- Started a blog, Steamy Kitchen, which she re-designs every six months
- Taught herself how to take great food photos
- Taught cooking classes
- Started a regular newspaper column
- Landed a bi-monthly gig cooking on a TV show
- Written a cookbook, also called Steamy Kitchen.
Oh yes, and she’ll be teaching next month (along with me and other bloggers), at Club Med Ixtapa Food Blogger Camp.
She’s unfazed by the technical requirements of her job. Let’s take her photography skills, as one example. Usually cookbook publishers use a food photographer and stylist to take photos. How did she get the publisher to accept her own photography?
As she explains, “They rejected the idea to begin with, so for six months I practiced and practiced. I would send them pictures, they would print, review and critique. They were very supportive of the idea and then finally I got to the point where they felt my photography was good enough to publish.”
On the last page of her cookbook, she explains the final dish photography. “All of the final dish photography in this book was shot by me in my home, usually about 15 minutes before my family or dinner guests pounce and devour the dish.” There’s a photo of Jaden looking through a camera on a tripod, photographing a burger on a coffee table in her home. She uses a digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) Canon Rebel XT, if you’re curious. Her fancy photography props comprise an inexpensive wood TV tray, a $3 foam board and another white board for reflecting light.
I learned more about her on an IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) teleforum. To ready herself for cooking on TV, she “watched a ton of Food Network, took notes on how to cook in front of a camera, and searched the web for tips.” To improve her photography, she took classes at Lynda.com, where she learned Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom.
Jaden believes opportunity lies with those who not only know how to write but how to shoot, report, edit and produce. As she concludes, “I have no idea what the platform will be in five years, but I know I’ll be ready for it.”