Put the tweezers down and put your hands up! December 8, 2005

For those who don’t know, I am a stylist. My most recent incarnation is that of a food stylist. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner, really. Its the perfect blend of my love of photography and art…and my passion for all things food.

Recently, I was booked on a job at a very well known casino *not* in Las Vegas. Well…well known for those people in my neck of the woods. I would tell you where I went to work…but they’d probably kill me. I went to style food for the fine dining restaurants there. I would tell you about the chefs, both of whom were really great chefs and nice people, to boot. However, if I say anything about the chefs…they’d probably kill me. I would tell you how great both of the restaurants were in the casino-that-remains-nameless and how well done the food and the presentation is…but…*ahem*…they’d probably kill me.

Case in point:

During our photo shoot – yes WHILE the cameras were still out – I tried to take a photo of one of the dishes we were CURRENTLY TAKING PHOTOS OF. The security guard assigned to the door of the restaurant, who I will affectionately call Baretta, leapt towards me exclaiming I couldn’t take my leeetle teeensy diiiigital camera out to take my own photo.

Him: "You’re not allowed to take photos in the casino."

Me: "We’re taking photos inside the casino right now"

Him: *crickets chirping*

Me: *blink*

He then went on to tell me how he swatted some woman’s camera out of her hand when she tried to take a photo of him with her husband. As he’s recounting this story, the chef walks out of the restaurant to leave for the day. Baretta sees this and his eyes look like they’re about to bug out of his head.

Him: "I think he just took a photo out on the casino floor!!!"

Me: "He works here and sees this place every day. Why would he take a picture of it!?"

Him: *crickets chirping*

Me: *sigh*

So. Since I wasn’t able to take Tami-cam shots of the food I was eating and working on, I decided to DRAW it for you. This will not only do a gross injustice to the food at these two fabulous restaurants…it will further reinforce that I shouldn’t quit my day job. Enjoy!

Grouper_001_2 Since the steakhouse was only open to the photo shoot and closed for dinner, we ate our evening meals at the Italian restaurant. The first night I had grouper with a rosemary cream sauce. It came perched atop a bed of angel hair pasta, which I don’t really care for – especially when sauced with something heavy. No matter! The fish was awesome and perfectly cooked…and the sauce was killer! It didn’t hurt that our table for 8 washed down three bottle of PlumpJack Cabernet during the meal!

Zuppa_2 The second night, I had the dish that I had been coveting the night before: zuppa di pesce. I have very high standards for this dish because I make killer versions at home. This did not disappoint. The seafood was flavorful and plentiful. The sauce was just right with enough garlic and white wine. (As for the rendering of it, there was no way I would make you people look at my colored pencil drawing of a lobster or a squid. I know you’re thanking me as you read this.)


Ribeye_4                                                                    During the day, we shot the food at the steakhouse, which is located right on the main floor of the casino. The words "steakhouse" and "casino" together in the same sentence don’t normally give me great cause for optimism. This place blew me away. Incredible wine list and top notch menu. The chef was very young and hip – he reminded me of Michael, the guy that won Hell’s Kitchen. The first dish we shot was a 22 OUNCE bone-in ribeye. Yes…people actually order it and finish it. I kept calling it "the meat paddle".


Dessert looked incredible! It was an individual dark chocolate torte which was plated with a grand marnier sauce and fresh crack black pepper. Seeings as I love the combination of chocolate and pepper together, I was hoping to snag a bite of it. No dice. They decided that dessert didn’t say "steakhouse" enough so it was promptly whisked away to the table where the clients were sitting and devoured.

Now that I’m back in Atlanta, I won’t have to resort to the illustrated version of my adventures, I promise.:)


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