Category Archives: Just for Kicks

Fun pics

Feeling Enlightened After Caputos Chocolate Class

For those of you that haven’t heard, I’m a member of a blogger review group that supports local businesses.  It’s called “SassyScoops.com” and we recently had the opportunity to review the chocolate class at Caputos in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.  Let me just say, it was completely enlightening.  Matt Caputo taught the class and opened our minds to the “culture of cacao” (the bean chocolate is made from).

Honestly, I was in awe the entire time by how much he knows, and how much there IS to know, about chocolate.  Prior to the class I considered myself a major-league chocolate fan, but afterwards I realized that I know about as much as a baby when it comes to chocolate.  My knowledge primarily consisted of knowing: chocolate is delicious.  BUT even that knowledge was challenged as I found out what truly delicious chocolate tastes like.  Oh… my… heavenly.

We learned all about the different kinds of cacao beans and where they come from.  I found it absolutely fascinating that cacoa beans take on the flavors of the soil/elements from which they grown in and around.  Certain cacao beans have fruity essences because they grow around a lot of fruit plants.  One chocolate we tried had essences of banana that were easy to identify while tasting; the beans that made that chocolate grow around banana trees.  My favorite chocolate was an Amano bar that tasted of blueberries – YUM.

Aside from a newfound awareness and appreciation for cacao beans, we learned about how much all the other parts of the process of taking a cacao bean and making it into chocolate affect how good the flavor and quality is.  The best way is to do the entire process of bean to chocolate all in one place.  Amano chocolates does this and they are here locally in Utah.  Amano chocolates were my favorite that we tasted, even above the world-acclaimed “Best” fine chocolate.  I preferred the flavor and richness in Amano chocolates, hands-down.  I’m so proud that Art, a Utah man, started making chocolates here.  He has put Utah (not to mention, the United States), on the map for chocolate making, which previously hadn’t been done.  I’m also so proud of the Caputo family for bringing such a wide variety of fine food, cheese and chocolate to Utah.  Their expertise and variety is astounding and is enhancing Salt Lake’s food culture, among other things.

Something Matt said really stuck out to me about all of this.  He said that chocolate making truly is an art.  There are a lot of companies that just go through the process of making chocolate as they’ve studied to make it.  But then there are the companies who make truly special chocolate because they have the “palatte” and passion for it, like Amano chocolates.  I was thinking how similar that is to many things in life, but especially my food photography passion.  There are plenty of photographers who can get the technicality down and learn exactly how to take good pics of food, but no one can replicate the passion and perspective I bring to food photography. This fueled my passion to take my craft to an even higher level by constantly learning as much as I possibly can learn about food photography so I can someday be able to talk for days about it, like Matt could talk about chocolate.

I don’t intend to sound arrogant, I simply wanted to document the part of Matt’s chocolate presentation that really stuck with me and has led me to crave continued improvement and knowledge so that I can bring my passion for food photography to new heights with ever-increasing technical knowledge.  I photograph most all of the SassyScoops.com events, but Caputos was my favorite.  I’m realizing more and more each day that my “niche” in food photography is my love for photographing chefs and food “experts” (like Matt) in their element with all their passion for the food around them shining through.  I do love studio work, but the on-location work really thrills me.

Anywho, if you’re in Salt Lake, you must stop in to Caputos, especially to take Matt’s chocolate class.  It will blow your mind and your tastebuds.

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Still Alive & Still Shooting

strawberries

This poor, neglected blog!  I have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to update in a LONG time.  I apologize for that.  I thought I should put up a quick post that I am still alive & am still photographing food all the time!  I love it!  I’ve got some really fun work coming out in the next couple issues of Wasatch Woman Magazine, as well as some great stuff I’m working on with a few of my clients.

If you’d like me to come photograph your food, I’m MORE than happy to do so.  Just shoot me an email to quinn{at}limelightfoodphotography{dot}com & we can talk about rates & availability.  While I’d like to say that I’ll be updating more here, I may not have the chance for awhile.  Thanks for your patience with me!

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Speaking at Ignite Salt Lake on Food Photography

Recently I had the opportunity to be selected as a speaker/presenter for Ignite Salt Lake.  For those of you that don’t know about Ignite, it’s a national program where 16 speakers are gathered & each come prepared with 20 slides on a topic they’re passionate about.  The idea is “edu-tainment,” as the presentations should be educational & entertaining.  The glitch in the presentation is that each slide advances every 15 seconds whether the presenter is ready or not, which keeps them on their toes & often provides humor to the attendees.  Thus each presentation is only 5 minutes in length.  It was a really great experience & I would highly recommend it to anyone.

So without further ado, here’s my presentation:

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Proudest Moment of My Life So Far

I couldn’t resist blogging about this: today my son just showed me that at least something I’m teaching him is sticking.  He’s three and a half & he’s brilliant (as all moms think their children are).

ziplocThe other night I bought a box of Ziploc Freezer Bags.  As I was putting all the groceries away, I noticed the bright pink/red meat-ish looking pic on the box.  I was disturbed by such an awful looking photo and voiced that to my son.  I said, “Tate, this is bad food photography.”  The night moved on as normal without another mention of the Ziploc Freezer Bag food photography.

Today, however, we were half-watching the food network when a Ziploc commercial came on & my adorable three-year-old stopped playing with his toys, got up, watched the commercial for a minute & then turned to us all & said “tha is bad foo fotogafee” (translation: that is bad food photography).

I suppose if my son only learns one thing from me, I guess I will be thrilled if it’s what good food photography is, right?!  😉

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Glassware

Wine Glass

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Spark Restaurant Lounge

Shrimp Roll Spark Lounge

Last week my husband & I had the exclusive opportunity to attend a “Blogger” dinner at a new local restaurant called Spark Restaurant Lounge.  We were served an eight course meal of: 1. Shrimp Rolls, 2. Assorted Cheeses & Meats, 3. BLT Salad, 4. Pan-Roasted Filet Mignon, 5. Basil Crusted Wild Alaskan Halibut, 6. Passion Fruit Sorbet, 7. Banana Strudel & 8. Panna Cotta.  The food was amazing!

Spark Lounge Filet Mignon

One of my favorite parts of the evening was the drinks.  Spark specializes in beautiful, fun and delicious non-alcoholic drinks.  Since I don’t drink alcohol, I really appreciated that I could have a night on the town with a fancy drink – normally I have to stick with water or soda (boring!).  Most virgin drinks sacrifice flavor, but these were scrumptious!  I loved the Bellini the most, while the Shirley Temple, adorned with a stick of cotton candy, was too sweet for my tastes (loved how it looked & photographed, though).

Spark Lounge Drinks

We were able to meet with Chef Lauro Romero afterwards.  He was surprisingly down to earth & very interested in what we thought of everything we had tasted that night.

Empty Plate Spark Lounge

My only complaint about the whole night is that the lighting in the bathrooms is HORRIBLE & could make a super-model look like trash.  I was grateful I’m past my teenage years where one look in those mirrors would have ruined my night & devastated me for week.

p.s. Sadly, I didn’t bring my external head flash that evening, so some of the whites in my pics are more blown out than if I had it. Oh well; live and learn, right? 😉

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Two Peas and Pod Shoot

Spinach Salad
Berry Trifle
Bean Salsa
Angelfood Cupcake

Things have been really busy for me lately (yay!), so I’m catching up on blog posts.  These photos are from a shoot I did for a local food blogger, Maria Lichty, of Two Peas and Pod.  I took these pics at her home & … she & her hubby even let me taste the food!!!  You’d be surprised – probably – to know that when I photograph it, I rarely am invited to eat it.  That’s totally okay, though.  I know I’m not there to taste, but this was a really nice treat.  Maria’s food was yum, yum, yummy!!!  (and she’s adorable, to boot).

p.s. I’m having issues with my portfolio website (limelightfoodphotography.com) so please don’t judge… it’s yucky & not working out & I’m getting gray hairs.  For my most recent photos, check out my Flickr photostream (& say a quick prayer that my portfolio issues can be resolved soon… xoxo).

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