Pizza | Layla Mays Nashville Food Photographer

It's summer time! The perfect time of year to make pizzas with your grill or pizza oven. Kirsten Pohle and I were inspired to make and shoot some of our favorite pizzas with my outdoor pizza oven. And yes, we did get to eat them too! 

Grape + brie + arugula

Grape + brie + arugula

Prosciutto + arugula + sun dried tomato + burrata 

Prosciutto + arugula + sun dried tomato + burrata 

Heirloom tomato + cherry tomato + garlic white sauce + basil + oregano

Heirloom tomato + cherry tomato + garlic white sauce + basil + oregano

Now Open: Mangia Nashville Focacceria

Mangia Nashville is a new fast casual Italian restaurant which has opened in the up and coming Melrose neighborhood in Nashville. The new lunch and dinner menu includes authentic Italian eats like the foccaccia pizzas and vibrant appetizers. Featured on the menu is a unique black carbon foccaccia. Ask chef Nick Pellegrino about the story behind the black carbon pizzas. Check out the photos of all the amazing dishes I've eaten so far. Warning! These pictures will make you hungry!

Porchetta Focaccia Pizza with a fried egg

Appetizer plate with fried grilled cheese, chickpea bread, proscuitto, arancini, fresh mozzarella, black carbon and traditional crostinis 

Rosemary's Bambino house-made specialty cocktail

White bean hummus with traditional and black carbon crostini

Tuscan chips with pomodoro sauce and basil mayo

Arancini- fried cream rice balls with marinara sauce on a bed of arugula

Food Photography Shoot with Kirsten Pohle

I recently shot with food and prop stylist Kirsten Pohle. We were inspired to create simple and healthy dishes with a pop of color. Want to make the dishes featured in the photos? See the recipes at the end of the post!

Recipes provided by Kirsten Pohle

Toast with Ricotti, Pesto and Tomatoes:

Homemade Pesto Recipe:


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese


Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.


Wash, dry and half cherry tomatoes. Saute in pan with olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian season until tomatoes are slightly soft. 

Lightly toast pieces of french baguette or ciabatta. Spread ricotta on toast. Add a dollop of pesto and top with a few pieces of tomato.


Preheat over to 375 Degrees. Wash and dry asparagus. Cut off ends of asparagus. Place on pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Dust with salt, cracked pepper, garlic salt and cayanne. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Place in oven and roast for approximately 10 minutes or until asparagus is slightly tender.

Sweet Summer Berries

It has finally started to warm up in Nashville. I have been dreaming about warm weather and summer berries all winter long. Recently, stylist Kirsten Pohle and I teamed up to create a food story with sweet dishes featuring colorful berries. As a plus, our image of berries and cream (below) was featured on the Huffington Post lifestyle Instagram account. What are your favorite recipes with summer berries?

Recipe Provided by Kirsten Pohle

Whipped Cream and Berries:


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Chill the clean bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, you can use a hand whisk and a large chilled bowl. Whisk all of the ingredients until medium peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes.)

Wash and cut up berries of your choosing. Serve berries in a bowl and top with home made whipped cream.

Blueberry Tart

Recipe provided by stylist Kirsten Pohle


For the Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the Filling

  • 6 cups (six 1/2-pint containers) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter; process until large moist crumbs form (dough should hold together when squeezed). 
  2. Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom; with floured fingers, press evenly into bottom and up sides. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes; prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes; cool completely. 
  3. Meanwhile, reserve 1 cup of the prettiest berries for topping. In a medium saucepan, bring 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups berries to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down, 3 to 4 minutes. 
  4. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water; stir into berries in pan. Add lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, just until mixture begins to thicken, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 3 1/2 cups fresh berries. Immediately pour hot berry mixture into cooled tart shell, and smooth with a spatula. 
  5. Immediately pour hot berry mixture into cooled tart shell, and smooth with a spatula. Scatter reserved berries on top, pressing down lightly to help them adhere. Refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes and up to overnight. 
  6. Top with lemon zest before serving.


Sprinkles Cupcakes is Now Open in Nashville

I am excited to share that Sprinkles has just opened their first location in Nashville!  Sprinkles is very unique because they offer a variety of gourmet flavors and an ATM to grab a cupcake on the go.  I was able to attend a preview party at their new location where I got to sample their different cupcake options.  My favorites were banana peanut butter, red velvet, lemon coconut, and dark chocolate which are all pictured below.  Make sure to check it out!

The Lemon Coconut Cupcake.

Thank you Sprinkles for sending me home with some goodies!

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