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Entries in tabletop (9)

Monday
Mar212011

meet us: adam pearson

Meet Adam Pearson, a professional food stylist based near our photo shoot in LA and Palm Springs. He’s the creative genius of our Mexican Fiesta and his recipes will be featured throughout the season.

Who taught you to cook?
Growing up in southern California, my dad spent a lot of time with me grilling outside. He also taught me how to make biscuits and sausage gravy when I was about 8. The gravy recipe is so easy its ingrained in my memory—and those moments became more special as our family split up.

Has ‘California cuisine’ influenced you?
I was exposed to a lot of different, exotic cultures and cuisines at a young age—ironically none from my own family. I took bits and pieces from friends’ homes and what they were cooking, and now as an adult they finally make sense when I mix them together in the kitchen.

What’s your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Spices. I love the flavor of ethnic foods but right now I’m obsessed with Korean. It’s warm, spicy, filling—very much like comfort food. I’m working with an assistant who goes to the Korean market with me, translates the staples, shares how they can be mixed—this opened a door to experimenting with Korean cuisine.

Got any food styling secrets you can share?
Instead of following a recipe, I’ll start by ‘deconstructing’ it—meaning I’ll cook ingredients so each looks its best. As for plating, I like them to look approachable…a little messy…perfectly imperfect.

Also, tools are my thing. I’m the tool kid. I’d be lost without a blow torch…a mandolin…but the most important tools are a sense of confidence and your hands. It’s so true that experience enhances your senses. The first food stylist I apprenticed under—all he needed was his fingers and spit.

Where do you find inspiration?
My partner Matt and I, we travel a lot and always bring something back that’s food related. Our first stop is usually a grocery store for local ingredients—like chick pea flour from Nice, France. Matt was recently in Singapore and brought back a suitcase and a half—our pantry is filled with international foodstuffs.

We like to shop for one-off serving dishes, special baking dishes made for indigenous recipes…in Spain we found local pottery shops with hand-made, lovely cazuelas which are very useful in preparing Spanish recipes.

And wherever we are, we’re dissecting and cataloging what was prepared for us. In Buenos Aires we had compound butters with fresh bread that was to die for! Like English muffins with pistachio butter—so easy to do at home.

What do you do for fun?
Matt publishes mattbites.com, and we often work on it together, so recipes, food styling and photography are a huge part of both our lives. There’s no way around bringing our work home with us—especially since his studio is part of the house.

Often one of us is on a shoot out of town, so when we’re both home we make lots of trips to farmer’s markets. It’s almost a cliche but we get what’s local and seasonal—we’re spoiled being in southern California where we get fresh vegetables all year. We go without a menu in mind, check out what looks good, and make things up as we go along.

Great looking plates, platters, and serving utensils add another layer. Dinner in our house is usually a small production and we love rotating pieces from our prop studio with our everyday slip porcelain from Australia. And we get just about every food magazine out there so—there may be a fine line between passion and addiction, but there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of free time for anything but food.

Wednesday
Feb022011

one of a finds: sake set

The heaven and earth sake set is the vision of an emerging Chinese design collective, Spin.

In their studio just outside Shanghai, seven young designers honor the 13th Century Yuan Dynasty porcelain-making traditions of the town of Jingdezhen in stunning pieces that speak to modern times.

At the same time, they are reviving the ancient qualities of Jingdezhen porcelain: white as jade, thin as paper, clear as glass, sweet-sounding as a chime. Using only the finest Kaolin clay, natural drying techniques and authentic Jingdezhen glazes.

Toast the Chinese New Year 4708—the year of the rabbit, or hare, starts tomorrow.

Friday
Dec032010

sidebar

Nearby CB2 Berkeley, Sidebar was founded by three friends who share their culinary passions and talents by serving Mediterranean bistro fare and comfort foods with new twists.

Find them at 542 Grand Avenue in Oakland and order the ‘pisco sour’—voted the best of the east bay in 2009.

Thanks to florence, berkeley store manager, for the tip and to anne-marie at sidebar for the great photos.

Tuesday
Oct052010

morgans

In our neighborhood, Morgans is the creation of Barclay Graebner—who opened her first place in SoBe, Blu Dog Bakery, at the age of 19.

She’s also formed a food cooperative for vegans and vegetarians and at the same time discovered a 1930’s breezy duplex in the Wynwood district which became home to Morgans, specializing in modern, home-style comfort food. mmm mm!

Thanks to tameeka, store manager south beach miami, for this submission.

Monday
Jul262010

jam cafe

In our neighborhood, Jam Cafe is an amazing oasis with both indoor and outdoor seating. A great BYO that keeps menu items affordable by accepting cash only.

Go for the delicious modern spins on classic sandwiches and dinners—don’t miss the CB2 placemats, plates… Enjoy!