Aliza J Sokolow
Taking her love for food styling and digital media, Aliza lauched her company Poppyseed Agency, as a way to provide chefs and restaurateurs with a platform to enhance their brand while cooking. We're lucky to call Aliza a close friend and excited to share her insight and expertise as our next Guest Editor!
What inspired you to start Poppyseed Agency?
I founded Poppyseed Agency almost 3 year ago after working in television as a food stylist. At that time, social media had just become something that chefs and restaurants were exploring as part of running their businesses. It was perfect timing and fulfills the passion I have for the food industry.
What’s the day-to-day life for a food stylist? What’s your favorite thing you’ve had a chance to style?
Every day is different. I am lucky enough to experience different facets of the restaurant and food industry- from front of the house to the farthest corner of the kitchen. I run social media, food style and do photography. You can often find me in the back of the house taking photos and getting yelled at on the line. I love to learn from the chefs that I work with. I am quite spoiled to learn from them.
My favorite food styling adventure is my work for McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams in Santa Barbara, CA. We are constantly creating new flavors and topping combos. It’s very colorful! I studied architecture & industrial engineering at UC Berkeley…I’ve chosen to use my design degree on the smallest scale.
I also loved my work on Jamie Oliver’s Emmy winning show Food Revolution, as well as Emmy Nominated Recipe Rehab.
It’s March! What are some of your favorite seasonal ingredients and preparations?
I am beyond excited for strawberries!!! I am going to make strawberry balsamic jam, roast them for pies and just eat them plain until I’m red in the face.
What’s the most important thing to throw a perfect dinner party?
I am a huge snacker and picker. Having a solid crudité platter and plenty of appetizers when I throw a dinner party is the key to success. I find it important to do a lot of prep so that I’m not feeling stressed to fire dishes while spending time with my guests. I always order flowers from Glasswing Floral in Downtown LA to set my table. Simple and elegant presentations of fresh and simple dishes make for the best evening.
What are some simple social tips and tricks food lovers could use? What restaurants or chefs get it right?
Chef Michael Fiorelli from Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach hits on the head - his dishes are each layered with elements that compliment the next course. At his restaurant I can make a sandwich out of the homemade English Muffins with the second course salad and then dip the remaining parts and my pizza crust into the in the house made salsa verde from the roasted cauliflower dish. It turns each meal into a true family meal. It’s a soulful experience that I haven’t felt anywhere else.
It’s Happy Hour. What’s your drink of choice?
Whiskey, rocks after work, margarita if I’m going out and Hitching Post 2 highliner if I’m at home.
Do you have a favorite local artisanal treat?
I love Compartes Chocolate American Dream bar. It is dark chocolate with rice crispies in it. The perfect amount of crunch. I always have to purchase a few bars when I go in to buy gifts, because I end up eating one the second I leave the shop. (Don’t judge me.)
If you could choose one of March’s featured ingredients to cook with, what would you choose and what would you make?
I would pour Bang Candy Co’s Strawberry Rhubarb Syrup on a stack of pancakes that I make on the weekends or pour some on a bowl of McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams w some Harry’s Berries strawberries. Now I am drooling, can I please have a spoon?
Midnight snack of choice?
You assume I stay up that late… I always have a loaf of Suzanne Goin’s Larder Baking Company bread at home. I like to soak a slice in olive oil, grill it in the skilled and smother a heaping scoop of Vermont Creamery salted butter on top. I also love Peacock Family Farms fancy trailmix. I buy it every Wednesday at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. There is an amazing variety of mixed raisins, walnuts, pecans, dried peaches, and dried persimmons. It is the perfect balance of savory and not too sweet.
What social food trends do you think will be huge in 2015? What current trend are you over?
I love the cardamom trend that’s appeared in the last few months. I find the flavor intriguing and sultry.. I think that wine flavored desserts will pop up this year.
What’s up next for you? Any exciting culinary travels or ventures to share?
I’m shooting some more videos with my friends at leaf.tv, which i am excited about. There web series includes living, eating and fashion and I help with cooking skills videos. Here is the link to some fun videos I’ve filmed
I’m excited to be running the social media for LA Love’s Alex’s Lemonade for the 4th year. Mark your calendar for September 14th!
Stay in touch with Aliza!