Erica: Venturing into the World of Cooking…

I have been asked to write a blog post about food, but the joke’s on y’all because I don’t know anything about food (other than how to schedule a photo shoot for it). However, I recently got married and have been venturing into the world of cooking… ever so slowly… one tip-toe at a time.

During my single years, my diet consisted primarily of spaghetti (cooked or dry for that matter), fast food or frozen meals. Needless to say, that doesn’t quite work anymore—for me or my husband.

Keep in mind though, he does not expect me to cook and often encourages me not to worry about it (he’d happily eat out for every meal), but along with the adventures of marriage comes the adventures of budgeting and planning, etc.; so I have taken this grocery shopping/cooking adventure upon myself. And thankfully, I get to work with people who cook food and make it pretty for a living, so I have many sources of advice surrounding me. :)

After photo shoots, we often have a lot of food leftover that gets sent to the Nashville Rescue Mission; but some of it is opened or items we can’t take there, so we all “grocery shop” for ourselves. Most of the time I look at the things leftover and draw a blank. My mind is not inventive or creative when it comes to food, and I frankly just don’t know enough about cooking to know what I could make with an assortment of seemingly random things. Our wonderful food stylists are always quick to offer me ideas and suggestions though. Telling me what would go well with what, the best way to prepare it, or even offering a recipe I can follow. (My husband has them to thank for a number of our dinners.)

I’ve only recently begun to feel confident with my weekly grocery/meal plans and often ask friends for suggestions regarding any go-to recipes that they like. Admittedly, sometimes I have to google things on the ingredient list or a process that the writer has matter-of-factly stated in the instructions that a beginner like me has no clue what it means. (Oh, hey blanching, glad to know what you mean now.) Maybe one day, I’ll reach expert level.

Until that time comes though, here is one of mine and my husband’s favorite (and easy) dinners to make. This was recommended to me by an art producer at an agency we often work with. My husband has always claimed he didn’t like salmon, and she said her’s had done the same… until she tried this recipe. So, I tried it as well and it was a success! Feel free to try it for yourself sometime by following this link.

– Erica

Meal Spread, Editorial

Meal Spread, Editorial

Images from the Dreier & Company archive.
Client: American Diabetes Association
Food Photography: Kyle Dreier
Food Styling: Whitney Kemp

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Summer Time

When I was a kid, summer time meant play time (except when I was 10 and my family spent the entire hot Texas summer renovating a house…but that’s a whole other story). Not much has changed for me. The anticipation of summer leads me to think about what to do for fun, and work. Fun at home typically involves me and my wife dragging our boys out to do something she and I want to do, or the boys dragging us to the soccer fields or community pool.

Here at the studio I like to play a bit with some non-client shoot days. We call in a stylist (or two) and chip away at ideas that have been circling my head. It’s a play day, but like many things with me, there’s a goal to our efforts. This particular project (see “& Food” here) has a life of its own. It will take us into next year, but for now we have a few in the can. We’ll share more later. Below are some of the images we shot last week with Nashville food stylist Callie Blount. We enjoy her spontaneous editorial approach to styling.

We’ve enjoyed our play time here at work, thankfully all in the comfort of the air conditioned studio.

– Kyle
Peaches & Cream - Ampersand

Peaches & Cream

Peaches & Cream

Food Photography by Kyle Dreier  |  Food Styling by Callie Blount  |  Prop Wrangling by Emily Pierce

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Studio Facelift

Here at the Dreier & Company studio, we pride ourselves on sharing a friendly, client focused atmosphere. We are always looking for ways to expand on convenience, creativity, and straight-up fun. With that in mind, the Dreier & Company facilities have undergone a major facelift inside and out over the past few months.

Inside we have torn down walls, built them anew and doubled the client collaborative work space. Work from seats at common tables or on a comfy couch; you’ll always be able to find a nice spot to nestle into. Need a quiet spot to hold top secret phone calls? We even have a private room available for just that purpose. In addition to the re-jigging of work space, we’ve built brand new, fully stocked “his” and “hers” powder rooms. And I must say, they are quite lovely!

Truly, it brings our team joy to suit our client’s creative and collaborative needs. Better still, we have more space improvements in the works. Next up, clients will be able to convert one of the open work areas into a private conference room with the gentle push of transitional sliding walls. How neat is that?!

We sure hope you like the changes (we know that we certainly do!) and do feel free to send us a note at studio@dreier.com to let us know what you think!

– Emily, Marketing Wrangler

Studio Interior Behind The Scenes Construction

Studio Interior Client Space

Studio Interior Client Space

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The Splendid Cook

Many of you are familiar with the iconic NPR radio show, The Splendid Table. (If you aren’t, you’re missing out and should visit www.splendidtable.org today!) The show is split into two parts, with the first half usually revolving around top notch professionals in the culinary world. And trust me you don’t have to be an expert to appreciate the seeds of knowledge shared during this part of the show. However, I wait patiently for the second portion of the show, called “Stump the Cook” when Lynn flexes her foodie muscles, haha.

The general gist of the second segment is when regular folks (like you and me) call in and give Lynn five random ingredients from their kitchens. No gimmicks, this is off the cuff and Lynn “freestyles” if you will, in delivering one-to-several ideas on how to make a dish with the ingredients that you would actually want to eat. Personally, Lynn Rossetto Kasper never fails to blow my mind with her cooking / ingredient / recipe knowledge. Seriously, she is what we call in my household as “NEXT LEVEL!”

Where am I going with all of this? Well, after any given food photoshoot we are often left with a random assortment of raw ingredients. What we can’t donate to the local food banks, we have to figure out what to do with it. So, I would like to play a little round of what I’m calling “Stump the Studio” to honor this creative challenge. I’ve had John select five ingredients at random from our studio kitchen… so wish me luck!

John’s Ingredient Selection

  1. Louisiana Style Cajun Seasoning
  2. Ground Mustard
  3. All Purpose Flour
  4. American Cheese Slices
  5. Large Jar of Deli Style Whole Pepperoncini

Emily’s 5 Minute Cajun Stuffed Pepperconcini

  • Combine 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning and 1 teaspoon ground mustard in a bowl and set aside.
  • Take pepperoncini and cut a small portion off the top to allow for stuffing.
  • Cut cheese slices in half, roll them up and stuff into pepperoncini.
  • Roll cheese stuffed peppers in dry mix. Coat generously.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and get the oil nice and hot.
  • Drop stuffed peppers into pan allowing the crust and pepper to brown, as well as, the cheese to melt.
  • Pull the peppers off the pan, allow to cool slightly and enjoy watching your co-workers eat your strange recipe – haha!

I have to say I was quite surprised that I came up with something edible from this random ingredient mash-up in about five minutes. There is more than enough room for improvement with this recipe, including my complete lack of food styling abilities, haha, but honestly this was a fun exercise none the less! This was giggle inducing for sure, and I encourage everyone to take a moment, grab some ingredients and allow for creativity to take the wheel and have a splendid day! :)

– Emily, Questionable Recipe Developer

 

Behind the Scenes Blog

Behind the Scenes Blog

Behind the Scenes Blog
Behind the Scenes Blog

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“& Company”

According to some handwriting analysis experts, the way an individual crafts their written word can reflect more than 5,000 different personality traits. Let us all channel the science of graphology and peek into the psyche that is our enchilada-loving, creatively-driven, studio leader’s mind… we’re going to guess there are a lot of empty chocolate wrappers rolling around in there somewhere, hah!

– Dreier & Company

& Company - Kyle

 

Thai Food Kyle

“Thai Food” by Kyle Dreier

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Food & Entertainment Inspiration

About two years ago, my husband and I bought our first place together. Ever since, we have been in full-fledged nesting mode. Now that we have a space to call our own, nesting has been accompanied by the “dinner party bug.” There is no mistake that I’ve been bitten and this summer so far, we have hosted countless gatherings. Which as of late, has lead to a certain amount of entertainment idea fatigue. It’s certainly not the people giving me pause and we have so many other friends that we want to entertain, but the pressure to host the perfect evening has had me weighed down… “Isn’t food supposed to bring people together, not apart?!” (Insert image of me shaking my fist towards the sky.)

All that said, I’ve been on a mission to simplify the food + friends = fun equation. Which got me thinking, how can I apply the food fun I experience daily at the Dreier & Company studio into activities to gather around the home with friends? When I boiled it down, I found three ingredients that make our studio stand out: the people. thoughtful details. being flexible.

With those three ingredients and recent photoshoots in mind, here are some ideas to jazz up “entertainment” at home. Join me in rebelling against the sit-down dinner!

Popsicle Party

During the hotter months, Dreier & Company will often make afternoon popsicle runs to Las Paletas to give clients and crew a sweet refresher on set. Why not have friends over for popsicles during the peak of a sunny day? Turn on the sprinkler or grab a kiddie pool, and let the fun begin! If it rains, let your inner kid splash the puddles with your popsicle in tow.

Neighborhood Block Party

We’ve got a friendly and welcoming crew here at the studio who know how to make clients feel at home. Embrace a “fast friends” motto, get outside and meet the neighbors! Use your driveway, porch or alley as the meeting point and serve simple dips, hotdogs and hamburgers. Invite your new neighbor friends to bring drinks, their favorite side or a yard chair to kick back and mingle.

Dog Bar

It’s no secret that our team is full of animal lovers. (A dog or two may or may not have made appearances in the studio before, hehe!) Have a fenced in yard? Call the buddies on a week night, tell them to bring Fido over for a play date. While the dogs bark, sniff and play… catch up on the daily grind over a few beers at your new “dog park” watering hole.

Crawfish Boil

Recently Dreier & Company has been experimenting with making food “fly” on camera and we tested on a southern, crawfish boil. It was so hilarious to see the little crustaceans soar on camera! So, what is easier than a one pot meal for a large group of guests?! (Hint: Nothing, hah!) Spread the meal out on newsprint and let your guests dive into the messy goodness and chat the evening away.

Backyard Movie Night

Grab a solid, light color bed sheet and hang it outside to project a movie on. (FYI: There are countless homemade smartphone projector hacks on Pinterest.) Spread out on the yard or porch and feast upon pizza, popcorn, M&Ms and mega gulp sodas… get lost in talking the finer points of “chick flicks” vs Quentin Tarantino vs Pixar’s greatest hits… much like we do in the office.

I hope you’re feeling as inspired as me!

– Emily

 

Entertaining Image Montage

Food Photography by Kyle Dreier  |  Styling Contributors Teresa Blackburn, Paul Grimes & Whitney Kemp

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