Guess what? My photos are in a cookbook!! That's right: the 2nd edition of Nile Style by Amy Riolo has six photos I took including the book cover!
How did this happen? Well, let me tell you.
I met Amy at least 7 years ago when I was one of the many culinary assistants at Sur La Table. I've assisted several of Amy's cooking classes and loved the passion and ease she brought to teaching, not to mention Amy's knowledge about culinary traditions of countries such as Italy and Egypt.
Years later, Amy and I reconnected on Facebook and I took one of her Moroccan classes at Living Social in DC.
A while back Amy contacted me asking if I'd be up for taking a few new photographs for the 2nd edition of her well liked Nile Style cookbook.
I was honored, slightly scared, and excited.
You see, I've never had my food photographs published in a cookbook before.
Late last year Amy and I met for lunch to discuss what she had in mind for the new photographs, the style of the book and the budget. We then chose a date when Amy would drive to my condo with already made dishes for me to photograph.
I don't think I slept a lot the night before. Would my photographs be good enough? Would Amy like them? Would the publisher sign off on them?
The photo shoot was long and it was hard work. There were at least eight different recipes happening simultaneously in my kitchen. What was great though, was that Amy was calm, cheerful, optimistic and had faith in me. And she helped with the clean up!!
Salad with Grapes and Fried Feta Balls p. 7
Unlike my blog where I'm in charge of everything from what I'm cooking to how much I'm writing and whether I'm sharing photographs taken with my Canon DSLR or from my instagram feed, this photo shoot had a clear direction provided by Amy and the publisher of the book.
I had to give up some of the control, and I'm not going to lie: it wasn't easy.
Stuffed Vine Leaves p. 80
I took multiple photos of each recipe trying different props, arrangements and backgrounds. Looking back, there are certain things I would have done differently, such as actually using a tripod. But I guess you learn as you go.
In the end, a few of the dishes I photographed did not make it into the book, and that's just how things go. I was happy for the experience and for the food: yes, I got to keep all the delicious food Amy made.
Egyptian-Style Key-Limeade p. 209
Lentils, Rice, and Pasta with Spicy Tomato Sauce (Koushari) p. 47
There were multiple emails back and forth with Amy and the publisher of the book to choose the final photographs, to format them correctly, and to sign off on the edits.
And then my part was done and I just had to wait for the book to be out.
Double Chocolate Baklava p. 182
And now the book is out!!! The publisher, Hippocrene Books, sent five copies of the book for me to keep and share with my family, and three more copies for me to giveaway to YOU!!! In the next two weeks I'll be sharing two recipes I made from Amy's book and you will have a chance to win your own copy.