Pizza Patron: Pizza Like a Boss


What’s the key ingredient to a really great pizza?

Is it the sauce? the cheese? the toppings?

Is it the way that the pizza crust was thinned out?

..Is it ever just one thing?

It’s hard to know, and we don’t always question it..

A good pizza seems to be the sum of all of it’s parts: the way that it was made, the quality of the ingredients, and even down to the company that you share it with..

Sometimes you just don’t know why it tastes so damn good, but it just does.


“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”



This work for Pizza Patron came about after a creative agency found some of the studio work that I created for a technology magazine, Absolute Sound.

When I first started working with Absolute Sound, I wanted to try something different.

I thought, “How can you photograph a speaker that has not been done before?”


What a key ingredient to intrigue & grasping the audiences attention..

So I played around and came up with these.




Fast forward a few months to a phone call I received from a creative agency out of Denver, Grenadier.

They found my speaker photographs and wanted to spin that concept for their upcoming campaign for Pizza Patron.

The art director searched and searched until she came across my photos and was able to envision how it could translate for an entirely different kind of concept, pizza.


She pitched the ideas to Pizza Patron, who was willing to step out of the traditional marketing approach and come on board.

Around the same time, I received a phone call from a food stylist – Darcy Folsom.

She was getting back in the game after a few years off and wanted to touch base with photographers in the area.

So there was the team, each playing their part in making this slice of life campaign come out of the mundane & come alive.

Darcy showed up – steamer in hand with Q-tips, baby scissors, and all the techniques.. She was cutting pepperonis and steaming cheese. The art direction from the creative agency was there ready to collaborate and Pizza Patron was ready to try something new.

It seemed as though there was a shared mindset, something that I try to incorporate into my daily motto.

The new standard is exceeding expectations. 


All pieces of the puzzle came together to play their part until the finished product came to life.

Even after photos were compiled, color-corrected and delivered to the client,

I still wanted to keep striving.

How can you take it one step further..?

Pizza GIFS.


What did I learn from this collaboration?

  1. Always go above & beyond – for yourself & for your client.
  2. Think outside of the box. You never know who’s looking at your work & you never know how you can spin a concept to work for you.
  3. It takes a team. We all bring our strengths & play our part to create one finished project that is far greater than something any of us could have made on our own.
  4. Exceed expectations.
  5. Make it colorful, fun & eat pizza along the way.







Client: Pizza Patron

Creative Agency: Grenadier

Photographer: Dennis Burnett

Food Stylist:Darcy Folsom

Digital Tech: Robert G. Gomez

Studio Manager: Bailey Toksoz

Retouching: Outpost Images

Real People, Real Stories

Our job as photographers, directors, and narrators is to tell a story.

There are 2 key elements to storytelling in my opinion.

  1. A story is only as good as it’s characters.
  2. A story can only have meaning if it comes through in an authentic way.


During my time working with Beef Loving Texans, I came across Vianney Rodriguez. Vianney is a food blogger, recipe developer, a mom, a wife, an entrepreneur, a teacher and a carpooler. She is also a first generation Mexican-American.

It was our job as the production team to tell Vianney’s story.
During the making of this video, Vianney’s true stories came through. She talked about the importance of taco night – a seemingly normal tradition, but it came through to be so much more than just that.  For her, taco night is a time to bring the family together and to really transcend her stories, memories, and traditions to her children. It’s a sacred time to get together and let everything else fade away.

Vianney says, “Eating dinner as a family, to me, is one of the most important things – It’s a great way to stay connected … Once taco night comes and everybody is in the house – ya no eres mama, ya no eres wife, no estas trabajando – you’re just Vianney.”

You are no longer just a mom or a wife and you are not working. You are just there, being.

You’re enjoying food with family. Everybody’s at the table and everybody’s having a great time.



It’s a pleasure to work alongside people that you can connect with on a personal level. The producer for the set was a good friend of mine, Mando Rayo. Mando has a way of attracting and connect with real individuals to bring them together to tell compelling and authentic stories.

For me, that makes all of the difference: real people, real stories.
Take a look into the story of Vianney Rodriguez.

Patillo’s Bar-B-Q & Production Process


Telling stories is truly a balancing act. The more elements that you have to juggle, the more challenging it can be to create a finished product that satisfies all involved. The goal is always to exceed the client’s expectations, tell the characters’ story with intention and grit, and walk away with your team full of pride and satisfaction. That is the all encompassing challenge.

During the production of our last Texas Beef campaign, the team rose to the occasion. We drove down to Beaumont, Texas ready to make big things happen. The idea and mission of our friends at Texas Beef was fully engrained as we stepped into Patillos, a small BBQ joint that would surely impress just about anybody. This “small BBQ joint” turned out to be much more.




When you walk into the space, you can feel the history and smell the 100 year old recipes. Patillos is the oldest family owned barbecue in state of Texas. It is a family, a culture, and a tradition for everybody from the customers, to the wait staff, all the way to the 4th generation owner, Robert Patillo.




We walked in with a small crew ready to go full speed but quickly realized that we needed to meet the pace of the restaurant happening around us.


“Patillos has given our community remembrance of a time that has passed … You can sit down at a table and eat a plate of BBQ, a pickle and onions. You just sit back and listen to the jukebox, drink a little tea and relax. Not be so fast..”


Patillos has brought the people of Beaumont together since 1912. Not only are they known for their great barbecue, but Patillos has been a symbol of community for the last four generations. It brings people out of their fast paced everyday life down to sit at a table and engage in conversation.





It was quite a task to fully capture what we wanted to make happen in the midst of a fully functioning restaurant, but we did it and I truly learned a lot. I learned that sometimes you just need to slow down and let the story unfold. I learned that it takes a meticulous effort to place the pieces of the puzzle together and it takes an impeccable team to make that happen. It was such a pleasure to meet all of the people and hear the stories of those who call this place home. If you are ever in Beaumont, Texas, Patillos Barbecue is a must.




Film: Dennis Burnett & Mando Rayo

Client: Beef Loving Texans

Still images: Robert G Gomez

Camera Op: Cory Cross

Sound: Nik Worten

For the Love of Pasta


Pasta is something that we all know and love, but there are few who appreciate the beauty more than Matteo Gallizio. I recently had the privilege of meeting Matteo, the owner of La Dolda Artisanal Pasta, a gourmet pasta boutique here in in Austin, Texas. Matteo tells a compelling story about how his business came to be. He grew up in Italy, learning the pasta making process from his mother, but continued on to open a gelato shop in his hometown. Many years down the road, Matteo and his wife work each day to preserve the traditions and ingredients of his family’s legacy here in Austin, Texas. There is nothing more inspiring to me than somebody who follows their passion to make their dreams come true. Take a look at the care and consideration that goes into each piece of pasta and hear more about Matteo’s story.