It was dramatic to experience watching a recipe being staged, and preliminary shots taken, which led to a group discussion on how to make the recipe one you would want to eat off the page, and then how to tweak it to fit that image. What became a lively challenge after the first day, was when we all started giving opinions for what should become the cover shot for the book. Woody and I already had our selections from our testing and discussions, but each day offered a new star for the prestigious position.
The "Dream Team " needed to be fueled and Erin did it with imaginative flare. Each day she would perform her alchemy to create lunches that had us all begging for the recipes. When we finally completed a day's shoot, the big topic of conversation was where to eat dinner. Our favorite restaurants became "The Rock & Rye Tavern " in New Paltz, one of Ben's favorites in Kingston: "Boitson's", and my favorite for Italian: "A Tavola" in Woodstock . Of course we never needed to worry about dessert, in fact, we even contributed some of ours to one of the restaurant's where Anna's husband Sean is the wine provider. Ben and Joe also had us out to their beautiful log cabin house for a delicious Cajun dinner and a relaxing glass of wine or two around the fire pit. I was especially pleased that each of the many recipe photos had its own individual personality and charm. We also photographed several process sequences for the techniques where a picture does indeed 'say a thousand words.' By the end of the second week, we narrowed it down to seven portraits that were potential cover shots. The last day was both a relief to have finished in time but also sadness in leaving this extraordinary team, and wondering what recipe would rise above the rest to become the cover 'girl' for our book. It is noteworthy that working so closely and intensely with a group of people who are tops in their field, there was never a cross word or expression! It was an incredibly bonding experience that we will all remember. And now, we are all looking forward with great anticipation to seeing the final results in the book this coming Fall. Addendum: Five weeks to the day, on our return, the laid out chapter pages (which is the production stage following copy editing) arrived for proofing on December 21st--the shortest day of the year--how symbolic is that--and a perfect holiday present! Two special moments to share during the shoot: Better than tv is to watch the magic of baking!