My Top 10 Professional Achievements of 2017

I usually write a 'Top 10 Favourite Blog Posts' post at the end of each year, but 2017 was such an exciting year for me professionally, I've decided to feature my 'Top 10 Career Highlights' instead.

1. THE CHRONICLE HERALD

In August 2017, I sent an email to The Chronicle Herald, introducing myself, asking, 'How do you get a column'?

 photo by :  Applehead Studio  

photo by : Applehead Studio 

The reply I received, in a nutshell, was - 'Send us your ideas, and, if we like them, we'll take them. If we don't use your ideas, they're off the table for any of our other columnists to use.

I pitched six column ideas, thinking to myself, "Maybe they'll take one".

They accepted three.

THE NANNY PROJECT - a personal project in which I interview people about a grandparent, usually a grandmother, and the role food has played throughout their lives together. Along with a recipe, this column appears bi-weekly on Mondays in The Nova Scotian.

OFF DUTY - I talk to food industry professional - chefs, bakers, restaurant owners, winemakers, brewmasters and more, about their work, as well as what they like to do, and cook, in their spare time. This column also features a recipe and appears bi-weekly on Fridays in the Lifestyles section.

ROAD TRIPPIN' - As well as being a food photographer, I am a serious vintage / thrift store addict. In this column, I write about road trips I take around Nova Scotia, including stops for treats, snacks, and meals, as well as spots to treasure hunt and explore, both outdoor and retail. This column appears bi-weekly on Mondays in The Nova Scotian opposite The Nanny Project.

To top it off, I was asked to participate in a new campaign called 'Inside Voices'. Photographed by the extremely talented Liam Hennessey at Applehead Studio, I was featured in a full page ad on the back page of the business section of the newspaper both Christmas weekend and New Year's weekend 2017. 

2. WILD CARD CREATIVE

Some of my best work has come from my collaborations with other creative people, and my work with food stylist Kathy Jollimore this year is no exception. In the spring, Kathy and I brainstormed an ongoing project called Wild Card Creative in which, together, we offer recipe creation and writing, prop and food styling, and food photography services. To see samples of our work, visit our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/wildcardcreative

 Wild Card Creative - Kathy Jollimore & Kelly Neil

Wild Card Creative - Kathy Jollimore & Kelly Neil

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3. BAKED - the blog

Becoming the 8th contributor to BAKED - the blog. - I'm still a little bit in shock, and completely in awe, that I get to work with a group of seven of the most talented Canadian recipe developers / food stylists / food photographers.

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I was contacted by Kris Osborne from 80Twenty in late November. 

Hey Kelly, how are you? I was wondering if you had some time sometime in the next couple of days? I wanted to talk to you about a possible opportunity. I'm available today here and there, tonight, and tomorrow most of the day. Let me know what you think!

The next evening, Kris and I had a video call and she formally invited me to become the eighth contributor to BAKED - the blog.

BAKED is a collaborative, creative project by several talented Canadian recipe developers, food photographers, and food stylists. Tune in each week as they bring rustic, accessible baking straight to your home kitchen. Through BAKED, there will be something for everyone.

My first post for BAKED, Cranberry Clementine Loaf with Clementine Glaze went live on BAKED, December 13, 2017.

4. COOKING SHOW AUDITION

In May I was contacted by a producer from Gusto TV and asked to submit a four minute audition tape for a new cooking show.


5. CTV MORNING LIVE ATLANTIC

Appearing on CTV Morning Live Atlantic twice, once by myself for a Canada Beef campaign I was working on, and once with Kathy, together as Wild Card Creative, for Cinco de Mayo.

 Host Heidi Petracek and I on the set of CTV Morning Live Atlantic, for the #ReThinkBeef campaign, February 28, 2017.

Host Heidi Petracek and I on the set of CTV Morning Live Atlantic, for the #ReThinkBeef campaign, February 28, 2017.

 Kathy Jollimore, Heidi Petracek, and I on location at Southwest Properties new building, Maple, on Hollis Street, filming a segment for Cinco de Mayo, May 4, 2017.

Kathy Jollimore, Heidi Petracek, and I on location at Southwest Properties new building, Maple, on Hollis Street, filming a segment for Cinco de Mayo, May 4, 2017.


6. FOOD STYLING FOR AIMEE BOURQUE FROM SIMPLE BITES

Aimée was touring across Canada promoting her new book, The Simple Bites Kitchen, and I, along with my friend Kris Warman of @shipshapeeatworthy, was hired by Aimée's publicist from Penguin Random House to do the food styling for Aimée's TV segments on both Global News Morning Halifax and CTV Morning Live Atlantic.

 Always an early start at CTV Morning Live Atlantic (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).

Always an early start at CTV Morning Live Atlantic (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).

 Aimée and I right before her segment on Global Halifax (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).

Aimée and I right before her segment on Global Halifax (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).

 Myself, Kris, and Aimée, celebrating a job well done (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).

Myself, Kris, and Aimée, celebrating a job well done (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).


7. PHOTOGRAPHING TWO COVERS FOR HALIFAX CURATED MAGAZINE

Halifax Curated magazine publishes six print issues annually, and two of the six issues in 2017 featured my photos on the cover. Since the summer of 2016, I have also written and photographed an article in each issue.

 Winter 2017 / styling + photography : Kelly Neil

Winter 2017 / styling + photography : Kelly Neil

 Late Spring 2017 / food styling : Kathy Jollimore / photography : Kelly Neil

Late Spring 2017 / food styling : Kathy Jollimore / photography : Kelly Neil


8. FOOD STYLING FOR A TV COMMERCIAL

I was hired by Current Studios as the food stylist for a two day TV commercial shoot for Chris Brothers.


9. FOOD STYLING FOR DENNIS THE PRESCOTT

Dennis was touring his new cookbook, Eat Delicious, across Canada, and his publicist from HarperCollins Canada hired me to do the food styling for Dennis' Halifax stop at CTV Morning Live Atlantic. I asked Kathy Jollimore to join me and we worked the gig together as Wild Card Creative.

 Kathy Jollimore, Heidi Petracek, Dennis Prescott, Kelly Neil, and Leanne Prescott on the set of CTV Morning Live Atlantic.

Kathy Jollimore, Heidi Petracek, Dennis Prescott, Kelly Neil, and Leanne Prescott on the set of CTV Morning Live Atlantic.


10. RUNNING A FOOD STYLING WORKSHOP

I was invited to Planters Ridge Winery in The Annapolis Valley to lead a food styling workshop. I loaded my car with rustic backgrounds, assorted linens, vintage dishware, and tarnished silverware to give attendees the opportunity to do their own food styling as I gave tips on how to improve smartphone food photography. Chef Sean Laceby prepared three fabulous fall-inspired plates, each paired with one of Planter's Ridge's beautiful wines. 

 photo courtesy of Planters Ridge Winery

photo courtesy of Planters Ridge Winery

IT WAS A GREAT YEAR!!

Happy New Year to each and every one of you and best wishes for a fabulous 2018!!

xo.