Earlier this year Annabelle Breakey was commissioned by the owners of the forthcoming Bobcat Diner to shoot a series of recipes planned for the diner’s menu. The images would be used as large teaser posters to decorate the diner’s construction site in Merced, CA.
“While the building was under construction, they wanted to put big, bold, beautiful images of the food they plan to have on their menu on the outside of the temporary walls,” explained Annabelle.
Annabelle spent a day shooting Bobcat Diner recipes with food stylist Heidi Gintner and prop specialist Emma Star Jensen. They had free reign to do pretty much whatever they wanted, within the direction of making it “Americana” with the look of a vintage mountain diner with a cozy log cabin feel.
They shot the diner’s flagship biscuit recipe on a rustic wooded cutting board with a Bell jar full of marmalade. A tin pie plate overflowing with the the diner’s Carnivore breakfast of sausages, Canadian bacon, hash brown, and eggs and their Portobello mushroom burger with basil pesto were shot on a wood plank table.
“It was just one of those magical experiences. They were just these private individuals who had this passion for opening a restaurant. They found us on the Internet. We didn’t know them and they didn’t know us. They let us do what we wanted with their recipes, and the result was this amazing project that we wanted to use for our portfolio,” said Annabelle.
Not only were the clients happy with the results, but Annabelle also liked the project so much, she decided to create a promo piece out of it.
To make a complete story, they needed a few more images, so Heidi came up with some fabulous recipes that put a modern twist on the classic American diner experience.
The promo’s cover image is a Coke float with sweet chili pepper—Annabelle calls it a spicy, 21st-century version of the traditional root beer float.
Heidi’s other recipes include individual portions of a braised short rib rigatoni, a blackberry caramel milkshake garnished in toffee, and a tray of polenta fries.
“Heidi is just super, super creative, and the recipes were divine. We tasted the short rib rigatoni—it was mind-blowing,” Annabelle said.
Interestingly, the partners behind the Bobcat Diner are originally from the Middle East, though they’ve been living in the States for many years. “They love the American way of life and wanted to have an American diner. They’re living the American dream,” said Annabelle.