Friday, July 10, 2009

My Delicious Day With Julie & Julia

OK, I'm gonna come right out and say it. I like the taste of celebrity. Hobnobbing with Julie & Julia author, Julie Powell, and Executive Chef Brian Malarkey, of Top Chef fame, yesterday in Hollywood was amazing.

chatting with Julie & Julia author, Julie Powell
Julie & Julia author, Julie Powell.

I was invited to an exclusive event hosted by Columbia Pictures for the upcoming film Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. (Yes, the same two talented actresses from the 2008 film Doubt.)

After meeting at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, we were escorted to the Hollywood Arc Light Cinemas for a private screening of the film. Then we attended a cooking demo hosted by Brian Malarkey of San Diego's The Oceanaire Seafood Room. I know you remember him from season 3 of Top Chef. He was the one with the cute hat, affable personality, and sublime dishes. Yesterday, he whipped up Julia Child's 2 1/2 hour-long-boeuf bourguignon in about 8 minutes, while he chatting amiably with Julie Powell. What can I say? The guy has serious skills.

brian malarkey
Chef Brian Malarkey makes Julia Child proud as he prepares her famous boeuf bourguignon.

We also met the film's food stylist, Susan Spugen, who shared some food styling secrets and insider tips with us. And for you food bloggers out there, don't worry if your food looks a little messy; Susan says, "messy is the new black" in food photography. So go ahead, and toss some crumbs on the plate.

susan spugen, Julie & Julia food stylist
Food stylist, Susan Spugen, melts cheese with an electric paint dryer. Yup. That's how it's done.

The day ended with Julie Powell and actor, Chris Messina, discussing their experience with the film. Writer/director Nora Ephron wrote the screenplay, which is based on Julie's book Julie & Julia. Julie said she acted as a consultant on the film, and was thrilled that "beautiful, petite, red-headed, Oscar-nominated Amy Adams" was portraying her.

Julie & Julia actor, Chris Messina
Actor, Chris Messina. He's even cuter in person, ladies.

Chris Messina, who was surprisingly approachable, self-deprecating, (and cute!), offered interesting insight into filmmaking and acting and said that he was humbled to work alongside such respected actors as Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, and Amy Adams. He also shared how he prepared for the numerous eating scenes in the movie: he would starve himself all day, so he'd be ravenous by the time of the shoot. Of course, even starving didn't help the day he had to eat 36 bruschettas in a row.

I have a lot more to share with you about the film and my experience. Look for it in an upcoming post. In the meantime, check out my updates about the event on Twitter @foodblogga.

me and billy riggins!

And to top the day off, while in Hollywood, I spotted the adorable and delightful Derek Phillips, who plays Billy Riggins on Friday Night Lights (The best drama on TV). I became so giddy that I didn't even notice the departure of my entire group, that is, except for oh-so-sweet Nicole of Baking Bites, who hung around to take our pic. Thanks, Nicole!

If you haven't seen Friday Night Lights, do yourself a favor. Go buy the first three seasons. Come home, grill some burgers, open up a couple of cold beers, and start watching. Then thank me in the morning.