Coking Naked this fall.
Cupcake cups and ribbon
Melting chocolate chips

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Shortbread Cookies Extraordinare!

Photo by Rick Starkman

Just before Christmas, photographer Rick Starkman, and I did a photo shoot a bit outside of the norm. We actually shot for Quilt In a Day, an amazing quilting company run by an incredible female entrepreneur who started the firm 30+ years ago, when women's careers limited to nurses, secretaries, and librarians. She was way ahead of her time, but that's a whole different story that I will tell you about later.

Although my Mom did some quilting I never knew much about the craft, which indeed is quite an art form unto itself. Interestingly, there are a number of quilt patterns that relate to food: crab apple, cherry basket, sugar cone, squash blossom, memory fruit, cheese box, pork and beans, and hearts and gizzards (my personal favorite because I think the word "gizzard" is rather funny and it makes people giggle unless they are a chicken farmer).

Quilt In a Day's founder, Eleanor Burns, has written over 100 books detailing quilt patterns. For the most current book, she thought it would be fun to use a photo of the food referenced in the quilt's name along with its recipe on the page facing the quilt pattern. Since I did all the cooking for the shoot, I got to sample all the recipes, and her shortbread cookies, are BY FAR, the best I've ever had, and so simple to make.  They are, most definitely, Shortbread Cookies Extraordinare!

The recipe is courtesy of the Julian Tea Room.

Almond Shortbread Cookies

Yield: Will vary based on size of cookie cutter used

1 pound butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 - 2 teaspoons pure almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup almonds, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add almond extract and beat until well mixed. Stir in almonds. Roll between parchment or on a floured board to 1/4-inch thick. Cut dough into shapes.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet or parchment-covered cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cookies should not brown. Cool on a wire rack.

If you want to decorate the cookies with sugar or sprinkles, decorate before baking. If you choose, you can dust them with powdered sugar when they are cool.