Chasing The Light – Landing The Moon

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Gentleman, start your engines!

It’s important that Lorne Cousins shows up for as many events and interviews as possible. The US Ambassador for The Balvenie not only dressed impeccably in his navy pin stripe suit and bold striped tie, but arrived in style. Seriously, what’s cooler than slipping into the leather seats of a Vintage 1930s Balvenie wood-chassis Morgan convertible, driving up the coast and having the wind in your hair? That’s how he arrived for an interview with Luxury Marketing Council at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. This guy’s the Steve McQueen of whisky!

Lorne’s main goal is to put a song in your heart and laughter on your lips, literally. There’s no denying the man’s got talent. Known as the “Scottish Piper to the Stars” he’s performed with artists such as Missy Elliott and Madonna in all his kilt-wearing, bagpipe glory. After his stint with fame, he landed the job as Ambassador and never looked back. Family owned by William Grant & Sons Ltd since 1892, The Balvenie began as a secondary distillery to Glenfiddich. For the most part they only existed to create spirits that were blended with those made at Glenfiddich. The resulting blend was dubbed Grant’s Whisky. They didn’t actually produce whisky under the Balvenie name until the 1980s. The combination of growing their own barley and making their own barrels all make Balvenie a master of malt. Descendants of William Grant have produced great bottles of whisky, sealing the deal with top ambassadors like Lorne and a master distiller to ensure the world knows who they are.

Whether you drink Scotch, rye, or bourbon, you are in the company of some of the world’s finest minds and characters. Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, and James Joyce all enjoyed a dram and for the record, Winston Churchill drank whiskey and water for breakfast…and lead a nation through World War II! (the only thing this Stalker cares about is that whisky is low-carb and fat-free, so you can wear skinny jeans and drink a highball too). Lest I digress…

How about some crunchy behind the scene soundbites? Upon arriving to the Terranea Sales Office, they had no idea about a Morgan car photo shoot. Lost in translation as they say, but yes, the lovely private villa would be ready. I hopped into a luxury style plastic covered golf cart with my guide; sprawling the grounds to secure a location for our shoot. This task was more aerobic, requiring stamina and above all, agility, as I had to race to each location, darting in and out of said golf cart, and not gracefully mind you. I had to determine exactly when sun would set and I would lose my light. Perhaps the dirt lot next to the restaurant with twinkling outdoor lights would be ideal or the garden arbor overlooking the Pacific ocean. Maybe the ocean side cliff with Batman caves in the distance or the fountain at the main entrance to the Terranea Resort. The clock was ticking and dusk was upon us…

What do you get when you have a Morgan without Navigation and a dead cell phone? Someone lost and late. My palms were starting to sweat as the sun was going down faster than Burton’s marriages to Taylor! Lorne arrived and we jumped into action. “Move the car here, turn the wheels this way, lift your chin, look at me, look away, hold the suitcase”! All the while I hopped up and down my flimsy ladder calculating those shutter speeds. After shots at the fountain, it was a mad dash to the point. I wanted to drive that 4 speed stick shift Morgan more than whatshername wants to twerk, but it was so low that my knuckles might drag the ground, and there was no room for my lucite heels the size of a Dubai skyscraper! I needed to rein in my appetite for the perfect photo and get the job done, pronto. Resort guests looked on in amazement as we drove down the narrow walkway to the point (now I know how Elizabeth Taylor felt in the film Endless Summer in Costa Brava). “Park here, back up, fold your arms, look over the seat, open the too”. So many poses, so little time.

What was that circular shaped thing slowly appearing in the sky? Was it a bird, a plane? Hell no! From my perfect vantage point there it was…that magical Blood Red Moon. Appearing out of nowhere, slowly peeking through my view finder. Are you kidding me? Had Lorne been on time we would have left this location an hour ago. Confident I had gotten the shots…I earned my photography badge of merit.

The light music of whiskey falling into a glass for a tasting with Mr. Scottish Piper to the stars and a Balvenie custom Morgan at dusk — an agreeable interlude indeed.

Bartender, pour me a dram! I know, one shouldn’t be drinking on the job, (hence the staircase image) but go ahead, stop and sip the whisky – you’ll be glad you did!

* Sandie Ward is Contributing Editor for Luxury Marketing Council.                                               Lorne Cousins/Balvenie interview here:

“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers



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    • thefoodstalker

      May 28, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and following the zany adventures of The Food Stalker. Let us know suggestions for what we should uncover next….Engage, Inspire, Indulge

With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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