Giving Thanks to Saveur

Once upon a time, Big Leo food stylist Mariana Velasquez was a fresh faced 21 year old culinary student interning�at Saveur Magazine. Today, her�food styling talents are showcased across several stories in the current November issue of Saveur Magazine. For Mariana, this is a dream come true. She shares with us her Saveur memories and the significance of�being featured in the latest issue.

Food Styling by Mariana Velasquez

Back in 2002, when I was doing my second year of culinary school in VT, I dreamed of coming back to NYC�and working for Saveur Magazine.�That summer, I arrived in the sweltering city to intern under the then test kitchen director, Julia Lee and the food editor�Melissa Hamilton, who is now at Canal House.

Food Styling by Mariana Velasquez

That summer we tested recipes like Borstch, JFK�S Lobster Stew and Indian Pudding from Boston�s Locke-Ober kitchen. There were preparations I had never heard of like Chanko Nabe, Gosht Bririyani and the classic Americano- to name just a few.

We also�worked on the Thanksgiving story for issue No. 62, �Hometown Appetites,� the story of Clementine Paddleford the Food writer from Kansas who celebrated America�s cuisine. Oyster Stew, Cracker Puffs and Turkey with Wild Rice Stuffing�all of which I still make at my own Thanksgiving.

I discovered the city through my shopping experiences; buying live lobsters in china town and bringing them back to the office on 23rd�street on the subway;�Entering Kalustian�s for the very first time and being in complete awe of spices and varieties of Halva they had.�And then hauling all the way to Jackson Heights to the Halal butcher to get a whole kid goat for the Pakistan Story and carrying it a black plastic bag on the 7 train.

We cooked non stop--testing, measuring-timing over and over again�

My dream was always to stay. I couldn�t.

13 years later I was called�to style the Thanksgiving Issue of the �new� Saveur�styling a fascinating array of recipes for Senegal, Slovenia, China and the South. Upon walking into the test kitchen, although in a different place, I felt a bit like I was 21 again: nervous and expectant.

I am so grateful to have this full circle moment in life, where time, experience and passion often takes us to unexpected places; some times places where I always wanted to return to.