photo by assistant extraordinare, Katy McCarthy
4 above images by Chelsea of Frolic! At top left, a salad awaits it's closeup (wet towels to keep it fresh), Adrian & I having a laugh in between shots, Chelsea's gorgeous prop table kept catching my eye, everything was so pretty! Lastly, Jenni being a hand model with a bowl of veggies, catching her with just the right amount of cabbage in her grip!

photo of me with camera by Sara Kate Gillingham, the other 3 by me - Everyday Dave had a cocktail or bottle of wine ready for myself and my assistant Katy (YES!), detail of girly props used to adorn a stellar salad, me hunched over a sizzling pan using the prettiest natural window light, Adrian and Jenni cooking up a storm (7-8 recipes per day!! can you believe it?!) in the kitchen of our studio, Cyril's

Happy Spring everyone! I have missed this little spot on the internet. For the past few months, I've not been sipping on tea and making cookies because I've been in the midst of a crazy big shoot! My team just wrapped a 15 days of work, photographing over 75 recipes for an upcoming cookbook authored by the editors at THE KITCHN. The publisher, Clarkson Potter, is responsible for making some of the most beautiful design and cookbooks out there. I've been going hard at this project since mid February, hopping over to NYC, getting into the food portion of the shoot, then shooting in and around Portland. My final stop for this book has been the Los Angeles area, where I just returned from. I'm so excited to be nearing the end as it's just been a tremendous amount of glorious and intense work.

It's an honor to have been the person to bring these beautiful recipes to life with the collaboration of the Portland dream team. I was uplifted by their wonderful attitude and smiles the entire time. Even when we were working over 12 hour days, they never wavered! I'm so grateful for their expertise and dedication.

For a little behind the scenes peek, I thought it would be fun to show you some pictures of our process. First there's all of us making decisions on how to best capture a delicious snack. The food stylists, Adrian Hale and Jenni Grisham are making sure the food looks as perfect and delectable as possible. One of the authors of the book is making sure all the elements are working together to show the story of this food (the props, the ingredients, the light, my angle, etc). Chelsea, our prop stylist, is adjusting the napkins and deciding if the backdrop, plate and linens are harmonious and natural. Katy is uploading images and keeping things organized and smiling at me whenever I'm feeling flummoxed (thank you Katy!!). I'm the ring leader of this endeavor, making the picture from a few different points of view so the publishers have options. It's quite removed from the process of cooking and eating with friends at home! What's so neat about working on cookbooks is the collaboration, every person is critical to the entire piece and we all have to work together to create the right look and story. I've learned so much from all of my colleagues, and I'm immensely proud of all of us.


  1. Sounds like so much fun. Happy for you lovely leela.

  2. You are such a dream to work with, Leela. I'm looking forward to more!

  3. What a wonderful post! I absolutely love peeking behind the scenes - thank you for sharing with us! So glad you had such great collaborators - working with the right people can make a long day go by much faster, no?

  4. It was a pleasure to work with you and your lovely food styling girls!!

  5. How cool to see behind the scenes. Ahh, if only I could have window light that divine all the time.


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