A blubbery porterhouse steak drops assimilate the grill. It sizzles as bonfire and smoke artfully flit in and out of view. The administrator instructs the aliment stylist on breadth to position the tongs, and the camera abettor frames up the attempt to abduction the abutting footfall in the recipe–the turn. From temperature to hue to barbecue marks, every detail matters. The aggregation waits in apprehension for the appropriate moment, and then, “Action!” Like clockwork, they assassinate the affected choreography while accumulation artistic expressions. The camera awning shows tongs acrimonious up the steak and as it turns, an accomplished blight and absolute barbecue marks are revealed.
Working bound with light, angles, ingredients, and props, the aggregation continues to almanac anniversary actual footfall of the recipe. Back all is complete, their efforts will aftereffect in a how-to video for Aliment & Wine magazine’s online analysis that is informative, entertaining, and actually taste-tempting.
All of this and so abundant added happens appropriate actuality in Birmingham at the Aliment Studios.
“We accept the annual of creating agreeable for some of the country’s finest brands, including Southern Living, Absolute Simple, Aliment & Wine, People, MyRecipes.com, and more,” says Allison Lowery. As administrator of the Aliment Studios, Lowery oversees the strategy, budget, and aggregation of analysis kitchen chefs, photographers, and stylists who actualize added than 7,000 recipes and photographs annually.
“In 2015, Time Inc. fabricated the accommodation to move all of its aliment agreeable conception to the Birmingham office, breadth [our] brands accept been creating arch aliment agreeable with abundant success for the aftermost 20-plus years,” Lowery says. The multimillion-dollar advance meant added space, added staff, and an befalling to ability the ultimate assembly breadth for comestible artistry.
Led by a accomplice of editors and managers aural the company, including Aliment & Wine Editor in Chief Hunter Lewis, the architecture of the amplitude benefited from decades of accumulated experience. A aggregation of added than 45 analysis kitchen chefs, photographers, video producers and directors, and aliment and prop stylists contributed insights as well. And the ambition annual was specific. Says Lowery, “Our analysis kitchens charge to be as agnate to the home cook’s as possible. Our ambition is to analysis and absolute recipes that home cooks can adapt at home with success. Recreating a home kitchen is important to bear on the affiance our brands authority with their audience.
“We additionally charge kitchens as abutting to our photo and video sets as possible. Aliment can be capricious and actual abbreviate lived back it gets beneath the lights of a set. We accept our kitchens accomplish abroad from their final destination on a set, which prevents aliment from dying afore we get the absolute shot.”
The 40,000-square-foot Aliment Studios opened in January 2016 with 28 analysis kitchens, 13 assembly bays, two advertise kitchens, and a four-kitchen, advanced video studio. Fully activity for both photography and video, the capital advertise kitchen appearance an all-embracing marble island and white alms tile. It additionally provides a landing amplitude for visiting chefs and affable demonstrations, and houses a tasting table breadth all recipes in development are tasted and evaluated.
“The best architecture affection of the amplitude is its versatility,” Lowery says. “The architecture is cool simple. We charge to use the amplitude for a arrangement of brands with actual altered artful personalities. We charge to be able to prop a kitchen for a Southern Living Christmas shoot and cull it off for a summer bloom adventure for Absolute Simple.” With able curtains and adaptable doors and partitions, the amplitude can be configured for an arrangement of occasions, including ample contest with non-profit ally such as Children’s Hospital of Alabama and Jones Valley Teaching Farm.
Complementing the Aliment Studios, the ancestor company, Meredith Corporation, additionally has an centralized prop allowance that houses added than 100,000 items including things like flatware, plates, cookware, fabrics, and surfaces appropriate to cull off acknowledged shoots for the assorted mix of brands. “When we confused in, it was aloof a huge abandoned room, but the aggregation of prop stylists and our prop coordinator, Audrey Davis, accept developed a arrangement of alignment that puts the amplitude to its best use,” Lowery says. “Custom shelving, axis old blueprint cabinets into flatware organizers, and book cabinets angry color-coordinated bolt holders are aloof a few of the avant-garde means they accomplish that amplitude work.”
All of these designs, supplies, and innovations amalgamate to accomplish one absurd workspace. In the aboriginal bisected of 2018, the artistic professionals at the Aliment Studios activated 3,500 recipes and attempt 3,100 photos. Added than 130 recipes adroitness the tasting table anniversary week, and during that aforementioned time, about 120 recipes are able for video and photography. Lowery addendum that the aggregation is on clue to develop, test, and photograph 7,000 recipes this year.
“The abracadabra happens back this amazingly accomplished accumulation can do their thing,” Lowery says. “There is absolute ability in admirable aliment photography, and there’s a blessed aggregate of science and art in compound development, testing, and editing. Our administration aggregation tries to actualize schedules and workflows that acquiesce them to focus on their assignment and beneath about how can we get all this done. Aggregate comes calm back we accept alternate annual for the assignment we’re all doing.”
And accepting a admirable amplitude to assignment in inspires the adroitness all-important to aftermath abiding content.
“Really the coolest allotment of our jobs is the assortment of aliment agreeable we get to create,” Lowery says. “We go from aesthetic recipes gracing the awning of Aliment & Wine’s Best New Chefs affair to trending Mayonnaise Ice Cream in the amount of a day. We’ve done aggregate from Pickle Milkshakes and Unicorn Cake to a Pop Tart Gingerbread house. But we never lose afterimage of our ambition to actualize recipes that assignment for home cooks. Simple, healthy, adorable weeknight commons never go off trend.”
DetailsSee added from the aliment studios through its Instagram annual @timeincfoodstudios.
–By Andrea Fanning | Photos by Tamika Moore
This adventure appears in Birmingham magazine’s October 2018 issue. Subscribe today!
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