Monday, September 29, 2014

The Unexpected Weber Shoot

I can’t begin to describe how amazing this year has been.  It has been seriously off the hook.
 
Professionally, I have never been busier.  Add in the grilling and there is a reason we “cut the cord” at home.
 
After we wrapped up the last Weber shoot in June, I thought things might slow down a bit.  Wrong.  No sooner than I returned to my usual-unusual routine I received a phone call.  We were doing more.  Two weeks more.  
 
Thankfully, my vacation re-upped.  There’s a reason I call it “workcation.”
 
Weber Shoot
 
During our first week in June, the entire team reached an incredible rhythm, so it was exciting to know we were all back together again with Paul Elledge behind the lens.
 
Paul in
 
Well, almost everyone.  While Jennie couldn’t get away from the test kitchen, Kelsey, who works at the Grill Academy, picked up her tongs.  Kelsey was a blast to work with and has, dare I say, some awesome grill chops.
 
Kelsey Manning Grill Camp Weber
 
For the first week, we found ourselves again shuttling around the western Chicago suburbs.  
 
Weber Shoot
 
Backyards, side yards, front yards, we covered it all.
 
Weber Shoot
 
Why the sign?  Partly to help talent, mostly to let people know we aren’t running a garage sale.  I’m not kidding.
 
Weber Shoot
 
One of the more difficult aspects of “guerrilla grilling,” is the lack of dependable running water.  It’s not “do we have water?”  It’s “does the hose reach?”  As is such, we picked up a portable washing station.  While wearing latex gloves while handling raw meat is a necessity, having “running” water makes clean-up and hand washing ten times easier.
 
Organization
 
Weber Shoot
 
The first week was perfect, until the last shot.  We had been smoking turkeys for a family holiday feast.  The table was set, the talent, which was a real family of eight, was seated, and then it hit.  
 
Weber Shoot
 
The microburst.  
 
Storm Damage
 
We knew weather was coming and had been hustling to finish up.  However, the weather just wasn’t any weather, it was an all out storm.
 
I was in the front yard.  The set was in the back.  The rain hit, at first falling straight down.  Then the wind hit. The rain then started blowing sideways.  We grabbed on to the pop-ups and tried to get them down.  It was a raging battle.  I was so wet, the speaker on my iPhone was down for 24 hours.
 
In the backyard, it was an all-out dash to cover Paul’s equipment and for the crew to drop all of the metal poles they holding straight up in the air.  At least that’s what I told was happening.  I was stuck in the back of a box truck for awhile.
 
While the weather forced an early wrap, we had no idea at the extensive damage until we left.  Trees were down and the power was out everywhere. It was so bad, I ended up having to fly out the next morning versus late that night.  What a way to end the week.
 
With week one down, I was home to re-group and then back again a week later to finish up.  Upon our return, for a change of pace, we filmed off of Lake Michigan for two days.
 
Sunrise
 
The North Shore
 
The early call times made for some great sunrise watching while we set up our “grill station.”
 
Bacon on the Beach
 
The beach made a wonderful backdrop.
 
Shooting on the Beach
 
Speaking of the grills, our menus again spanned the spectrum.  
 
Q under the silk
 
Getting the Shot
 
Ribs, steaks, paninis, shrimp skewers, fruit skewers, sea bass, lobsters, meatloaf, turkey, chicken, pork loins, and burgers.  
 
Ribs
 
Grilled Ham
 
Paninis
 
Weber Shoot
 
Grilled Burgers
 
Skewers
 
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf
 
Planks & Scallops
 
That was just two days!
 
Parking Lot Camp
 
We continued the theme we started back in March.  Real grilled food for real people.  Whatever the “food on grate” shot was, we grilled more for the talent.  Like countless scenes before, we watched as friends, family, or couples ate their way through the meals.  Paul would quiz us for tips, he is becoming quite the griller himself, and everyone would reach for the “extras” once the last shot was approved.
 
Kelsey on the WSM
 
Once the work is out “in the wild,” I will be sure to point everyone to the final product.  When we wrapped up in June, the entire crew was bummed the week was over.  When we wrapped after week three, everyone was seriously bummed as we really knew we were done for 2014.  As my Joanne said, “These kind of shoots don’t happen very often.”  There’s an energy, a palpable sense of passion, and no one ever went hungry.
 
Rib Selfie
 
It wouldn’t be a photo shoot post without a short video.  Here’s a quick set walk through. 
 
 
Note: While I wrote this post for myself, my work for Weber is compensated.  It by no means influences my passion or dedication in what I do.  I’m lucky to work with so many awesomely talented professionals.  I’ll let you guess if I had fun or not.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Relatively Wordless Wednesday

While grilling dinner is great…especially when it’s steak,

Grilled Porterhouse

grilling appetizers is sometimes better.  

Planked Caprese

I’ve been on a real appetizer kick lately and this planked eggplant caprese has been on my “repeat” list.

Planked Caprese

Of course no matter what’s on the menu for dinner, as long as it is grilled in the backyard, it’s going to be good.

Firing up

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Samuel Adams: Kosmic Muther Funk

I had my first Kosmic Muther Funk (KMF) experience two years ago.  Here’s what I wrote:

When Todd first described KMF, it took me twice to register what he was actually saying and then a few tastes to appreciate what it was.  KMF is a special ale aged in oak tuns.  It truly is kosmic and funky.  I can only guess about its Mother.

20140829-IMG_4521

At the time, we were standing inside the Barrel Room at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston.  

My Favorite Room

It is there, three large Hungarian oak tuns, each assembled by hand, hold what the brewers at Samuel Adams call Kosmic Muther Funk, a Belgian ale fermented with wild yeast and bacteria.  

Tun #2

For the last two years, KMF has been the backbone of the Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection.  Each recipe holds varying amounts of KMF - sometimes obvious, sometimes not, but always good.  KMF is an incredibly distinctive and complex beer.  It is probably the first beer which really turned me on to sours.  Now I can’t seem to get enough.

 While previously only available at the brewery, Samuel Adams is releasing KMF, pardon my pun, to the wild.  Through the end of the year, KMF is going on the road to 11 different cities across the US, with a 12th “People’s Choice” city to be determined.

While I was lucky enough to have my own bottle of KMF to taste, I’m already trying to figure out when I might be able to experience it again.  If the KMF tour isn’t close to you, try the next best thing, one of the Samuel Adams Beers from the Barrel Room Collection.

Samuel Adams: KMF

Note: My friends at Samuel Adams were kind enough to provide me a bottle of KMF.  It tasted just as good as I remember it.