The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


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Hideous Photos from a Professional Food Photographer

This past weekend I got the opportunity to go to the International Associate of Culinary Professional’s (IACP) annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky. (I drank SO much bourbon!). The conference is a great opportunity for people in all sectors of the culinary field to come together, learn some things, network, meet your culinary idols and of course, eat lots of amazing food. Oh yeah, and the bourbon. IMG_5695Of course, being at a conference with some of the world’s top food photographers/stylists/writers I wanted to be able to put a good foot forward and have some nice images of the conference, but this was not to be the case. I’m not really the most responsible of adults and last year I broke the camera on my phone. I’m not really sure how it happened, but I have a general idea. My husband couldn’t believe that such an expensive phone could break so easily, but when I went to pull my phone out of my purse and accidentally flung it 9 feet across the parking lot he pondered no more.

I did not want to lug my real camera to the conference and the selfie mode of my phone still works, so I just figured I could take lots of selfies to illustrate my experience.  This let to a whole slew of really shitty photographs. I’ve been following the other conference attendee’s beautiful imagery and I’ve got to say it is pretty humbling to present you with this ugly pics.  Enjoy!  4Yikes! That’s super rough. It is seriously hard to take a photo of food when you:

A. Can’t see the image on the screen

B. Can’t zoom in

C. And are shooting with a 1.2 mp camera that does terrible in low light and is clearly meant for portrait mode. 5These were the very best images. Yes, seriously. There are actually images much worse than this crap. 8These are not as bad, to be clear they are not good, but not as bad. You should have seen the confused looks while I was trying to take a photo with my phone facing the wrong way, while hanging over the top and putting fun shadows all over the place. IMG_5667People would ask why I did and when I said I was a food photographer the response was ‘Oh wow.. really?’

The conference itself was excellent. I saw a free friends, met a lot of new people and learned a lot. It was my first trip to Louisville and I throughly enjoyed it.  My husband and I are already making plans to revisit.  I especially want to visit Dinosaur World and the Patton Museum. They weren’t in Louisville city limits, but not far from it.  Also the KFC Museum, how can that be anything less than awesome.

The other awesome thing about the conference was the swag! I’m actually not a huge fan of swag, but there was some primo stuff a this thing. Such as packages of California figs and fig BBQ sauce.IMG_5721I also picked up a potato doll called a Spuddy Buddy! Hilarious! Also, sad that I have the fashion sense of a potato.

I picked it up from my friend’s children, but then I realized the Spud and I had the same shoes! I might keep him now. I mean we have the same shoes! IMG_5737I also got an Anolon frying pan, a yogurt carrier, a cute back of chips, a nice wine opener.. There were also lots of snacks.  My favorite were the kiwi berries, which are essentially mini hairless kiwis. 6I enjoyed the Hillshire small plates while watching Knocked Up at midnight.  I party hard. IMG_5841  I stayed at two different hotels over the 4 days there, and they were great, but my view was less than picturesque. IMG_5879It could be a postcard couldn’t it! Who needs a mountain view when you have a construction site or parking garage?IMG_5664They did make my towel into a swan, so that made up for the view.. a bit.

IMG_5735IMG_5704My husband didn’t get to come with me, so I spent much of the weekend sending him photos of the fun times I was having.  On Saturday I was looking so pulled together with my scarf, make-up and Starbucks so I sent him a photo of it.

When he saw the photo he said it didn’t look a thing like me. Jeez! Why do I even bother. Later that night I sent a ‘regular’ photo with Spuddy Buddies on my head.

On the last day of the conference I went to The Palace for an awards ceremony. Swank!Untitled-1 copyIt was really nice and I got to finally hang out with some friends I’d been missing for most of the conference. IMG_5804Then I packed up all my stuff, grabbed a banana for a road snack and too one last shitty photo of myself before heading back to Alabama. I hope you enjoyed the noisy, blurry, badly cropped awful images. IMG_5878


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Behind the Scene of a Blog Tour #dinehsv

1Y2B57721Last weekend I participated in my 4th food blog tour to celebrate a Restaurant Week.  They are always fun and interesting, so I thought I’d give an inside look of this year’s tour. behind the scenes

The tours actually start out kind of awkward, especially if you don’t know anyone. You’re just eating with a bunch of strangers and though you’ve read their profiles you don’t really know much them. I’m always worried that I’ll do something stupid, because I usually do, this year I misplaced my shoes and may or may not have accidentally mooned someone when a gust of wind caught my skirt. I was fulling immersed in photographing a beautifully plated dish and didn’t pay attention to how windy it was getting. To that person walking by on the sidewalk I’m sorry..  or you’re welcome.

But in the end the bloggers all become fast friends, because we are brought together by food and the experience of eating 3 meals together. In the beginning we are so polite and proper, but by end we are sharing food off each other dishes, recommending places to get good photographs, and laughing and joking with each other.

And it always nice to read each other’s experiences on the blogs afterwards and I recommend you do the same.

Katherine photographing some amazing sides at the Toybox Bistro. Photo on the left courtesy of KatieActually.com

Katherine photographing some amazing sides at the Toybox Bistro. Photo on the left courtesy of KatieActually.com

We also risk life and limb to get a shot. As a photographer you get yourself worked up about ‘finding the right light’ and ‘making sure you captured the ambiance of a place’.  You know that friend that is SO annoying Instagraming every piece of food that goes in their mouth, and then your food, and then the food of the people at the table next to you, well that is child’s play when it comes to a food blogger. I come to a restaurant with a full camera bag, I shoot with a reflector and sometimes a tripod. I climb up on chairs to ‘get the shot’. So obnoxious. The nice things is I am not alone on a food blog tour!

Jennifer photographing at Beignet Cafe. She's a shorty like me so Charles kindly steadied her chair so she didn't die. Worth it though! Her photo is on the left courtesy of SweetTMakesThree.com.

Jennifer photographing at Beignet Cafe. She’s a shorty like me so Charles kindly steadied her chair so she didn’t die. Worth it though! Her photo is on the left courtesy of SweetTMakesThree.com.

It is also nice because you have people who help aka egg you on to do something crazy.

Thank-you to the Huntsville/Madison County Visitor’s Bureau for hosting us and thanking to all the restaurants and bloggers for making it a great experience.

Make sure you check out their blogs!

Katie Actually: http://www.katieactually.com

Charles Hunter III: https://thesaltedtable.com

Jennifer Garvens: http://www.sweettmakesthree.com

Bo Williams: http://bowilliams.com

Stephenie Walker: http://www.rocketcitymom.comsarahDid I get the shot? Yes I did! Thank-you to Charles from TheSaltedTable.com for making sure I didn’t break my neck or really embarrass myself by getting stuck in a chair and having to have firefighters cut me out or some nonsense like that.

Thank-you to Katie for letting me use your shot from KatieActually.com.

Me shooting over the years at blog tours! Thank-you Constance, Sarah and New Market BBQ for taking pics of me.  12


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Blog Tour Grille 29 #dineHSV

feature8The city of Huntsville has a rich culinary culture combining southern fare with German and other international cuisines.

Despite this, Huntsville used to lack a restaurant culture that other cities enjoy. Sure, we had lots of franchises but if you had a yen from something other than Olive Garden or fast-food, your choices were limited. Luckily, in the last decade or so, Huntsville started having amazing restaurants that showed off its culinary potential.

For the last leg of our Food Tour for Restaurant Week, we visited one of these restaurants, Grille 29, which specializes in fine dining in a causal atmosphere.feature10Grill 29 is a sophisticated steak and seafood restaurant that was started by the Restaurant Partners, Inc. (RPI). It is located in the lovely Village of Providence Main and has a picturesque outdoor eating area, as well as stylish indoor accommodations. feature9We all assembled with cameras/phones/notebooks in hand, ready to document every aspect of each dish. Food bloggers can be a pretty annoying bunch. If you think that a friend that has to Instagram every morsel that goes into their mouth is frustrating, then try going to lunch with 7 of these people who do it professionally! Make sure you check out the other bloggers’ posts though. Everyone did a great job showing how great each restaurant is.

Clint Cantwell with Grillocracy

Phillip Fryman with Southern FATTY

Stephanie Walker with Rocket City Mom

Constance Smith with Cosmopolitan Cornbread

Katie Wright with Katie Actually

feature7We started the way every meal should begin (in my opinion) with muffins and mimosas. This is part of their brunch special, which is available every Sunday from 10am to 2pm. As an extra treat, we got to sample the super popular Chicken and Waffles, which was the perfect balance of salty and sweet. Then we enjoyed a chilly lump crab gazpacho. I’m a bit of a veggiholic, so I absolutely LOVED this dish.

Next, we had the main course: cheesy grits topped with shrimp and andouille sausage served in a cast-iron skillet. It doesn’t get much more southern than that.feature1Using a great deal of restraint, I only ate half of my meal because I knew there would be lots of desserts.  I was very glad I did.

We started with warm sour cream fudge cake. Stunning and delicious!feature5Next was the strawberry cheesecake. Each day there is a different flavor of cheesecake so you’ll never get bored. Is your mouth watering yet?feature3And last, but certainly not least, was the chocolate peanut butter truffle. Yum!!feature4

I should also mention that we all shared the desserts! We did not each eat a full meal and then three desserts in a row…

feature6See? Here we are sharing.

 This concludes a wonderful Blog Tour. Thank-you to the Huntsville Visitor’s Center for inviting me to participate, thank-you Jessica Carlton for being awesome (as usual) and making sure that everything ran smoothly, and thank-you to my fellow bloggers for making it a fun, informative and enjoyable experience. thebloggers

Website:

http://www.grille29.com

Location:

445 Providence Main Street
Huntsville, Alabama 35806

Phone:

(256) 489-9470

Hours:

Sunday Brunch – 10am
Sunday – Thursday – 11am – 9:30pm
Friday & Saturday – 11am – 10:30pm


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Pieology Pizzeria in Alabama!

Pieology PizzeraBridge Street Town Centre (in Huntsville, AL) has a pizza place! And it is delicious! I was cordially invited to Pieology’s Media Event (Thank-you Tim!) and got a sneak peek at the restaurant, met the talented staff, and, best of all, got to sample their delectable pizza.

Pieology Pizzeria at Bridge Street Town Centre

Pieology Pizzeria at Bridge Street Town Centre

Pieology Pizzeria originally started out west with the goal of creating fresh, customizable pizzas at a good price. Finally they’ve come to the south and we too can enjoy great ingredients, friendly service, and a fun experience.

Pieology Media Event

Happy people waiting for pie!

I attended the event with my husband. I took a photograph of him waiting in line with me as evidence, but he got annoyed that I was taken too long to take the picture and made a stupid expression at the last second. I should have posted the photo anyway (serves him right) but being the loving and benevolent wife that I am, I deleted it.

The line was long, as everyone was excited to sample the fare, but we got through quickly. Plus there is a giant quote wall along the line path, so you are entertained/inspired while you wait.

Pieology Pizza Oven

After several minutes of inspirational quote reading we were ready to order. A super friendly employee (I’m so sorry I forgot your name) explained our different crust options and put the fresh dough in a pizza press for a nice thin crust.  He was very nice so I feel terrible that I can’t remember his name.  I guess I was just too excited about the pizza.

Pieology Pizzeria

You can see my husband’s reflection in the bottom left of the photo. Sadly, that is the only decent shot I got of him at the lunch.

We then picked from one of seven different sauces. You an even mix and match them! I was completely uncreative and just went with the pre-designed Alfredo’s Alfredo pizza, but it was delicious, so I was happy with my decision. My hubby chose the Rustic Veggie. We planned to swap a couple of slices so we could try both, but we forgot. Oops! Guess we’ll just have to go back.

Fresh Ingredients at PieologyThen we picked our your cheeses and toppings.  Again, I just defaulted to the menu item, but I think I’ll get creative the next time.  The great thing is that every pizza is only $7.95 no matter how many toppings you get on it.

fresh ingredients at PieologyEverything is fresh as well. I was told they don’t even have freezers so you know you’re getting fresh food that is produced on site.

Oven at PieologyThis is inside the oven where all the magic happens!

Fresh food at Pieology

Manager Tim is on the right. Say hey to him when you go in for a visit. He is very helpful and nice.

After we picked out our toppings the pizza went into the oven to cook for 3 minutes.

We got our drinks.  There were 4 sweet tea choices so southerners will be happy.  And the tea was good, none of that canned nonsense which will remain nameless.  True southerners will know what I’m talking about.

Drink Station at Pieology

Drink Station at Pieology

We waited in the patio area for a very short time and Volia! yummy pizza goodness.

feature3

Looking at the photo I just realized that I did not follow the instructions of the number sign and place the sign at the edge of the table. It was pretty much in the middle, which is the opposite of the directions. Oops! I’ll know for next time.

I am looking forward to my next visit.  Thank-you Tim and the staff of Pieology for inviting me for the sneak peek.  Congratulations on your grand opening today (April 23rd).  Make sure y’all like them on Facebook to keep updated on any upcoming events!
Pieology Pizza
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