Stephanie and I made our way down to Long Beach in Southern California, my old stomping ground where I grew up just thirty minutes south in Mission Viejo. Our friends, Matt Armendariz and his partner in love and creation, Adam Pearson, kindly took us on as clients and would be shooting and styling 47 recipes from the book as well as taking a few style shots and cover shots.
Now, Matt and Adam are ostentatious, loud, opinionated, gaudy, lovable, sweet, kind, brash, and a know both raunchy and corny jokes. These are all reasons to just ADORE them. However, their approach to food, light, style, and the overwhelming amount of creativity they effuse from their persons like water rushing from a spring is beyond endearing and always breathtaking.
Matt knows how to work around natural light. How to bend it. Bounce it. Mold it. Scatter it. Absorb it. All this to make food glow ethereally or get as moody as that indie album you're obviously never heard of. His camera - tethered to the computer and harnessed in an industrial tripod that could topple Tokyo Tower - bends around the food as instructed. Above, in front, dead on, or just at the slightest angle the food always gets put at its best.
Adam... what can I say about this tattooed, gaged, ginger-bearded lovebug? He's the hardest working chef I have ever seen. He and his team of stylists - Christina and Alexis - crammed out 47 recipes in 4 days. They shopped, planned, pinned, tucked, melted, and mornayed their way nonstop through 10 to 12 hour days without a break. It was heroic. Plus, not only did they help us identify a few hiccups in the recipes so that they could be refined even further, but they also made each one look gorgeous and ensured that each one was properly styled.
Steph and I spent our time watching everyone work. We absorbed knowledge. We asked questions. Stephanie filmed EVERYTHING. We were consulted on recipes, offered advice on cheese and recommendations on preparation, and we assisted in styling. (One or two dishes I styled myself and am VERY proud of.)
But really, you guys, seriously... this book will be so god damn beautiful. You have no idea.
I cannot wait.