Recently our restaurant dining rooms, bars, and kitchens were converted into makeshift movie sets for the taping of a series of video shoots. If the project goes as planned, the videos will wind up on each of the restaurants websites and perhaps in an ad campaign to be aired on local cable TV. The taping took place, at breakneck speed, over a two day period in six different locations including Esquire Grill, Cosmo Cafe, Spataro, Cafe Bernardo, R15 and Centro Cocina Mexicana. The cast was a group made up of restaurant employees, local models, and would be actors. The crew consisted of PRG Marketing director Callista Wengler, Director Brett, videographer Chris, and yours truly as food stylist. (I fear that my cameo appearance may end up on the proverbial cutting room floor) The director staged vignettes of our “cast members” in various stages of eating, drinking, and enthusiastic socializing, all bathed in a Barbara Walters-esque glow of soft, muted light. The videographer was highly skilled at extracting the best out of each scene and at coaching the actors to give him precisely what he wanted i.e., more teeth, more laughter, more smiles, more hair movement. For an added touch of realism, the cast ate real food and drank real drinks. (Obviously a group devoted to the school of method acting)
I learned, once again, that when it comes to shooting food, photographers and videographers insist that fire, mist, and dramatic billows of steam are essential to convey the primordial qualities of cooking. I tried to comply by providing plenty of flames in the form of burning wood and charcoal but tried to avoid the cliche of the three foot high flame shooting up out of a saute pan. I’m hopeful we captured images that will communicate the hand crafted nature of what we do in our kitchens.
I’ll keep you posted as to how the project develops and where the final cuts can be viewed. Stay tuned for a report on my partnership with the culinary students at American River College as they execute my menu (and hopefully not me!) for a week of lunches in the Oak Cafe.
Posted on 01/31/2010 at 12:00 AM