Plate To Pixel Book Signing

Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling is Helene Dujardin’s gorgeous new book that the entire interwebs was — justifiably, I assure you — immediately in love with. The book covers everything from photography basics and technical details to natural and artificial lighting, composition, and the art of food styling.

Dujardin herself (who authors the blog Tartelette) ventured into food photography as a practical means to an end. She was a pastry chef determined to visually communicate the plating of her desserts with the night staff at the restaurant where she worked.

Having started as a novice, taught herself the craft, and reached stunning professional and artistic success, she’s the perfect person to relate to food photographers at all skill levels.  Her accessibility and ingenuity is communicated on every page of Plate to Pixel.

And turns out, y’all, that she’s also super sweet. And funny! And genuine, and down-to-earth, and  — all the things you hope a rockstar-chef, photography-genius, and bestselling-author will turn out to be.

The book signing was held at Amelie’s French Bakery in NoDa, where we bought goodies to eat and congregated in a back room exquisitely appointed with French artifacts (perfect for Helene, who hails from France).  In addition to book signing, there was lots of laughter and chatter about food and photography (some of our favorite things, of course).

The person who wins the award for farthest distance traveled to meet Helene is Kit, who drove in from Raleigh.  There were also several Charlotte food bloggers there: Brooke, Vanessa, Taylor, and Julie.

We missed you CFBers who had to work or were otherwise occupied and couldn’t make it!  But we ate pastries in your honor.

It was tough, but we did it for you.  What can I say? We love you guys.

So many thanks to Helene Dujardin for making the trip up to Charlotte to spend the day with us (and to her husband, who we’re told did the driving)!  It’s an understatement to say it was a pleasure to meet you, and we’ll continue reaping the benefits of your work in Plate to Pixel.

Some important notes:

– Our next meeting will be Wednesday, June 29 (note the date change) — our first weeknight meetup! We’ll meet at the TCBY in Montford Abbey Shopping Center (1730 Abbey Place, Charlotte, NC 28209) at 7pm for some frozen yogurt and fun
– We’d love suggestions for conversation topics, field trips, group challenges, pot luck themes, etc. Record your field trip suggestions here.


CFB does National Strawberry Pickin’ Day

Strawwwwbs!  Bright and bulbous berries! The brilliant juxtaposition sweet and tart! The summit of summer snacking satisfaction! And perhaps most importantly, the object of the Charlotte Food Bloggers’ first field trip!

That’s right; we went berry pickin’, y’all!  And what better day than National Strawberry Picking Day to tell you all about it?

We met up at Miller’s Farm in Fort Mill, SC, last Saturday, and promptly began rooting through bush after bush for the best berries.  At Miller’s Farm you can buy picked berries or pick your own, and they also sell other freshly picked produce.  We’re excited to head up again throughout the year to see the other fruits of the farm.

The weather was gorgeous, but even better than the sunshine (and the occasional clouds, a photographer’s best friend) was the company!  Eight folks showed up to pick amid lots of camera snapping and chatter about food, photography, and recipes.

Vanessa was able to join us for the first time, and was the only one of us to get a photo of the cute puppy hanging around the produce stands (I think it’s a puggle).  You can check out her recap of the day at her blog, Life Undeveloped

Crosby, a budding photographer and all-around cool kid, was also able to join us.  Crosby’s a junior in high school and we’re trying to convince him to become a food blogger.  We’re a persuasive group.

Chic Diana from The Chic Life stayed hydrated with some coconut water as she picked, and then created a fabulous Strawberry Shortcake with Amaretto-Spiked Whipped Cream with her yield. 

Julia of No Face Plate also made it to the fields with friend Erin (not a food blogger, but we’ll keep workin’ on her, too!)

Julie of Willow Bird Baking (a.k.a. me!) and Katie of Sweet Tater Blog also joined in the fun. Katie managed to collect more strawberries than actually humanly possible.  She has crazy berry scouting abilities, perhaps related to the fact that she’d just hung out with a giant strawberry the weekend before.

Julie got a much smaller haul, but is nevertheless in the process of making a strawberry cream pie from a family recipe to be shared this weekend over at WBB.

Taylor from Taylor Takes a Taste was both filming and snapping photos as we picked.  (Sidenote: I promise that pairing Taylor with Juicy the Pig was his doing and not mine!  Though I kinda wish I’d thought of it first.)  Here’s the fantastic video Taylor made of all the strawberry picking shenanigans:

And did you notice some of the food bloggers dressed for the occasion?  Here’s our red group:

Our first field trip was a raging success, and we were already brainstorming new places to visit as we schmoozed with the farm animals on our way to the parking lot.  Check out the blogs listed above for more great strawberry recipes in the coming days!

Other fun this week:

A few Charlotte Food Bloggers (Brooke from Baking With Basil, Vanessa from Life Undeveloped, Diana from The Chic Life, Lindsay from Lindsay Hess Photography, and Julie from Willow Bird Baking) were able to meet up at the CHOW DOWN UPTOWN FOOD TRUCK RALLY on Thursday to enjoy some of Charlotte’s food truck fare.  Emma, another Charlotte Food Blogger, was there with her cupcake truck!  It was a fun evening designed to generate excitement about the food truck scene, and another excuse to get together and eat.  There was a rumor floating around that depending on the trucks’ success on Thursday night, they may make the rally a weekly affair.  Hope it’s true!

CFB is Going Berry Pickin’!

Hey Charlotte Food Bloggers! May is National Strawberry Month, and to celebrate, we’re heading out to Miller’s Farm (3685 S.C. 51, Fort Mill, S.C. 29715) to do some pickin’.  The farm has strawberries and other seasonal produce.  They provide containers and cold drinks are available.  Strawberries are $2 per pound.

We’ll meet at Miller’s Farm at 2 pm on Sunday, May 15 to pick berries together.  We thought it might be fun to use the berries to whip something up for our meeting the following week (5/22 at 12:30 pm at Park Road Park), but that’s optional.

We hope you can make it to our first “field trip” together!  Leave us a comment here and let us know if you can come.