Get ready to be the hostess with the mostest. At this time next year, the Junior League of Omaha’s fourth cookbook, A Century of Serving, will hit shelves, giving you a guide to hosting a memorable meal for any occasion.
In June, the Cookbook Committee Co-Chair, Jessica Holdenried, and Cookbook Photography Coordinator Kendra DelaCadena, put the food in focus with a photography shoot at Metropolitan Community College.
Over two days, renowned photographer Joshua Foo, who has worked with icons like Iron Chef Bobby Flay, and his assistant Alex Aparo, captured 24 of the more than 250 recipes in the book. Foo also styled the shoot with Holdenried and DelaCadena, preparing and cooking all the food.
“The two days of the shoot actually started with many weeks — or months for Jess and other members of the committee — of planning and figuring out the details, as well as grocery shopping and food prepping the weekend before,” DelaCadena said. Holdenried and DelaCadena showed up at 8 a.m. both days of the shoot, leaving after 10 p.m.
“On the day of the shoots, Kendra and I split the recipes in half,” Holdenried said. “While she prepped one, I was photographing another with Josh and vice versa. We really tried to keep the amount of people in the room small so we could move quickly and keep all the photos done in such a short window of time.”
Normally, Foo would shoot 10-15 recipes over two days.
“A good photographer is worth every penny, but you must trust their vision,” Jessica said. “Josh really has an eye for food photography. When you really let him do his thing, you see how inspired he gets by the food itself. I think two days went so well because Kendra, Josh and I really were working against the same vision.”
Holdenried’s favorites from the shoot were the blood orange Moscow mules and Mediterranean panzanella salad. “The Moscow mule pictures are some of my favorites, but the panzanella salad tastes amazing. I think I ate half of it myself once photography was done,” she said.
DelaCadena described the bourbon-infused beef tenderloin as “to die for” but said “All the recipes are downright delectable.” She also enjoyed photographing the roasted lemon thyme chicken, which to make camera ready, required her to learn how to use a blowtorch.
“Not being a photographer or very creative on my own, I was so surprised by how much difference a small change could be,” DelaCadena said. “Whether that was adding a hint of a colorful napkin in the background, adding back lighting, or just simply trying a new camera angle, small changes made all the difference. It was fun watching Josh and his assistant Alex work. They really do have a great eye and imagination to envision how to best set up a photo. We relied on them heavily, and they are rockstars.”