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Playing with Food

Behind the scenes at the pizza photo shoot

By Laurie Nicoud

Playing with Food

Pizza toppings spread in the November 2013 issue

Pizza toppings spread from the November 2013 issue of San Diego Magazine | Photo by Luis Garcia

When Executive Editor Erin Meanley saw a candy spread (in this story about sugar) in a recent National Geographic, she knew she wanted something like it in her November pizza package. We had been talking about this feature for months. Years, actually. We like our carbs. The team held several edit meetings to plan how and where to shoot the pizza and how to create art with pizza toppings. What kind of background? What shape should the toppings be in? What toppings should we use? What should say about San Diego? How can it make mouths water?

We headed straight for one of our favorite pizza places: Alexander’s on 30th in North Park. Owner Alex Walther let us set up camp (e.g. lights and ladders) to create a composition with his toppings, and he laid out more than two dozen bowls of colorful, chopped up ingredients, some of which he had to cook first. I rolled up my sleeves (literally) to style the toppings and enjoyed every minute of playing with all the food.  The toppings smelled Ah-MAZE-ing. We took our time (one delicious lamb meatball for the art piece, one for me…). We finished just as the restaurant was opening for the dinner crowd. Olympic marathoner and carb-loader Meb Keflezighi happened to be waiting outside. But we were there first.

What do you think of the spread? 

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