Behind the Scenes at Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine

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By Elizabeth Taliaferro

We have an amazing staff here at Cooking with Paula Deen. And their talents are clear to see in the pages of the magazine, especially the pictures. (By the way, it’s easy to get a free trial issue. Visit cookingwithpauladeen.com.)

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When it comes to photography, our work begins in a meeting of creative minds that includes art directors, editors, stylists (for both food and props), and photographers. The team discusses the message and visual concept we are after. The magazine page above is a good example. It’s the Hey Y’all page for our May/June issue where Paula shares with readers what’s in store in the issue. (It’s on newsstands now.) This particular issue is full of recipes that make the most of early-summer produce. Visually, we knew we wanted to photograph Paula where she was most comfortable and in a place she loves to be—the kitchen.

The logical location for this shoot was in her home. Art directors shared example images. Color palettes, clothing, and props were discussed until the vision was clear. At this point, editors prepared a list of desired shots, stylists began the search for ideal props, and art directors prepared templates. When the day arrived, we focused on executing the plan—and hoped that all the uncontrollable factors would be in our favor. And in this case, they were. Above is a pic of our team in action.

By the way, have you ever wondered whether the food in our pictures is real? You bet it is! Of course, our stylists are skilled, talented, and know the tricks of the trade to present food at its best. But I can assure you, every morsel is real and real good!

Heather Martin Jeffcoat recalls an early love of being in the kitchen. It developed from the days of being beside her Grandmother Louise as she cooked for everyone who visited her small-town Alabama home as well as time spent baking with her mother, a Michigan native transplanted to the South after marriage. To this day her mother combines the best of Northern and Southern fare. Heather now spends every spare moment in the kitchen. It’s a way for her to relax and enjoy time with her husband, son, and daughter, who often participate in cooking meals at their home. A love of writing steered Heather into journalism school and then into publishing. After several years working in print and online media, she began freelancing for Cooking With Paula Deen magazine, and she was recently tapped to join the staff full time as the managing editor. She has come to realize that her childhood memories cooking in her grandmother’s and mother’s kitchens, full of love and hospitality, have given her the best education she could have asked for.
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Reader Comments:

54321

Paula My heart breaks for you since all the bad media reporting about you. Why have they not said anything about the brother that you love who is the reason for all this BAD publicity on you? I know you love Bubba with all your heart but My gosh has he apologized Over AND OVER TO YOU FOR BRINGING YOUR EMPIRE DOWN? I hope he is getting help with his temper mouth and drinking & drug problem. I will be down in the fall to eat at both your restaurants Love you Paula Janice Dauksch

By Janice Dauksch on July 26, 2013

54321

OH BOY!! Dear Paula, I think you are a beautiful lady and you have 2 handsome sons, and love your recipes, but why is it that every time you or your boys use a spoon to taste something you put it back in the pan or pot??????? This is my only concern, because a good cook will NEVER!!!!! DO SUCH THING and I think to myself, do the cooks do that at your restaurant??? I do not believe that is healthy and I don't feel it looks appetizing on T.V. I am so sorry to bring this up, but even my friends have mention this to me.. perhaps you can stop the double spooning? maybe? I know every single chef who teaches cooking, this is the first thing they tell their students... Soooo sorry for my observation, honest to God I don't mean any harm to you... Love your show otherwise....

By bellamonalisa on June 13, 2012

54321

paula, we grew up in albany just down the street from each other on whitney. i am your age so please stop smoking. i have smoked for 49 yrs and was diagnosed with a cancer on my right kidney in january of this year. i quit smoking the day before my surgery. it has been hard but i hope i have added a few years to my life. if i can do it, i KNOW you can!!!

By kaye taylot on June 08, 2012

54321

Hi Paula, I love your show, but I just heard something disturbing about you and I cant get it off my mind. If you are a 2 pack a day smoker, than I think you should be real with your show and you should be cooking with a cigarette hanging out your mouth. That is the only way I vison you now. So Sad, but I love you, but I hate cigarettes. Please STOP Smoking DJ

By DJ on June 04, 2012

54321

I just finished reading your book "It aint't all about the cooking" and really enjoyed it. Reading your book made me like you all the more, you are a dear, sweet lady so down to earth. Your recipes are awesome, your family amazing. "You've come a long way baby", keep up the good work. Keep enjoying life and keep the love comin through your recipes. My son's girlfriend is from Alabama, a sweet, beautiful, young Southern lady, blessed with southern charm and southern manners. I was born in Virginia but have lived all my life in Illinois. TJM

By Terry Jean on May 31, 2012

54321

Dear Sweet Lady, You are my all time favorite Chef. I've tried a lot of your recipes and loved everyone. I really admire the relationship between you and Michael. Not many real and true love stories out there today, good to know that it's still that way between some folks. I want to personally congradulate you on all you have accomplished thru your life. I admire you. Sure hope you have a great day.... Thank you for reading.....Sincerely...Yvonne Taylor

By Yvonne on May 22, 2012

54321

I just love your recipes you are from the deep South Atlanta, Ga. I recently saw you on episode of" Who do you Think You Are" I loved, I'd love to trace my ancestors on my Daddy's side " Bell" We're fromTennesee, and I have always wanted to trace my heritage but due to finances I have had the money to do. I'd just wanted to write you and tell you that I think you are amazing and wonderful and maybe one of these days we can meet, You never know and as you would see y'all Love and Blessings, Liza j. bell from Radford, Va,Thank you and take care and keep on cooking !

By liza Bell on May 22, 2012

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 9:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 3:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm