Surf Pittsburgh Summer Bonfire Shoot

“Real surfers don’t let a little thing like the lack of an ocean keep them from surfing.”

With nearly 360 miles separating our steel town from the nearest coastline, and nearly 2,500 miles separating us from the coastline with the waves that matter, Pittsburgh isn’t exactly a surfing destination. However, when you live by the above mantra, and think of yourself as a “real surfer,” you make do. That’s exactly what surf/beach lover Steve Ford did.

Surf Picnic Styled by Quelcy 01

After living on the West Coast, Steve Ford returned to Pittsburgh to launch his South Side clothing boutique Decade. His love of the city didn’t quell his longing to surf, so he created a way to have his cake and surf too. With a boat that creates a special type of wake, Surf PGH is converting Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers (Allegheny, Monongahela & Ohio) into viable surf territories, giving the city a rare opportunity to interact with the rivers.

Surf Picnic Styled by Quelcy 03

Though you won’t find me hanging ten on the “Mon” (Monongahela River), this spring I found myself creating a menu and styling a surf inspired bonfire cookout for TABLE Magazine’s Gatherings Issue. My concepts for the menu were easy, summer cookout staples with a touch of a colorful California- think globally inspired street food along the pier.

Surf Picnic Styled by Quelcy 02

Surf Bonfire Menu

Bánh Mì style Hot Italian Sausages on Challah Rolls
cucumber slices, pickled slaw, jalapeños, cilantro & spicy sriracha mayo
check out a version of my Bánh Mì recipe here.

Tortilla Chips & “Cowboy Caviar”
corn, roasted tomatoes, black beans

Summer Fruits
watermelon, pineapple

Mixed berry tart

& plenty of Summer Shandies

Surf Picnic Styled by Quelcy 04

Surf Picnic Styled by Quelcy 05

The main focus of the shoot was the hand-painted surfboards, which acted as a low table for the bonfire spread. I mixed this pop of color with rusted metals and aged woods, as a nod to the California inspiration and steel town location. For beach inspired lighting, I filled vintage maple-tap buckets (see the hole where the spout would fit?) with sand and pillar candles. If you want to try this look at home, use a citronella candle to help ward off mosquitos while adding mood lighting.

Surf Picnic Styled by Quelcy 06

For a landlocked steel city, it did feel pretty beachy!

Post Script:

Menu Design, Recipe Development, Food & Prop Styling by Quelcy.
Photography by Adam Milliron.
Appeared in TABLE Magazine, Spring 2015 issue
Meat sourced from DJ’s Butcher Block
Vintage Wooden Crates, Maple Tap Buckets & Metal Trays from Toll Gate Revival.
Vintage plates from The Vinge.
Vintage cooler from The Ardent Forager.
Featuring Surf PGH.

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