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Behind the scenes for this week's Food cover shoot

September 23, 2011 |  2:34 pm


For this week's cover story, restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila explores the wonderful twilight ritual of aperitifs:

As life gets ever more hectic, I rely more and more on the civilized custom of a before-dinner apéritif. Sometimes it's all I can do to make it to that magical hour when I'm handed a Campari and soda or a glass of rosé and take a first bite of dusky olive tapenade on toast.

It's one thing to write about that magical hour, it's another thing entirely to capture it on film.

This was one story we couldn't shoot in the studio -- the natural glow of twilight can be so hard to re-create with artificial lighting. So we shot the story, at twilight, on the 4th floor of the Los Angeles Times building.

We ran through an early draft of the story, picking and choosing which dishes and drinks we would re-create for photos. Then we spent Sept. 13 preparing dishes and drinks to have them ready for the right moment -- just before 7 p.m. -- to capture on film.

Click on the jump below for more behind-the-scenes photos.


Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

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-- Noelle Carter

Photos: Noelle Carter (All the photos except the last three); Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times (last three photos).



Heading out to the balcony to begin preparations for the shoot around 6:30 p.m.


Checking to make sure we have all of the food items before assembling the final dishes.


Photographer Kirk McKoy setting up the camera and lights as the Test Kitchen staff assembles the food and drinks (our makeshift "bar" is on the table in the back right of the photo). Below, some of Kirk McKoy's final photos.