Cheese Maker Nights in LA

22 January 2007

I know this post is somewhat overdue, but I wanted to share the experience I had a couple of months ago in Los Angeles – working for a hip Italian cafe/deli called Cube.

Let me explain their background a bit first. The Italian owner, Alex, started Divine Pasta Co as part of his college project 15 years ago. It went so well that he expanded it and started making pasta full time. In the beginning, it was just a small factory – then the people in the neighbourhood could see fresh eggs and semolina being delivered and started knocking on the back door asking if they could buy pasta for their homes. So Alex put in a little register and started selling bulk pasta out of the back of the factory.

Cube is a fairly new venue, which builds on the success of the Divine Pasta Co brand – a cafe/marketplace/cheesebar focusing on small farm, artisan crafted products primarily from Italy and California. Rachael, the gourmet buyer of Cube, contacted me to let me know that they were planning an exciting event, a ‘maker night’, inviting some of the best artisan cheese makers in the States. She wanted me to take part in this event, by way of taking pictures both of the event itself and preparation for it.

The event was on for two nights (plus a ‘makers welcome night’ beforehand) – they created a special menu for it, focusing on cheeses from these makers, who came along to talk about what they do:

MouCo Cheese Company, Colorado
Cedar Grove Cheese, Wisconsin
Westfield Farm, Massachusetts
Sprout Creek Farm, New York

The menu also included wonderful charcuterie from Fatted Calf – who unfortunately couldn’t attend.

Cheese makers comparing notes

I was lucky to taste all the dishes and loved them all :) I’m actually not a huge cheese fan but was totally inspired, not only by the dishes themselves but also by hearing about the care and attention the makers put into their products.

Head chef Erin in the kitchen

As well as raising the profile of artisan producers, the event was also a fundraiser for the Slow Food in Schools project – a representative of the project was there to explain more about their work promoting healthy food in schools. Over $4,000 was raised! Cube is planning some more exciting events in the future, so be sure to stop by their site.

Rachael told me that she loves the idea of making the world smaller, and talking to people who love food as much as she does really makes it feel so. I’m so happy that I was part of the project and could share in their passion for good produce.

The week I spent with them was great fun (including this outing to the farmers market). Rachael gave me loads of recommendations for things to do in LA – not just foodie places :) – but I simply didn’t have enough time to explore the city… I’m hoping to go back there some time soon so I must make a really good plan for next time :)

As a matter of fact, they’re exhibiting at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco at the moment (Sam‘s been there) – the show is open until tomorrow (23rd) so if you have a chance to visit, don’t miss their stand!

Lastly, I wanted to thank all of you who nominated/voted for me for the food blog awards. I don’t seem to be very good at being in a competition (find it a bit too stressful) – but it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate your support and all your kind feedback, so thank you and I’ll try to keep the posts coming :)

Misc        44 comments    Permalink

  • Thank you for this post! I’m a cheese lover and a Slow Food fan. Your photos and text will do a great deal to further artisan foods.

    Posted by tut-tut | 23 January 2007 #
  • Whew! Fantastic and well a much anticipated post!

    Thanks Keiko!

    Posted by Jeremy | 23 January 2007 #
  • It was SO wonderful having you in our little corner of the world, and it’s fantastic to see the results!

    Posted by matt | 23 January 2007 #
  • What a wonderful experience!

    Posted by Kat | 23 January 2007 #
  • Hello. Great blog! I love all the photos!
    Sounds (and looks) like you had a wonderful time in California. I live in the Midwest U.S. It seems all the fun events take place in California!!

    Posted by reiko | 23 January 2007 #
  • Hi Keiko,
    this sounds like a lovely project and your pictures are beautiful and make me want to jump into a plane for LA (which is something I’ll actualy do on the 8th of feb).


    Posted by fanny | 23 January 2007 #
  • California misses you and wants you back whenever England will release you from her enchanting clutches!

    It’s lovely to see your way with human as well as food portraiture.

    Posted by shuna fish lydon | 23 January 2007 #
  • hi keiko!

    i love cube. mmm. i didnt know they had an online store too i see on their website. this means troube..

    Posted by aria | 23 January 2007 #
  • Thanks for the revelatory trip! As always, your photos tell a story worth knowing.

    Posted by Judith in Umbria | 23 January 2007 #
  • hi keiko, the pictures are even more fabulous than i imagined they would be (but of course ;))it’s not just how lovely each picture is per se, but how they come together to tell a fascinating story…just gorgeous!

    Posted by Joycelyn | 23 January 2007 #
  • I’m a huge cheese fan… and this place really seems amazing… but far away from me…

    Posted by loukoum°°° | 23 January 2007 #
  • What an amazing opportunity—and such fantastic photos! Next time I’m in LA, I know where I’m going!

    Posted by Homesick Texan | 23 January 2007 #
  • Hi Keiko! What a wonderful experience for you! It sounds like you not only learned alot from your time at Cube, but you managed to capture the atmosphere and camraderie with your beautiful photos as well! Thank you for sharing!

    Posted by gilly | 23 January 2007 #
  • Thanks for sharing this with us, I love your photography. I think the pic I might like best is the “cheese makers comparing notes”, it’s great!

    Posted by brilynn | 23 January 2007 #
  • I love your photos, they are beautiful! You are my idol Keiko!!I especially love the colours in your photos, how do you manage to create colours like that? Do you use filters or just play with the photos at photoshop?

    I wish I was as talented as you :)

    Posted by Zeynep Seda | 23 January 2007 #
  • Wow, Keiko, how exciting! Your pictures from the event are gorgeous – what a wonderful project!

    Posted by melissa | 23 January 2007 #
  • Great mouthwatering pics! I especially love the one with the selection of cheeses, looks like sushi! it good to know that the Americans are not just about fast cars and big bucks. They like to slow it down too.

    Posted by Flux | 23 January 2007 #
  • Keiko, gorgeous work as always! L.A. would like to see you return and visit us again!

    Posted by Kevin | 23 January 2007 #
  • i love love your coverage of this event. the photos are so well captured and gorgeous!

    Posted by rick | 24 January 2007 #
  • I wish I were there. I love cheese!

    Posted by Francesco | 24 January 2007 #
  • what a gorgeous post, as always, and i particularly love the people shots, especially the last one. thank you for bringing such joy to share with us!

    Posted by Lil | 24 January 2007 #
  • Great post with outstanding photos. I am so envious.

    Posted by Eric | 25 January 2007 #
  • Love your blog. I would like to make the sugar-glazed nuts. Can you explain how to do them. Thanks

    Posted by Hélène | 25 January 2007 #
  • Brilliant Keiko. You have really nailed the depth of field side of photography. I wish I could.

    Posted by Barbara | 25 January 2007 #
  • Hi Keiko,
    Thanks for the wonderful post. It is always a pleasure visiting your blog, reading your stories and just staring at your beautiful photos. You always inspire me to learn more about photography. Not a huge cheese fan here as well, but can’t stop drooling over these…

    Posted by Cenk | 25 January 2007 #
  • I got all teared up reading your wonderful write up! I can’t tell you how much we loved having you here, how sad we were to give you back to England and how we can’t wait to get you back here again! You’re such a lovely and beautiful person—it shows it your amazing photos. xxoo rach

    Posted by rachael | 25 January 2007 #
  • What a wonderful job- you truly captured the beauty of Cube’s Maker Nights. Gorgeous all around. Come back soon!

    Posted by Jessie | 25 January 2007 #
  • Mmmm cheese. The event sounds like a hit and the pictures are gorgeous. Also glad to hear there was a Midwestern representative from the Cheese Heads themselves. I don’t know if I’ll be in LA in the near future, but Cube definitely sounds like a “must visit.”

    Posted by Max | 25 January 2007 #
  • You amaze me! You have a nautural talent of beauty! Your photos are stunning! Bravo, and thank you for sharing with us your gift of wonder!

    Posted by tongue in cheek | 26 January 2007 #
  • Just feel like going there right now ! Georgeous photos

    Posted by bonheursdesophie | 27 January 2007 #
  • I like cheese a lot. Photos and color combinations are great too!!

    Posted by Deniz | 28 January 2007 #
  • These photos really showcase the depth of your talent. They look beautiful and really capture the action and spirit of the event. I can’t wait to try this place next time I’m in LA. It looks great!

    Posted by Kelli | 29 January 2007 #
  • wish i were in l.a. right now…;-) great shots…makes me want to eat all…always! :-D are you doing cube’s website too then? Bravo!

    Posted by Maya | 31 January 2007 #
  • Are you still shooting with a Minolta A2, or did you move up by now? And are all of your shots natural light?

    Posted by Marti | 31 January 2007 #
  • and what kind of lens do you use?

    Posted by Marti | 31 January 2007 #
  • Wow, this looks like a little slice of heaven. You are a beautiful photographer.

    Posted by Caroline | 2 February 2007 #
  • Your blog is fantastic, and I’m so impressed by your photos! What kind of camera do you use, and what kind of lens (say in the photos in your last post)?

    Posted by Cecilie | 4 February 2007 #
  • Absolutely stunning pictures Keiko!
    Like being there
    Thank you

    Posted by Paris Breakfasts | 4 February 2007 #
  • I normally just read your blog, and not post comments, but I was just so touched by the pictures you posted this time, especially. So just wanted to let you know that I love the way you take pictures, and capture the moment… It’s just amazing! Hope to see more in the future :)

    Posted by Mitsuko | 5 February 2007 #
  • And it all looks absolutely delicious…You are making me hungry!

    Posted by Scott at Real Epicurean | 6 February 2007 #
  • Hi Nordjlus,
    i just noticed that you will complete 2 yrs on feb13th…Congrats…2 yrs of wonderful photographs and articles.Looking forward to see your birthday post :-))

    Posted by Kate | 8 February 2007 #
  • こんばんわ。
    Good evening.
    This is wonderful Brog.
    I was made to learn my study shortage.

    Posted by y_and_r_d | 8 February 2007 #
  • Hi there, thank you so much for all your kind notes.

    Aria – they’re launching more new stuff (and you’ll be in even more trouble…)

    Loukoum – they have such a great collection, hope you can visit there one day!

    Zeynep Seda – I don’t have any filters and adjust contrast/colours on PS if necessary.

    Flux – I didn’t think about it, but they do look like sushi… :)

    Max – it was really interesting to talk to the cheese makers :)

    Marti, Cecilie – I moved to Canon 350D (Rebel XT in the States) about one and a half years ago :) and normally use a 50mm and 90mm for food shots. And yes, I took all of them using natural light.

    Posted by keiko | 12 February 2007 #
  • Hi there

    I just found your blog through stumbleupon and am loving the design, nice and clean and simple. The recipes are looking nice as well and can certainly see myself making some of them in the future. I am actually looking for people with excellent food photos who want to share them with the world and interact with other foodies. I started by blogging myself about a year ago and was frustrated that not enough people were seeing the quality content I had and saw huge potential for people to share their food photos and videos with a bigger audience and ultimately drive more traffic back to their own site. Check me out at and let me know what you think and keep up the good work on the blog!

    Posted by Niall Harbison | 17 April 2008 #

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