Taking Chances

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Being a Type A planner, I tend to map out what I want to do and how I want to get there, taking fairly predictable steps along the way to my goal. When I decided to leave my K-12 teaching career and transition to instructional design and information technology, I set a plan for myself and followed the plan.

Food blogging and food photography have been the total opposite for me. I started this site on a lark three and a half years ago and had no idea what I was doing when I picked up our little point and shoot camera and snapped my first food photo. I didn’t sit down with a photography book in an attempt to cram all the knowledge I could into my brain, I just experimented with mixed success. It was a hobby, after all, just something fun I did for a creative outlet without any professional aspirations. Never in my wildest dreams did I think someday I would have food photos published in a cookbook, so I now find myself at a loss for words to express my delight that some of my food photos were chosen to grace the pages of the newly released The Gilded Fork Entertaining At Home: A Year of Dinner Parties by Jennifer Iannolo and Chef Mark Tafoya.

When Chef Mark tweeted about looking for recipe testers for the book, I threw my name in the hat. Over the course of a month I tested four recipes and sent in my feedback as well as photos of the food, all the while thinking how much fun I had doing the testing (and tasting) and wondering if any of my photos were good enough for the book. You can imagine my surprise when Jennifer and Mark said they wanted to use three of my photos! When I received the published book in the mail yesterday and saw the kind notes Jennifer and Mark had written inside the cover and my three photos in the book as well as one on the back cover, I got a little lump in my throat.

None of this was planned, I just jumped in for the fun of working on a cookbook, and for taking a chance I got a lot of personal satisfaction and a little recognition. The project boosted my confidence and motivated me to continue improving my photography and writing. To Chef Mark and Jennifer, hugs and thanks for opening this project up to bloggers and for giving this amateur a chance.

[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]


  1. says

    What a wonderful story! I am of the belief that the things that are special in life come to us, without a lot of struggle and hardship, as long as we’re open to receiving them. It sounds like that’s just what happened to you. Well done and congratulations!


  2. says

    Andrea I am not at all surprised – your photos delight the eye the same way(s) your recipes tantalize the taste buds. Congratulations to all of you for the gorgeous new book.

  3. Cari says

    Hey Andrea,
    Isn’t it funny how you follow your passions and everything starts to fall into the place? I, too, used to be an elementary school teacher and threw in the towel to start http://www.dinnervibe.com. So far, it’s proving to be the right move. We’d love to use a few recipes and photos for our site. You have permission on your site as long as there is a link back and credit to you, which there would be. But I’d love to talk to you about it more. If you can, please drop me a line at cari@dinnervibe.com

  4. says

    How cool is that??? I love hearing stories like this where we enter into things totally unselfishly but end up reaping great rewards!

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