K.C. Steakhouse

In 2014 K.C. Steakhouse celebrated its 75th anniversary
of serving their fine dinning experience.
Located at 2515 “F” Street in Bakersfield, CA

Phone: (661) 322-9910


The interior decor is kind of Mid-Century Modern meets the old West, with a free-form dropped ceiling lit in a Vegas night club vibe from the 1950’s. A giant copper fireplace at one end of the venue dominates the room and patrons clamor to be seated next to it.  There are a few red leatherette booths that you would almost swear you saw Frank Sinatra & the boys seated having dinner with a few martinis.   And on the ceiling above to top it off, a few wagon-wheel chandeliers finishes this eclectic dinning decor.

The bar adjacent to the dinning area continues the free-form curve and the Wild West Mid Century Vegas theme where some of the best “wickedly strong” libations are served by the frequently uniformed bar tender and waitresses staff. Behind this bar and tucked into the corner is a tiny stage that host live performances most every evening from 6:00 pm to 11:30 pm.

The Stuffed Pork Chop

A premium hand cut, bone in loin chop stuffed with apple and bread crumbs, topped with cranberry relish served with seasonal vegetable sides and “cowboy” potatoes.

NOTE: The image above won Foodelia Collection 26 International Food Photography competition in 2017


New York Strip Steak

All dinners include choice of soup or green salad, beans, salsa, choice of baked potato, garlic mashed potatoes,
rice pilaf or cowboy potatoes, fresh sourdough bread and butter.
Add Peppercorn Sauce, Sauteed Mushrooms or a Caesar Salad for a few bucks more…

Classic Desserts

Here we have the basic yet delectable Peach Cobbler Ala Mode with French Vanilla Ice cream.



On October 13, 1939,  “Doc” Kennedy (a retired pharmacist) opened the K.C. Steakhouse at 630 Union Avenue across the street from the world famous “Bakersfield Inn”.  During the early days, the K.C. Steakhouse did not serve liquor, but just across the street was a bar owned by Martin Jaussaud and Clyde Barbeau, called the “Bomb Shelter”.  Both of these establishments became a quite popular with the cadet airmen training at Minter Field in Shafter, California during World War II.

After the war, the K.C. Steakhouse became a favorite dining spot for local residents and tourists alike.  It has always been a gathering spot for city, county and government officials and heads of departments.

The K.C. Steakhouse remained the same until 1967 when it was moved to its present location by the then operator, Charles Gibson.  It has been in this location ever since that date.  In October of 1984, the business was purchased by Hughette Hardy known as “Frenchie”, until 1991 when it was purchased by Aubrey Carter.  In June of 1997, then K.C. Steakhouse was purchased by Charlotte Carter who continues the great K.C. Steakhouse tradition at 2515 “F” Street.

In 2003, Charlotte Carter married Terry Campbell and they operate K.C.’s as co-owners.  It remains the favorite dining spot for locals and for the hundreds of “out-of-towners” who always revisit when they are again in town.

The present building housing the K.C. Steakhouse was built circa 1949; and was opened as “Greg’s Hi Life Club” circa 1952.  The room remains virtually the same as it was then.  The wood paneling and mirrors have replaced the Victorian Age red papered walls, and a partition over the back bar has been removed.  The kitchen has also been recently renovated.


©2018 Eric James Swearingen



Two Winning Images at Foodelia

I am please to announce that two of my images have won entry into Collection 25 at Foodelia; the international contest for food photography. Every month, a curated competition is open for submissions to Foodelia members. Of those submissions, less than 3% are selected by the panel of curators as “Foodelia Awarded” images. So it is quite rare to get multiple awards within a signal submission cycle. I am very please with the results and here are the two winning photographs.

Gourmet Toffee by Chief Cheryl Mestmaker at GoodNut.com 


 Craft beers from Temblor Brewing Company cover shot for Bakersfield Magazine 


All of the Collection 25 awarded images can be viewed at Foodelia.us



©2017 Eric James Swearingen



Chef Chang’s Little Italy

The owner and Executive Chef of Little Italy (who prefers to be known simply as Chang) said he has learned not to underestimate the people of Bakersfield.

“They know good food,” said Chang, He can be found seven days a week at his 85-seat, full bar, white-tablecloth restaurant, tucked away in the South-East corner of The “Town and Country Shopping Center” located at 8200 Stockdale Hwy in Bakersfield, CA 93311-1029 Phone: (661) 833-4055

“Most of our customers come at least twice a month, and many three times a
week,” said Chang, who prepares every dish himself.

Chef Chang was born in Thailand and moved his family to The United States in the early 1970’s, stayed here to complete his education and make his way up in the restaurant business. Chang chose the location for his Little Italy restaurant because he found the shopping center pleasant and relatively quiet. He chose Italian cuisine because he finds it easy to prepare and enjoys the many flavor combinations he can create within this genera.

Personally, I find it fascinating when someone can break through the confines of conventional thinking. “How can an Asian cook Italian?” …is a ridicules preconception. Chef Chang’s abilities are amazing and have nothing to do with coming from an Italian heritage. 

I highly suggest going to Chef Chang’s Little Italy and trying the numerous exceptional menu items. It is wise to make reservations! ..There is usually a waiting list around 6:PM every night, fortunately the full bar can help easy your delay time while waiting for a table.



Calamari Friti

Lightly fried baby squids served with a Tomato sauce shown with Little Italy’s fresh baked Bread served with olive oil and their aged balsamic vinegar.


Chicken Piccata

Boneless chicken breast sautéed with pepperocini & capers


Grilled Pork Chop with Pine Nuts

12 oz. center cut pork chop, garlic and rosemary topped with pine nuts


Chicken Francaise

Chicken breast sautéed in garlic butter & lemon juice


Cappellini Scampi

Jumbo shrimp in a light white sauce, parsley and pine nuts


Linguine Frutti di Mare

House-made linguine with thick marinara, large shrimp, cherrystone clams, mussels, calamari, and scallop



©2017 Eric James Swearingen



Tony’s Firehouse Grill & Pizza

Tony’s Firehouse Grill & Pizza

located at 10701 Highway 178 in Bakersfield, CA 93306 

Phone: (661) 366-0129

Tony’s Pizza was founded in 1979 in the small town of Delano, California. At the time, Tony’s was one of the only pizza parlors in the primarily agricultural town. As time went on and new pizza chains were established in Delano, Tony’s business grew due to their passion for serving a traditional pizza, with only the finest ingredients in a welcoming family atmosphere.

Anthony “Tony” Martinez Jr. branched out to Bakersfield, CA in early 2005, and was an immediate hit serving up the same great tasting pizza that the Martinez family has been making for over 30 years. Little has changed, except for the obvious firefighter decor that you will find in all seven Tony’s Pizza locations. Anthony and his family are involved in every aspect of the business and at any given time you can always find a member of the family at one of the locations to greet you or make you one of their specialty pizzas. So whether you have a hankering for a big slice of “Bubba’s Chicken BBQ”, a “Toni’s Veggie” or the classic “Tony’s Combo” you won’t leave Tony’s Pizza disappointed.





Pepperoni Pizza




Choose from a number of TOPPINGS…




©2017 Eric James Swearingen



GoodNut.com Product Shoot

I recently collaborated with life long friend and fellow photographer Cheryl Mestmaker on a project for GoodNut.com shooting a variety of commercial images for website end use and cataloging of products illustrating locally grown (Kern County) pistachios, almonds and a most delectable gourmet toffee perfected by Cheryl Mestmaker from an old secret family recipe.

We had an outrageous amount fun and spent the better part of four days creating a wide variety of images with multiple props, lighting & settings to play with, creating numerous set designs and layout possibilities for the clients to choose from. Here on my blog, I have uploaded just a few of what I feel are the best example of what we created during this session.

It is sometime quite difficult to find the right mix of props to product ratio, when given so many choices of peripheral objects to either discard or use in a setting. I find that the dissension to include set pieces really depends on whether or not it adds to the image a mood that is indicative to the clients target market or if it furthers an editorial content that accompanies the images in publication. Something that will reach that market on an emotional level and results in additional sales for your clients. If you believe those extra items tell the right story… use them, provided that they do not distract from the primary subject.

Here are a few “straight forward” product shots giving the client the ability to show their product without any distractions. Very important when the product is physically small in size, like nuts are. These seemingly simple images were some of their favorite shots from the session. Largely in part because they display the product directly without confusing the audience. “Less is more”, especially when it comes to displaying tiny subject matter.

Cheryl’s amazing gourmet toffee will be available in the near future for online ordering at GoodNut.com just as soon as possible. The final selections are currently be made for the best packaging and delivery methods that provide the freshest and most pristine arrival conditions to the recipient. I highly recommend this toffee! …It is so addictive in such a great way, you will truly enjoy every sumptuous bite!



©2017 Eric James Swearingen



Video Lighting TEST

Food Photography test video of Rio Bravo Ranch’s; Award Winning Gourmet Extra Virgin Olive Oil using direct natural sun light modulated through the glass brick window here in the studio facility at Food.ArtofEricJames.com. The shadows were cast using Bamboo branches moving just outside of the window. Shot on a Nikon D800 DSLR video camera @1080 30P through a Nikkor 24-85 mm Macro lens with post production done in Adobe Premiere Pro CC-2017 for color grading and editing.

For best viewing, choose the 1080HD playback settings…

GlassBrick_Window_Light_001B from Eric James Swearingen on Vimeo.

©2017 Eric James Swearingen



Bakersfield Magazine cover

Another cover for Bakersfield Magazine of Raffaele Giovanni Fruguglietti (Ralph Frugatti) owner of Frugatti’s Italian Restaurant. Shot using a Nikon D800 and lit with two Nikon speed lights mixed with ambient light. The background is a painted wall mural behind the “Rat Pack” booth, a prized seating location in the newly renovated restaurant venue. Ralph presents a couple of his most popular appetizers, The Bacon Wrapped Asparagus & Garlic Bread plates served with a smile. Frugatti’s offer the best Italian dining experience and Italian catering services in Bakersfield. The first thing he would like everyone to know is that Frugatti’s is all about family. His wife and children work there, and from their family to yours, they provide one of life’s greatest pleasures: to sit with friends and loved ones around a table, enjoying good food, good wine and laughter.

For more information contact:

Frugatti’s Italian Eatery

600 Coffee Road
Bakersfield, CA 93309


©2017 Eric James Swearingen


*Special thanks to executive chef Bruce Tisler for his assistance during this shoot.



Frugatti’s – Bakersfield’s Finest Italian Restaurant

Frugatti’s Italian Eatery
600 Coffee Road
Bakersfield, CA 93309

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Fresh asparagus wrapped with our applewood smoked bacon then baked in our wood burning oven

Garlic Bread with Mozzarella

Ciabatta bread with garlic butter and mozzarella cheese.

Raffaele Giovanni Fruguglietti

(Just call him Ralph) His desire and pleasure is to provide you an authentic Southern Italian dining experience. He was born in Grumento Nova, Italy and dinning at Frugatti’s is about friends and family sitting around the table, enjoying great food, good wine and laughter in a lively and fun atmosphere.


Margherita Napolitano Pizza

The ingredients for this pizza and our wood-fired oven are all imported from Italy. This pizza is crafted to the strict guidelines for an original pizza from Naples, Italy. Frugatti’s start with Caputo flour “Lafarina di Napoli”, a historic flour mill in Naples to make our authentic pizza crust. They add San Marzano tomatoes which are grown within the shadow of Mount Vesuvius in extraordinary fertile soil that is perfect for growing a stronger, sweeter and less acidic tomato. Then it is topped with the finest hand-made Mozzarella di Bufala (Buffalo mozzarella) from a 125 year old cheese maker at the foot of the Campania Subapennine mountain range just outside Naples. Extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and fresh basil…

that’s it! (This pizza is only made one way, the authentic way and we cannot add other toppings.) It is Frugatti’s hope that you enjoy the simple and fresh flavors this true artisan pizza provides.

Meatball Lasagna

Frugatti’s famous Lasagna Classico meat sauce and Wisconsin whole milk mozzarella cheese.

Baked to perfection in their wood-fired oven.


Lemon Ricotta Italian Cheesecake

Amazing! A lite and refreshing ricotta cheesecake with fresh squeezed lemon, caramelized lemon peel throughout and a lemon and white chocolate cookie crust.

Tony’s Cannoli

Ralph’s son, Anthony’s favorite dessert that Nonni made especially for him. A southern Italian favorite, made with cannoli cream, cinnamon, Amaretto de Sarrono liqueur and chocolate chips. All filled into a sweet pastry shell and topped with caramel sauce and powdered sugar.

Frugatti’s Fountain Plaza

Fountain Plaza, (Now “Frugatti’s Fountain Plaza”)
600 Coffee Rd L, Bakersfield, CA 93309
Phone: (661) 836-2000
Monday – Thursday: 11:00am till 9:30pm
Friday: 11:00am till 10:00pm
Saturday: 11:30am till 10:00pm
Sunday: 11:30am till 9:00pm

©2016 Eric James Swearingen

*Special thanks to executive chef Bruce Tisler for his assistance during this shoot.


Coseree’s Deli at Rio Bravo Ranch

Coseree’s Deli has salads, wraps, sandwiches, panini’s and Barbecue on the weekends with steak or hamburgers. Wine and Olive oil tastings too.

Located near the mouth of the Kern Canyon at 15701 CA-178, Bakersfield, CA 93306

Phone: 661-871-3764.

Open open 11am – 7pm everyday.

The olive varieties grown on 50 acres of dedicated land at Rio Bravo Ranch are; Ascolana, Maurino, Frantoio, Pendolino, Nocellara del Belice, Coratina, and Picual. The Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil was the Silver medal winner at the 2015 LA International Olive Oil Competition & 2015 California Olive Oil Council Competition. Many verities of favor infused oils are available at Coseree’s Deli. This is an amazing gourmet selection of locally sourced olive oils that truly make the difference in fine dining.


The Red Grill Onions Mexican Café & Bar

The Red Grill Onions Mexican Café and Bar
1418 18th St. 322-2138. 

_dsc1403-edit   The ambiance of The Red Grill Onions Mexican Café and Bar is a warm and comfortable interior of traditional Mexican atmosphere with a Neapolitan edge in its design. The banquet room has ample dinning capacity, while the bar area and lunch room is a cozy and more intimate space._dsc1393-edit
To begin your dining experience, The “Cadillac” of Margaritas is highly recommended.
Camarones (shrimp) fajitas: Fresh from the sea, large sautéed shrimp grill red onions, bell peppers savory tomatoes with a specially prepared salsa on the side,  severed with rice and beans.
_dsc1327-edit The Chile Verde is the best with just the right amount of heat and amazing flavors.

Slow cooked pork in a tomatillo sauce with roasted peppers, onions & garlic._dsc1324-edit

The Chile Verde is also available as an appetizer in the form a bean dip severed with crispy warm from the oven tortilla chips.


_dsc1259-edit Los Angeles combination plate: Beef or Chicken taco, enchilada with Spanish rice and re-fried beans. A very popular dish for when you are not quite sure what you want, this dish has it all.

…And to finish off your meal, the Deep Fried Ice Cream is an excellent choice.


The Red Grill Onions Mexican Café and Bar
1418 18th St. 322-2138. 

©2016 Eric James Swearingen


Bakersfield Magazine


Alms Soup

“Alms” are traditionally donations given to the poor or needy…

Alms Soup is an interesting approach to blending culinary expertise with community investment thru soup.

Alms Soup will soon services the public in the Metro Bakersfield area Monday thru Friday with Gourmet Soups, Salads and Breads made from locally sourced fresh ingredients, while providing jobs for the “hard to employ” by partnering with Kern High School District and Kern County Employers Training Resource.

All products from Alms Soup Kitchen will become available in the near future for ordered & delivery using the Alms Soup Kitchen online app. currently in development.

By purchasing a single lunch from Alms Soup Kitchen, each meal will provide an opportunity to support four addition needy members of our community by feeding and/or training them with food service skills that can later be used to acquire jobs within the work environment.

The creator of Alms Soup Kitchen, Executive Chef / Culinary Consultant and Host of TV Talk Show “In The Heat”: Bruce Tisler was asked, ‘Why a Soup Kitchen’?

His response was:

“During several catering events in 2012 where we served soup and received an over welling positive response from the attendees, we thought how cool it would be to open a soup kitchen or a restaurant. We then asked the question ‘what is a soup kitchen?’ What we learned was, a soup kitchen is a place for nourishment and comfort to communities and this tradition has a very long history that dates back well over two thousand years.  In our research we found the first written accounts of Soup Kitchens were during the construction of the early Egyptian pyramids. Soup Kitchens in more modern times severed to feed the masses during the Great Depression of the 1930’s and this is what most people envision when you use the term ‘Soup Kitchen’, these days.

Alms Soup Kitchen is a new variation of this concept where the public purchases lunch at a very affordable price and we deliver the orders directly to them at their office or workplace and as a result, supports those in need by offsetting our cost of production. This then allows us to donate large amounts of our product to various food banks for redistribution. Alms Soup Kitchen also provides training and jobs for many people that might not otherwise be fortunate enough to ever have the opportunity to learn these culinary skills. This will prepare them to seek future employment in the food serves industry after their experience at Alms Soup Kitchen has concluded.


In addition to this Soup Kitchen service, we provide a medical nutrition version of our soups called ‘Emerald’ prepared primarily for cancer patients. Soup is a highly effective delivery method of nutrients that are extremely easy to digest and studies suggest that it can have exceptional health benefits to those suffering from malnutrition and/or patients with suppressed immune deficiencies brought on by the side effect from chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

So, you see, ‘soup’ isn’t just a convenient canned item in your pantry, if prepared properly with an arrangement of fresh ingredients, it can quite literally be lifesaving!”

Alms Soup Kitchen service is scheduled to become operational by the 2nd quarter of 2017. For more information please visit http://www.almssoup.org and support this project on KickStarter 


Gourmet Soup * Ordered Online * Delivered Fresh

©2016 Eric James Swearingen
Studio: 661.322.0913


Soup in the Making


Studio test shot using a newly re-built vintage 1970’s Norman® Tri-Lite projecting a gobo that produces a lovely dappled lighting pattern onto the subject. norman

I plan on using this effect more often now that I have seen the results and qualified this test as a success. This image is also a preliminary concept for producing a series of image advertising the ALMS Soup Kitchen Project in Bakersfield CA.

©2016 Eric James Swearingen

Studio: 661.322.0913



Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

_DSC5593Photographed using my proprietary “Light Painting System” comprised of multiple specially modified LED illumination tools. This method of lighting yields some very desirable results. There is level of control no other lighting technique can achieve. Plus the weight of the complete system is negligible making set-up and load-out so very quick. The down side is that the venue must be completely dark and not operation to be attempted during business hours while patrons are present. No, this must be done on a “Dark” day for the restaurants wishing to do this…
Studio: 661.322.0913
©2016 Eric James Swearingen


Tomoshiraga Somen Noodles


JFC Brand Tomoshiraga Somen Noodles of Japan

Photographed using my proprietary “Light Painting System” comprised of multiple specially modified LED illumination tools. This method of lighting yields some very desirable results. There is level of control no other lighting technique can achieve. Plus the weight of the complete system is negligible making set-up and load-out so very quick. The down side is that the venue must be completely dark and not operation to be attempted during business hours while patrons are present. No, this must be done on a “Dark” day for the restaurants wishing to do this…
Studio: 661.322.0913
©2016 Eric James Swearingen


Venue Décor Photography

Often times a customer will decide to tryout a restaurant based solely on how it appears. People are motivated to dine out, in order to experience something unique. That je ne sais quoi not easily replicated at home. The first impressions of the interior design elements within a venue will influence the expectations of your customers and keep them coming back time after time.  Knowing the importance of this presentation; it is imperative that high quality images of this investment reach as many potential customers as possible to entice them to partake. With the multiple avenues of social media available today that goal is more attainable than ever before.

Any novice photographer can bring bright lights and blast the interior with illumination to get a shot. However, in the process they destroy the ambiance of the décor. I have spent decades perfecting techniques that capture the true atmosphere of that unique environment so meticulously crafted by the client. There are many technical issues that often arise when shooting on location. The intensity of lighting within a restaurant is usually low, to set the appropriate mood. And often time there are mixed color temperature illumination sources such as incandescent, fluorescent, LED & even window light. All of which appear quite differently to a camera. Knowing how to treat each of these types of light and maintain the overall impression of the venue is what sets me apart for other photographers.

Sometimes an interior simply cannot be photographed with a single shot and may require a mosaic imaging process where multiple pictures are blended back into one photograph in order to cover a large or irregular shaped room. And occasionally additional lighting is required to fill in some details. This should be done with finesse and not by brute force. Having the control to match the ratio of ambient light levels and add only the minimal amount of artificial lighting to complement the existing atmosphere is a skill that not just anyone possesses.

The images in this article are just a few samples of interior décor photography that I have chosen to illustrate this concept. Please look them over and if you have any question, feel free to contact me. My Studio number is 661.322.0913 and/or leave your comments on this page.



















©2016 Eric James Swearingen



New Head Chef at Krush Wine Bar & Restaurant

The new Executive Chef at Krush Wine Bar & Restaurant is Wendell Graves. A long time Co-head chef at this venue since it’s opening, Wendell has taken the reigns and spurred new life into the classic menu by adding his unique style to the appetizers, entrées and dessert choices.
Krush Wine Bar & Restaurant is located at 10500 Hageman Rd in Bakersfield, California.
Call (661) 695-8018 to make reservations.


web_DSC1791 web_DSC1795

Lobster Puffs

Canadian Lobster claw meat with red bell peppers, red onions, chives, and Parmesan cheese all molded together with Cajun spices and Japanese Panko.


Caprese Salad

California grown heirloom tomatoes, with fresh mozzarella, pistachio dust, 18 year aged balsamic vinegar, basil pesto, and fried fresh basil leaves.


web_DSC2037 web_DSC2027Charcuterie Plate

Chef’s selection of cheeses from around the world, accompanied by Italian salami, prosciutto, Kalamata olives, house made crackers and sherry/brown sugar reduction.


web_DSC1836 web_DSC1822Beacon Wrapped Asparagus

California grown asparagus wrapped in apple wood smoked bacon, drizzled with a Worcestershire / brown sugar reduction.




8 oz. Wagyu Patty

Grilled Patty with sautéed mushrooms and onions, heirloom tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, on a potato bun. Drizzled with Cajun tomato based aioli.


Seafood Risotto

Cajun spiced seafood risotto, with white tiger shrimp, blue swimming crab, and sea scallops.


Wagyu Ribeye

16 oz. grilled wagyu ribeye, bourbon cream sauce and sautéed summer vegetables.


Tomahawk Ribeye

16 oz. Tomahawk cut Angus ribeye, with sautéed Brussel sprouts and scalloped potatoes.


web_DSC1744 web_DSC1748Deep Fried Calamari

Breaded calamari, fried with house made French fries, and horseradish/tomato/cream sauce.


Pork Tenderloin

Roasted Bacon wrapped 8 oz. pork tenderloin, with sherry sautéed Portobello mushrooms, and a spiced mixed fruit compote.




Grilled swordfish steak with sautéed asparagus and lemon caper Beurre blanc.


Pan Seared       Ahi Tuna

10 oz. Pan seared Ahi Tuna served with wasabi and soy sauce.



Sweet Cream Cheese Puff Pastry

Deep fried donut puff pastry filled with sweet cream filling. Garnished with strawberry coulis and powdered sugar.



House made Pomegranate and strawberry sorbet with fresh seasonal fruit and a mixed berry coulis.


Bread Pudding

Deep fried mixed berry bread pudding garnished with fresh mint and powdered sugar


French Vanilla Ice Cream

Homemade traditional French vanilla ice cream served with fresh seasonal fruit.


©2015 Eric James Swearingen


Mi Peru Restauranté

Mi Peru Restauranté

For a refreshing change from the same old menus… from all places you have been before… time after time…
Try Peruvian!

Everyone seems to expect it to be ultra-spicy and over the top hot with Chili peppers, but it is not that, at all. At Mi Peru Restauranté now located at 1310 19th St, Bakersfield, CA 93301 Phone: (661) 631-1952 (formerly the site of Costa Del Sol, Mexican Restaurant) The food prepared by executive chef/owner Javier Bautista is a fantastic combination of traditional high end Peruvian cuisine and more basic provincial dishes that Grand Mama may have served with all the secret ingredients still intact. This means flavorful fresh sea food, chicken and beef dishes with savory well balanced spices from a region unlike anywhere else in the world. It can be described as a fusion of Spanish and Asian cuisine; however that does not really do it justice. It’s really best if you just go there and try it for yourself.

web__DSC4869Javier Bautista: Executive chef and owner of Mi Peru Restauranté

web__DSC4646Peru Sour
a lime infused soju cocktail; made from fresh squeezed lime juice, simple syrup and bitters with a dash of cinnamon on top.
web__DSC4665El Dueende
This cocktail is made from Aji-infused soju, fresh squeezed lime juice, passion fruit nectar, simple syrup and bitters.

web__DSC4706Chupe de Camarones
a traditional Peruvian shrimp chowder with rice and eggs.

web__DSC4771Papa a la Huancaina a classic Peruvian potato dish. It consists of potato slices covered in a delicate creamy cheese sause and Peruvian Aji Amarillo yellow peppers. web__DSC4776



Bisteck a la Chorrillana
This is a pan fried steak
smothered in sautéed onions,
peppers and tomatoes
with rice on the side.web__DSC4807
web__DSC4823Saltado Especial Chicken, beef and sea food sautéed with onions, tomatoes served with white rice and French fries. web__DSC4839



Mi Peru Restauranté

Located at 1310 19th St, Bakersfield, CA 93301
Phone: (661) 631-1952

©2015 Eric James Swearingen

Bakersfield Magazine



Spices can be interesting subject matter all on their own.

I used this opportunity to utilizes some new (OLD) props in this shot. The rustic background wood was acquired by Todd Schultz, a fellow photographer and pilot friend of mine from a 150 year old abandoned farm house in North Dakota and the serving tray was found out in the backyard shed with its greenish hue weathered patina, I thought it would work quite well in this image as juxtaposed by the red flaking paint barely remaining on the background broads, creating a kind of a “Grungy” Christmas theme. I believe the tray may have belonged to my Grand mother (miss you Nana).

The spices used are Star Anise, Cinnamon Sticks, Cloves & Pepper Corns. They would be great for Mulled wine during the Holiday Season and smelled incredible in the studio during the shoot.  The set was illuminated with a couple of Paul C. Buff White Lightning model 600s Studio strobe lights.

20151115_093810_HDR One low and from the side with a 10º grid point source light to heighten the texture and the other from above with a 24″ reflector softened by using diffusion and channeled by a 30º grid. And of course a few reflector cards bouncing a bit of light were used to fill in some of the shadows. BTW, the set up shot was taken with my new LG G4 Cell Phone camera and I have to say I am most impressed by it so far. Imagine that, a fully manual settings capable cell phone camera with built-in HDR shooting in DNG format.
Very nice!

©2015 Eric James Swearingen


Bakersfield Magazine Cover: Temblor Brewing

Temblor Brewing Company

Featured on the cover of the Fall 2015 issue of Bakersfield Magazine is Temblor Brewing Company the premiere artisan craft beer pub located at 3200 Buck Owens Blvd. in Bakersfield, CA. (661.489.4855)


This image was created using traditional studio lighting styles combined with light-painting techniques and was shot on location in the brewery after hours so that we would have control over the ambient light levels. A full complement of Paul C. Buff White Lightning strobes modulated by Chimera soft-boxes was used to illuminate the array of beer glasses in the foreground while the huge stainless steel brew tanks in the background were lit using a powerful 5000º Kelvin LED light source that was walked though the shot during the nearly two minute time exposure. The resulting picture was a careful balance in ratio to match the light levels of both techniques to create this all-in-camera (no post Photoshop) practical special effect image.

©2015 Eric James Swearingen



T.L. Maxwell’s Restaurant & Bar

Installed in the early 1920’s this is the Historic Oak Bar

T.L. Maxwell’s Restaurant & Bar is one of the finest restaurants in Bakersfield and is location in the oldest building in downtown transporting customers back in time to the magical atmosphere of the 1940s. It was built between 1895 and 1905. The restaurant has consistently attained the highest marks for service, food and atmosphere from local restaurant critic, Pete Tittl of the Bakersfield Californian news paper.

  • 1421 17th Place
    Bakersfield, CA 93301
    Tue – Fri: 5:30 pm – 9 pm
    Sat: 5:30 pm – 9 pm
  • Phone: (661) 323-6889

_DSC2601Interior of main dinning room

_DSC2603Fabulous selection of fine wines

_DSC2635The classic Cesar Salad

_DSC2668Cajun Crab Cakes with Roulade sauce

_DSC2673Pork Tenderlion

_DSC2688Pork Tenderlion


Orange Roughy Caribbean with mango, cilantro, and Rum sauce

_DSC2758Chocolate Turtle Dessert

©2015 Eric James Swearingen

Bakersfield Magazine




There is nothing more satisfying than a juicy steak char broiled on an open fire. This image depicts a classic barbecued thick cut New York steak on the grill.

The initial idea for this shot derives from the other night, when I was sitting at a camp fire as the coals burned down to mere embers. I decided to try photographing them using a Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 prime lens and my Nikon D800 @ ISO 580 around a ¼ of a second exposure time.

The next day when review the results, I thought it would be great to have a steak cooking over that fire. After a brief search though the archives I was able to find a suitable image from a previous shoot at Krush Restaurant & Bar photographed using full production lighting system, so it looked really nice and well defined. Then, I add a photoshopped grill silhouette between the steak and embers. Last thing needed to sell the images was a bit of smoke again retrieved from archived pictures. Hopefully the composite looks natural enough to pass undetected by the casual viewer and is accepted as just another production image. I think it could work well with graphics for an Advertisement.

©2015 Eric James Swearingen
#ArtofEricJames #KrushRestaurant #BakersfieldMagazine


Red Stone Pizza & Italian Grill

Red Stone Pizza & Italian Grill

Located at 9901 Hageman Rd #100, Bakersfield, CA 93312


Italian Combo Pizza: Red sauce, five blended cheeses, black olives, bell peppers, mushrooms, caramelized onions, pepperoni and Italian sausage.


Fettucine Alfredo: Fettuccine pasta tossed in Alfredo sauce made with Parmesan and garlic add chicken.



Bruschetta: Tomatoes, red onion, garlic, basil and olive oil served over toasted bread

©2015 Eric James Swearingen


…and don’t forget dessert!


Bakersfield Magazine 


Wiki’s Wine Dive & Grill

Wiki’s Wine Dive & Grill is located in the Grand Island Village shopping mall at 11350 Ming Avenue, Suite 260 in Bakersfield, CA 93311
For reservations call: 661.39WIKIS (661.399.4547)

Best described as Bakersfield’s only casual gourmet restaurant with a fun atmosphere. Wiki’s features wine pairings, gourmet food at reasonable prices, boutique wines from around the globe, plus high end wines from California at affordable pricing.  _DSC9833


Wiki’s Rice | Heirloom Tomato | Basil | Mint | Lemon Butter

_DSC9846Pork Chop

 | Sweet Corn | Mascarpone Polenta | Bing Cherry Jus

_DSC9893ANapa Pizza

 Basil Pesto | Artichoke | Sun Dried Tomato | Roasted Garlic | Mozzarella | Truffle Arugula

_DSC9898Martha’s Vineyard Salad

 Hydro Bibb Lettuce | Red Onions | Candied Walnuts | Pears | Goat Cheese | Raspberry Vinaigrette

_DSC9910_DSC9815 _DSC9918 _DSC9938_DSC9812

©2015 Eric James Swearingen



A Splash of Whiskey

High-Speed flash of approximately 1/30,000th of a second captures action of an ice cube being dropped into a glass of whiskey.

The gradient background was created with velum diffusion material illuminated with a single Paul C. Buff White Lightning model 600 monoflash using a 30º honeycomb grid and rosco 111 diffusion gel and other various color gels to make the warm orange hue. The foreground setting is a large piece of crinkled blue gel with “whiskey” spilled on to it from previous attempts of dropping the Artificial Acrylic Ice Cubes Crystal into the glass. Additional lighting was placed frame left using another White Lightning model 600 monoflash modulated through a softbox strip of 14 X 54 inches in size and a silver reflector placed on the opposite side of the glass. The “Whiskey” was actually watered down coffee that emulated the correct color of liquid. No actual whiskey was harmed in the filming of this photograph.

©2015 Eric James Swearingen


Pyrenees Café

The Pyrenees Café was originally opened in 1899 and has been an iconic Bakersfield establishment serving old-world Basque dishes from the very beginning. Recently (September of 2014) The Pyrenees Café has been rescued from decades of slow decay by its new owners Julie and Rod Crawford who have revitalized the venerable business into an invigorating new venue without compromising the traditional menu. A complete floor to ceiling restoration of the building’s interior was accomplished in short term, to revive the décor with a historic ambiance creating the perfect environment for their abundant loyal customers.

A short time ago, I had the great pleasure of photographing the new appetizer menu that has many of the favorite old traditional items as well as some innovative new culinary delights that go so well with the numerous liquid refreshments served from the historic bar in the Pyrenees saloon.
It was an all-day shoot starting around 10: AM where we set up a full studio lighting package with multiple soft boxes, reflector cards, support stands, electrical distribution cables, and a full product tool kit in a small back room adjacent to the kitchen. This made for easy delivery of each food item just at the moment of completion ensuring freshest quality products without entangling any of the patrons.
We shot non-stop though most of the day to accomplish the mission objective of photographing the thirteen item appetizer menu. Well, okay …there was of course the occasional pause after many of the really yummy ones to sample a few tastes and savor the flavors of each item knowing the incredible skills that went into preparing these delectable dishes, but this was only after confirming that we had absolutely without fail gotten the desired shot.
The fun and talented owners Julie and Rod Crawford made for a most enjoyable experience and I plan on doing many more shoots for The Pyrenees Café & Saloon very soon.

Be sure to check it out first hand if you are one of the few that have never been there before!

The Pyrenees Café & Saloon in located in the historic “Old Town Kern” area at 601 Sumner Street Bakersfield, CA 93305
And online at The Pyrenees Cafe Facebook Page for more information.


Morning Espresso

Taking the advice of Scott Libolt (a colleague photographer/Art Director and dear friend), I decided to experiment today using available light to produce food photography with the intent to give my images the appearance of occurring more naturally in the true “Still Life” style.

By carefully crafting the set in front of the glass brick window in my studio and defusing that light source with translucent white velum paper and re-directing that same light back onto the subject with just a few delicately angled thin mirror cards, the resulting image is quite satisfying. Plus, it had the additional benefit of minimizing the equipment load that is often problematic for locations shoots.

Now this is not going to work for every situation, but given that if the venue where my next location shoot takes place has the adequate window light, I may be trying this technique there. It would sure beat dragging all those studio lights, power cords and soft boxes out onto location. If I can replace them with nice lite weight reflector cards and a couple of stands, that would be great! Not to mention freeing up some time ordinarily spent setting strobe light ratios. This technique should give me even more opportunities to fine tune the details in the plated subjects.

Thanks! Scott.

©2015 Eric James Swearingen



Food Photography Portfolio (click to see)






Other Items

Venue Decor


Delicious Pastry from Westridge Market, Ojai

Westridge Market: Fruit Tart

Fruit Tart from Westridge Market Ojai, CA.
The China is Hutschenreuther of Selb Bavaria and is the 1955 Alice pattern. The Sterling silver pastry fork with mother of pearl handle is an original early 20th century Shreve’s of San Fransisco.

Nikon D800 Nikkor 24-85mm f/2.8 Macro, Nikon CLS light control.

©2015 Eric James Swearingen



Blue: MOMO KAWA Sake

I have been concentrating lately on my Food Photography and Culinary Arts portfolio. This image is of a MOMO KAWA Rice Wine (Sake) bottle photographed in studio using my new “Strip Light” soft boxes and shot with a Nikon D800 through Nikkor AF 180mm F/2.8 prime lens. Each soft box (one on either side) housed a White Lightning Ultra 1200 set to it lowest possible power so that the lens aperture could be set to F/2.8 @ 50 ISO in order to maximize the bokeh effect making the background fall way out of focus. The light splashed onto the backdrop was a done with a single White Lightning Ultra 600 set to its maximum output using a 20º Honeycomb grid and a Rosco 181 Congo Blue gel filter. There was no need for any Adobe Photoshop post-production alterations. All effects were achieve in a practical manor, using lighting and camera setting alone.
©2015 Eric James Swearingen


Krush Wine Bar & Fine Dining

Krush Wine, Bar and Restaurant,
located at 10500 Hageman Rd in Bakersfield, California

(http://www.krushbar.com/home) Call them to make reservations at: (661) 695-8018

One of the finest dining experiences in the greater Bakersfield area.  Executive Chef Bruce Tisler has created an amazingly scrumptious menu based loosely on classic French cuisine of “old School” Julia Child recipes with a modern twist. Using the finest and freshest of ingredients prepared in meticulous technical processes each course becomes an exceptional culinary experience bordering on pure perfection. The presentation of each plate is immaculate and shooting the Krush menu was a fabulous assignment yielding some of my best works in the food photography genre. Here are just a few images from that day.

Be sure to check out their web site to see even more samples of my photography.