There are so many things that make Béatrice Peltre extraordinarily special.
She’s most definitely kind and generous, something I noticed instantly from our emails leading up to Eat Boutique’s Holiday Local Market in December. At our event, Béa had her first ever book signing as a published author. Along with her family and her new book La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life, she brought sweet treats to share with our 600+ guests, which, of course, evaporated before I could grab a taste.
If you didn’t make it to the event, you should know that in person, Béa is as sweet as her Red Fruit Clafoutis, a delicious dessert she baked when we met up again last month, this time in her lovely home. Béa baked, Heidi photographed and I did what any conscientious food blogger should do: I watched… very closely.
Three hours later and delighted by an impromptu and effortless lunch of squash soup, root vegetable latkes, an extravagant cheeseboard and two desserts, I was also full on lessons learned.
Among so many other takeaways, like falling for her Red Fruit Clafoutis and Lavender Ile Flottantes made with her very own hands, Béa left this three-fold impression on me:
1. Be you, all the way.
The personality and flavor that leaps from Béa’s site are only magnified in person. Her home, her recipes and photos, and her style are purely Béatrice. Sitting at her kitchen island surrounded by colorful bowls, stacks of bright plates, and pure ingredients, I could have been sitting inside a page of her cookbook. She truly is her brand, but in the most genuine way. I left resolute in not trying to be me, but just being me.
2. Make your own color rules.
While Béa considers herself mostly vegetarian, she loves photographing meat. She assured me it’s less about the meat and more about the color, red. She delights in photographing anything that’s red-hued, and when she mentioned the combination of red and blue, well, I think she actually swooned. Béa plays with colors and fabrics in a nontraditional way, and I like it. I made a note to myself to endeavor to step out of my box now and again.
3. Remember the little (sweet) things.
Food is certainly a serious business and this is driven home more so as I continue to engage with new food bloggers, cookbook authors, publishers and marketers. But an escape into Béa’s world reminded me that even in food photography, technique only goes so far. Finding beauty in the little things beyond structured technique, like a vintage stool covered in dirt, buried in a cellar and practically calling out for a plate of food, is immensely important to this life we’ve chosen.
On a recent job with a group very mindful of eating healthily, Béa returned home and did the most natural thing anyone who remembers the sweet little things would do: she baked a chocolate cake. She had been craving something sweet after time without, and that was probably the most important lesson: chocolate cake, especially made with Béa’s recipe, is not a luxury but a necessity.
Béa’s new book, La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life, officially releases on February 7, 2012. All photos styled by Beatrice Peltre and Heidi Murphy, and taken by Heidi Murphy/White Loft Studio. Maggie Battista provided the flowers and Bellocq generously shared their perfect teas.
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