Sunday, April 7, 2013

Everything Happens For A Reason...

In the couple of weeks after ending my involvement with Milk Sugar Love, I wasn't exactly sure what my next move was.  Fortunately, an amazing opportunity came along...

For the past few weeks, I have been working on a special project.  I have had the priveledge of helping Johnny Iuzzini with his second cookbook.  Not only is Johnny Iuzzini one of the most well-aclaimed pastry chefs in the country - you may remember him as the Head Judge on Top Chef: Just Desserts - he is one of the nicest guys I've met in the industry.  He's also insanely talented. 

This blog could easily turn into a novel, but I will do my best to keep it on the short side.  I will, however, do an update before the book is released (ETA May 2014) and after it is released and I'm allowed to show pictures of some of the things we worked on.

Not only did I get to work with Johnny, but some other incredibly talented people as well:  Wes Martin, culinary producer.  He's done TONS of cookbooks and does a lot of work with Rachel Ray.  Janet Lo, Wes' Assistant, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @jloeats.  Alison Attenborough, Food Stylist.  Check out her super-impressive website...  Michael Spain-Smith, Photographer...

Wes working in his "office."

Janet showing off her nuts.

Making a cookbook is A LOT of work.  Johnny and Wes have been working on the overall "mood" of the book for quite a while and it was amazing to see their vision come to life.  This book is going to be geared towards the home cook and is going to be a must-have for any at home baker - amateur or professional.  It is going to be LOADED with pictures and great recipes.  Michael took over 3,500 pictures and Wes expects the book to contain over 200 of them.  The pictures are amazing.  I wish I could share them, but I can't!

I was part of a group of interns who helped mise en place (measure out) ingredients so that Johnny, Wes and Alison could have everything ready to go as they needed things.  We also were asked to make a series of recipes out of the books to ensure accuracy and to make sure Johnny was happy with the final outcome.

Mandel polishing some crops.

The last week of the shoot was pure chaos!  We were so behind but still had a lot of tech and beauty shots to do before the deadline.  (Tech shots are a series of photos that show a particular technique, while beauty shots are photos of a completed recipe.  They're the pretty ones you see throughout a cookbook.)  We were all working in overdrive.  I was lucky enough to work one-on-on with Johnny helping him plow through mousses, sabayons, souffles, ganaches, tarts and more.

Johnny making chocolate covered fans.

My favorite moment was tempering chocolate to make fans to complete a tart.  Johnny even asked me to work the set to keep the chocolate in place and replace fans as needed.  (It gets very hot under the lights so everyone needs to be on the same page and work efficiently to keep a finished product from "dying."

Like I said, I will definitely be telling you more about this amazing experience in the future.

 Jelly Bean Break.  Baby Wipe or Coconut?

Johnny's Disco Light.

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