Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Food Styling + Photo Workshop in Provence

Denise Vivaldo and Cindie Flannigan, authors of the The Food Stylist’s Handbook, have joined forces with food photographer Christina Petersfood stylist Tasha Powell and chef Saša Asanović to present a workshop on the art of food styling and photography in the glorious Luberon region of Provence, April 12 to 16, 2016.

Based in Los Angeles, Denise has 30 years of experience in the food world as a caterer, recipe developer, food stylist and more; you can read her bio here

The workshop will include three mornings of professional food styling instruction, one day of location photo instruction and one cooking class with participants photographing the food they make. Also included are a visit to a local produce market; shopping in Aix-en-Provence; touring and dining in the Luberon villages of Cadenet and Lourmarin; visiting local churches and abbeys; a tasting of La Tuilière Olive Oil including a tour of the olive orchard; and tastings at local vineyards, including Château La Coste in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade. There will also be shopping at local markets to stock up on props for your own collection. All breakfasts, lunches, and two dinners are included.

Participants will be asked to bring their own SLR cameras and have at least basic camera knowledge. All instruction will be in English. Click here to see the course curriculum.

The workshop price depends on the hotel you choose: the "colorful and rustic" B&B La Tuiliere in Cadenet or the luxurious Le Moulin de Lourmarin

For locals who'd like to join in, there's a special weekly rate of $1300, without lodging or meals.

For all the info, click here

Photos: (1, 5, 6, 7): Dishes styled by Denise Vivaldo and her team for various clients. Over the years these have included Sunkist, Disney, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, California Strawberries, Le Creuset and many more.  (2) The Food Stylist's Handbook is one of eight books Denise has written; see them all here.  (3, 4) Take the food styling workshop in Provence and stay at the B&B La Tuiliere or at the Moulin de Lourmarin. (8) Denise on the Iron Chef set with Cat Kora. (9) Chef Saša Asanović gets a dish ready for its close up. (10, 11) Outings during the workshop will include shopping in Aix en Provence and a visit to the very unique winery Chateau la Coste, known for its contemporary art and architecture.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A One-Stop Online Photo Shop

Have you guys discovered YellowKorner? It's an irresistible site for browsing eclectic photography from all over the world, from all eras. The images are all available for sale in a number of sizes. You can search by theme, shape, dimensions, artist and more. To give you a taste, I did a quick search for "France" and found the photos above...and many more. (The bottom one, with the bubble gum, has nothing to do with France--the photographer Romina Ressia is Argentinian--but I like it!) The site also has featured artists (right now it's French photographer and film-maker Jan Arthus-Bertrand), limited-edition books and Masterclasses (Photoshop, Lightroom 5, fashion, portraiture, etc.) that you can stream or download. YellowKorner also has 75-plus real galleries worldwide...and you can see the list here.

Photos: A selection of images found by searching "France" on You can click them to enlarge...and find all the info about them here. If you're in the mood for more, see my story about the Saatchi Gallery's online art shop.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Another Fine French Book Giveaway

Hillary Davis traces her fascination with the cocotte--the enameled, cast-iron French version of a Dutch oven—to early memories of her grandmother: 

“She was pulling a hot pot out of the oven and was swinging it around heavily to land with a thud on the wooden kitchen table. Her pot was bursting at the top with a golden crust that oozed bubbling brown gravy down the sides. Ever since that pot had been brought to her as a gift from Europe, she had not gone a day without using it. If she was the queen of the kitchen, this pot was the queen of her cuisine...”

Today the New Hampshire-based author has grandma’s pot proudly displayed in her own kitchen...along with a vast collection of French-made cocottes she has collected over the years.

And, as of a few weeks ago, she has a gorgeous new cookbook devoted to cooking in them. Using techniques such as braising, stewing, roasting, baking, stovetop and frying, the 224-page hardcover Le French Oven will help you create tantalizing appetizers, soups, main courses and desserts, no matter the size, shape or make of your own pot. 

Hillary’s publisher, Gibbs Smith, has given me two copies of this beautiful new book to give away.

Hillary works as a food journalist, cooking instructor and publisher of the popular food blog Marche Dimanche. She's a long-time food columnist and restaurant critic for New Hampshire Magazine and her work has been featured in many national and international magazines.  She has an economics degree from Columbia, a Masters from Cambridge (yikes!) and two previous books to her credit: French Comfort Food and Cuisine Niçoise.  

When she’s not at home in New Hampshire, Hillary’s almost always in France. Having lived along the Cote d’Azur for more than eleven years and in Paris for three years, she now spends two to three months every year exploring different regions of the country she considers her second home.

In the book’s intro, Hillary gives us some brief background about the object of her passion: “The best [cocottes] are made in France and those are the ones I collect,” she explains. “It’s a subjective and personal opinion based upon years of trying different ones. Mine are French ovens and are 100 percent made in France.”

She also tells the stories behind the top brands-- Chasseur, Emile Henry, Fontignac, Le Creuset, Mauviel, Revol, Staub—and provides info on how to choose and care for their wares.

“I never realized they are like snowflakes," she says. "Each one is unique and hand made. Emile Henry even has its people sign the bottom of the cocottes they make. It makes me appreciate them even more.”

And then it’s on to 80 tantalizing recipes for full-size cocottes and mini-cocottes, including Warm Mushroom Custards with Garlic Toast, French Carrot Rice Soup, Basque-Style Paella, Two-Hands Praying Rack of Lamb Roast, Lemony Braised Chicken with Green Olives, and Beef Pot-au-Feu. Dessert recipes include Raspberry Clafoutis and Hot Brandied Peaches Over Ice Cream.

To illustrate Le French Oven, Hillary turned to her long-time collaborator, the photographer Steven Rothfeld, whose other titles include The Tuscan Sun Cookbook, Bringing Tuscany Home, Hungry for France, Simply French and French Comfort Food.  In addition to photos of the finished dishes you’ll find wonderful images of French villages, people, landscapes and more.

To enter to win a copy of the book, simply leave a comment under “comments” below. Tell us why you simply must have this book...or why you want to give it as a gift...or what you remember most about your own grandmother’s cooking...or how you came to have your own cocotte. Make sure to leave us a way to reach you; signing in with your Google account is not enough. Winners will be chosen in the next month and the publisher will send the books out tout suite.

If you’d like to go ahead and buy the book, it’s on Amazon here.

To learn more about Hillary: