Food stylist dynamo, Oreos

Are you familiar with Denise Vivaldo, a renowned food stylist in LA who also writes for the Huff Post and is an absolute dynamo? I hadn't heard of her until Friday afternoon when she lit up a panel at the MidAtlantic Food Writers Symposium. Later that night, in reviewing the next day's schedule, I was thrilled to see that she would be co-leading the Perfect Plates seminar, a three-and-a-half hour food styling and photography session.

People, Denise is one of the most charismatic, hilarious forces of nature I've ever met. I about fell out after every sentence. I would give an arm to have recorded her presentation, simply to belly-ache laugh again and again. There was something about the importance of lighting in relation to "just thinking about Barbra Streisand," some priceless commentary about Sandra Lee and a Kwanzaa cake, another bit about something being as elusive as seeing a panther in the wild during the day. I loved Denise's candor, her confidence, her strength and her seemingly complete awareness about her strengths -and playing on them- and her weaknesses. I really admire the sense of her I got. What a tough and cool cookie.

She offered a wealth of great advice and Adam Ewing, the photographer who co-taught the session, was a real talent as well. Made me want to go buy a couple new lenses, a buffet of fabulous props and get busy!

`````````` On another note, as Jack doesn't like most cake or any frosting, he asked for a huge Oreo for his birthday. I ordered the Nordic Ware creme filled wafer cake pans, but we worried that they wouldn't make thin or crunchy enough wafers. I'll return those and in the meantime started testing recipes. Today's maiden voyage was my take on a recipe I found on Momables. These were really tasty though Oreos they were not. Ol, T and I totally enjoyed them, but J said "No," probably because the filling wasn't firm or fake enough. Heh. So, I'll keep chugging along, but for now, eye candy for you!