Archive for May, 2011

May 20, 2011

Our first cookbook reviews are in!

by Crystal Cook

“I love the Casserole Queens—from their savory lasagna to their caramel bread pudding, this book is full of one-dish recipes that will rock your house!”
—Bobby Flay

“This charming cookbook has hints and tips galore for America’s favorite dishes—King Ranch Chicken, Tamale Pie, and Hash Brown Casserole—as well as fabulous casserole innovations like Red Snapper Veracruz, Rockin’ Tomatoes Rockefeller, and Granola Oatmeal Bake. The darling Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock, like modern home ec teachers, instruct with wit and charm (even sharing an apron pattern right off the bat). So get this cookbook, keep it on hand in the kitchen, and never be stumped again for what to bring to a get-together or have for a family meal.”
—Martha Hall Foose, author of Screen Doors and Sweet Tea and A Southerly Course

“Crystal and Sandy are such a delight and their recipes offer something for everyone! This book is such a fun read I felt like I was sitting in on a chat with friends.”
—Christy Jordan, author of Southern Plate

“In The Casserole Queens Cookbook, Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock have taken all the culinary triumph, sartorial splendor, and inimitable style of the mid-century and compiled a book of remarkably delicious recipes fit for today’s dinner tables. So tie on the red-cherry apron, spark up the pilot on the Chambers, and prepare to have more fun than you’ve ever had with a 9-by-13-inch baking dish—these queens reign supreme!”
—Matt Lee and Ted Lee, authors of The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern

May 6, 2011

Inside the Queen’s Studio with Raychel Deppe

by Casserole Queens

The Queens periodically interview someone we find interesting and inspiring. In this installment, we are excited to introduce you to the talented Raychel Deppe As a professional photographer for over 6 years, Raychel has had the opportunity to shoot a wide variety of subjects for an impressive list of clients.  From product shots to headshots, from still life photography to our personal favorite of food and beverage, Raychel creates absolutely stunning work. Maybe it derives from her obvious passion and commitment to her trade.  We were fascinated to learn that she went to culinary school (and risked bodily harm!)  specifically to further educate herself on the food industry for her photographic purposes. Now that is dedication!  

Tell us a little about yourself and why you choose photography as a career.

I’m Raychel: a little extreme but mostly passionate and in love with life. I thrive on inspiration and finding an outlet to transfer and express my creative energy. As a photographer I’m: technically driven, detail oriented, and perhaps a bit obsessive compulsive. I chose photography because it is the most versatile creative profession I found that allows me to work with a variety of people, each with different skill sets and personalities. Working with new clients allows me to remain motivated and creatively challenged on a daily basis!

What is your “recipe” for success?

Find what you love, and make it a career. That way, even the “boring” jobs are enjoyable.

If you weren’t a professional photographer you would be…

A chef and or holistic nutritionist. No questions about it. Food has always been my second passion in life.

Why do you enjoy shooting food? And how it is different than your other gigs (wedding, commercial, etc.)?

I am a commercial photographer who decided to go to cooking school. I moved from New York City to Austin, Texas specifically to go to Texas culinary academy to study the food industry in more depth for photographic purposes. After a tragic experience with a flash fire and 2nd degree burns I decided I had gained all the knowledge I needed from cooking school and it was time for me to apply it to my photography (minus the grease burns of course). I love photographing food because it is a multi-dimensional experience. I love the potential for all 5 senses to participate in the photographic process. The passion for me goes far beyond just the photographs…food is one of those tangible things in life that connects me to every other culture throughout the world.

If a casserole described your personality – what would it be?

Definitely a potpie. Rich pastry exterior, with warm (perhaps a little bit less-refined) traditional gravy center!

Name one photography disaster you’ve had.

Sometimes I think that the photographic disasters are blessings in disguise…. and they usually end up with the best photos. Problems force me to creatively problem solve and that is probably one of the reasons I love photography so much. However, one of my very first official photoshoot as a professional photographer was shot entirely in the wrong format. The feeling I got in the pit of my stomach when I realized this mistake was paralyzing. Luckily, in the end, the images were large enough files that I was able to convert them to the proper format for this publication without a problem. Worst mistake, but this lesson has stayed with me always.

What do you think makes a good food image?

Two key elements make a good food photograph: lighting and styling. Both are essential. You can’t have one without the other.

Are there some foods that you find impossible to photograph?

Foods that have a tendency to melt are the most difficult. Speed is crucial and extra hands are a plus.

Who was your most interesting client?

The most interesting client I have ever worked with thus far is the Quest Syndicate Loft. They are racing pigeon experts that breed, auction, and race pigeons all around the world. Not only is the sport of pigeon racing quite unique, but also the photography that accompanies it is extremely challenging and very specific. How do you pose a pigeon?

If someone wrote a book about you, what would the title be?

lovin’ it: the Raychel Deppe experience

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