Many of you are aware of my world famous Cortado. You've had it at my studio, on location, at my home. Last year, after much encouragement from colleagues and friends I decided to bottle it and make it available to others. As of this writing it is selling in three stores, and I am working towards selling it on-line. What has been interesting, but a lot of fun, is the fact that now I need my own photographic services for promoting it. It is easy to take the pictures, but now I have to wear the other hat and figure out what is the best image and message needed to advertise or promote my product. Still much to learn! In between my regular photo assignments and making larger batches of Manny's Cortado I make some time to take pictures of my product but I feel I need to find a style or look that resonates with me and what I want to communicate. Easier said than done, but definitely fun! With the help of a fabulously talented, and giving stylist, Deborah Points, here is one of my first attempts. And many more on my Instagram.
Remember this name, UP INSPIRED KITCHEN! I have a very strong feeling you will see it everywhere! It is really, truly, and honestly, good food. Chef driven. Great people, great service. Happy environment! Check it out this weekend, you might see me there! Here are the shots from our first foto shoot. Food styling by Megan Shea
Last year I got to shoot this super cool project with creative director Michael Malowanczyk. OTR. On The Rocks Cocktails made with premium all-natural ingredients, created by Dallas’ own Rocco Milano. You might remember him from The Mansion bar. Great tasting cocktails in a bottle! Brilliant idea! Props by the talented Mike Thompson.
Mouthwatering Miyazaki A5 Wagyu served at Tei-An, in Dallas, Texas, by one of my favorite chefs and great all around guy, Teiichi Sakurai. This is a very rare beef to procure, but here in Dallas we have two other great guys, Borz Azarian and Bryan Dunn from Rare Edibles, check out the story behind this difficult to obtain beef here.
As a result of health concerns last year, I have been cooking more at home. I had a difficult time finding granola that didn't have either salt or refined sugar. So I decided to make my own. Below is my home made granola that I now call Manola! I try to find the absolute best ingredients like sprouted almonds and sprouted oats. Yes it has some sugar in the form of ginger and honey and maple, but I control the amount I put in. If you are a client of Manny Rodriguez Photography (hint, hint ;-) then you got a taste of it in your gift box! Shot available light. Sunlight diffused with velum paper.
WHAT'S IN IT AND HOW TO MAKE IT: 3/4 c. Grapeseed Oil, 3/4c. Honey, 1/2 c. Maple Syrup, 2 tbsVanilla Extract
6 c. Sprouted Gluten Free Thick Rolled Oats , 1 c. Sprouted Almonds , 1 c. Sprouted Pecan pieces , 1 c. Sprouted Walnuts, 1 c. Sprouted Cashews, 3/4 c. Pumpkin Seeds , 3/4 c. Sunflower Seeds, 3/4 c. Sesame Seeds , 3/4 c. Flax Seeds
1/2 c. Raisins, 3/4 c. Goji berries, 1/4 c. Chopped/small pcs of crystallized ginger.
PROCEDURE: Preheat oven to 275F. In a small saucepan I combine oil, honey, and salt. Warm over low heat until the mixture is thin and runny. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the center of the mix, pour in the warm oil-honey mixture, and stir until evenly moistened. Spread the mix evenly onto 2 full sheetpans, and bake on the center racks of the oven. Stir the granola with a spatula about every 15 minutes. Rotating the pans helps insure even browning of the granola. As the granola begins to color, add the maple syrup and stir well to combine. Return the granola to the oven. Overall baking time is between 45 minutes to an hour. When the mix is evenly golden brown, shut off the oven and open the door for 10 minutes to let it cool slightly. At this point I add the raisins, goji, and ginger, sprinkled evenly on top. Then close the oven and let the granola cool inside overnight. This gently dries the granola, giving it a good crunch. In the morning, using the spatula, break the granola into small pieces and transfer to a covered container. Properly covered, the granola will last about 2 weeks. `
VARIATIONS: This recipe is flexible; if you are short on a particular nut or grain, make up the difference with the others. Use organic nuts if you can’t find sprouted. Increasing the amount of the honey and/or the maple syrup will yield a more tightly bound granola.
Next time you walk into a Target store and look over at their food court you might see the images below, think of Phillip Groves (prop stylist), Paige Fletcher (food stylist), Rey Hernandez, (asistente exelente). This "A Team" always make me look great! And our fearless client "Team Rogue" seemed to be pleased as well. Maybe it was the breakfast tacos and Cuban coffee, or maybe the Afro-Cuban beats, or perhaps the BBQ lunch from a local fav. Or the fact that we finished it all by 4:00 PM, nevertheless, the client was thrilled!
Lighting was "al natural", all emanating from the window at our amazing daylight studio. No extra lights, no mirrors, nothing but subtractive lighting and finding the right angles.
Leslie Brenner sends me out again into the streets of Dallas to shoot gin based drinks. The Dish Preston Hollow, XXVII Antique in Deep Ellum, and downtown Dallas at The Mitchell. Read Leslie's article here. All shot with available light. Assistente Excellent, Sheryl Lanzel.
Every year, Central Market's Passport event features a different countries cuisine and culture. This year they chose Greece and this Cuban got to shoot it, right here in Texas! I prayed to the Greek god Helios to send me greek sunlight to Texas. Praise to Helios he delivered! Proof in the images below. Goddess of food styling, Paige Fletcher, who gave birth to the goddess of prop styling, Kristen Dale Butler. Greek God of all things creative and design, Garret Owen.
Last year I had the opportunity to shoot Bruno Davaillon, and Christopher Hache, two Michelin starred chefs at The Mansion On Turtle Creek. I was in the kitchen with them for an hour or so and photographed the images below for FD Magazine. Article by Christina Geyer here.
Here is another one from last year. BanhShop. "Vietnamese street food" is what the art director requested. And we had to pretend that we were there while still here in Dallas. Mixing some street South East Asian with a touch of French Colonial, Kristen Butler did a fantastic job propping. And with the fabulous Kat Hughes styling the food, you can't lose! (team picture below)
We shot with available light right outside of the restaurant so that we could at least feel the street. I hope you can feel it too. Visit their very cool website here to see more pics.
Last year I had the amazing opportunity to shoot five of the great Texas Chefs! Thanks to Leslie Brenner from Dallas Morning News. Read more here. In order below, Dean Fearing at Fearing's; Stephan Pyles at Stampede66; Jeff Harris at AF+B; Michael Sindoni at CBD Provisions, and last but not least, Tim Byers at Smoke. These guys were true pros and all so gracious.
These are all over the place! At the old studio, new studio, at their test kitchens. Both with available light and simulated window light, and some times with a little simulated sunlight. Food stylists have been Kat Hughes, Paige Fletcher, Stephanie Greenwood, Liz Duffy. Prop styling by Mike Thompson, Kristen Butler, and Jay Evers.
Another Oak Cliff gem and a local favorite. Owner Shannon Neffendorf. Here is my visual take on the place and it's ambience. All images captured with available light.
El Gran Chef André Natera! Gone to Austin, Texas. :-( For this shoot back from when he was here at Village Kitchen, also gone. This one we had to create our own window light with a strobe behind a large 6' x 6' scrim to the right side and slightly behind the dish.
Another shoot from 2013, August. Assignment for Leslie B, from DMN-FD Luxe. Read article here. I believe they have changed chef, but back then it was the incomparable Richard Gras! Hard working, creative, and joyous man! Also shot using available light, both for the shots in the kitchen and the shots in the dinning area.
Tim Bevins has always been a favorite of mine from when he was at Craft at the W Hotel. Great chef and a great guy. This photo session was at The Front Room, for Leslie Brenner, FD/Dallas Morning News. Assignment was in 2013 when Tim was still there. Story on images below here.
It's been a busy 4 months here in Dallas, Texas, shooting jobs AND moving from old to new studio! Here is a job I shot for one of our local favorites back in May, Tillman's Roadhouse. Some new tasty dishes for their 2014 menu. Shot in a 7 hour day, with available window light, at the restaurant. Using black cards to substract light and increase contrast. I kept moving the table to adjust for best light on each dish.
Production and prop styling by Kristen Dale Butler. Food styling by Stephanie Greenwood.