Erin Brown balances a tray of fresh-from-the-oven cobblers, dark purple blackberry juice bubbling up through breaks in the golden crusts.
By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
As she carries the sweet cargo from her hatchback into Alistair Tutton Photography on Southwest Boulevard, Baxter the black lab barks at her, first in alarm and then in greeting.
Brown, owner of Dolce Baking Co., 6974 Mission Rd. in Prairie Village, is spending most of a day styling luscious food photos to promote “Cobbler Night,” a once-a-month event celebrating the juicy fruits of summer.
“Our Cobbler Nights are starting to be something we want to play up a little more,” Brown says.
Her next one: Thursday, June 27. Between 6 and 8 p.m., customers can purchase scoops of peach, tart cherry or blackberry cobbler are $4 and scoops of Christopher Elbow’s Glace ice cream for $1.50.
For the photo shoot, Tutton has two sets ready: one a contemporary modern white with bright lights and the other a rustic scene with natural light from a nearby window. They’ll shoot ingredients and table scenes starring cobbler for both.
After Brown lays out the ingredients and Crate & Barrel props she has gathered, Tutton invites her to peruse stacks of dishes in the studio prop closet. They are drawn to a wooden spoon that looks like it has been used and abused for many years.
“I don’t buy much in the way of contemporary props,” says Tutton. “I want texture, age and patina. That’s the stuff you can’t replicate. That little ding makes somebody not want it. I say, ‘Oh, I want that.’”
Throughout the day, Brown and Tutton work on creating a look and a feel that expresses the natural, homemade imperfection of Dolce’s baked goods. It’s about mood, lighting and finding just the right angle to make a dish look as good as it tastes.
Jill Wendholt Silva is The Star’s James Beard Award-winning food editor and restaurant critic. She has won more than 25 national writing awards and been included in the “Best Food Writing” anthologies of 2008 and 2011. She is the author of The Star’s “Eating for Life” cookbook and a past president of the Association of Food Journalists. She also makes a mean flan.