It was so exciting to get the call for a new push Aramark was doing for their annual report and other advertising outlets. They wanted something fresh and to really "raise the bar" on their offerings to potiental clients. They are the 2nd largest in the food business in North America and have clients all over in different capacities. We had a day of shooting food items on different surfaces creating unique environments. Debbie Wahl handled the food styling and Lisa Russell did props. The agency creative flew in from California and Aramark came to the shoot. We had a lot of fun and came out with really exciting work! You can see a little B.T.S. below.
Pears are a great alternate to apples and can be available in the summer and winter. They are great for table presentations and just as easy to cook with. Poaching is cooking in a gently-heated liquid. It’s not just boiling water like poaching eggs. With this method of cooking the liquid can be stock, wine, or another sugar mixture. You can use different types of fruit like pears. Personally I thought it would be pretty to top the bundt cake with poached pears and drizzle with the poaching liquid over top! The French word for this is “Frissonne”, meaning that the liquid should be just hot enough to make the surface shiver.
3 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 bosc pears (peeled)
1 star anise
Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon, and star anise in saucepan over low heat. Cook stirring for 2 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Add the pears and cook covered for 15 minutes or until soft. Use a slotted spoon to remove.
Take the liquid in the pot and transfer to a pan and boil high uncovered for 15 minutes until reduced to half.
Drizzle syrup over pears (or bundt cake) and serve
What an exciting end of the year. It’s certainly not slowing down! I had a great shoot with a favorite past client of mine, Alouette Cheese between Christmas and the New Year. They have been putting out some great new lines of cheese and also creating some nice recipes with their products. We shot 2 days in studio photographing some fun and refreshing recipes using various cheeses of theirs.
A personal favorite I think was their brie wheel. It was wrapped and baked in a Pillsbury dough and came out like a pull-apart bread. The brie inside was warm and gooey. If you really wanted to take it up a notch dip it in the cranberry sauce paired with it. It really was tasty and a perfect choice for a holiday appetizer. Another recipe idea was using one of their cheese dips to fill the bottom of glasses then pair on top with some cut vegetables. It’s a cute and fun way to serve it at your next party.
Check out some B.T.S. having fun with cheese! :)
Happy New Year and looking forward to 2017 projects!
The holidays are an exciting time with the music, snow, gift shopping, and seasonal cocktails. It was exciting when a friend and photo editor reached out to me for a project for Village Voice! Myself and food stylist Jill Keller got to go around to 6 different bars in New York photographing 6 signature drinks the bar and bartenders worked on. Also it was great to reference if you wanted to try and make it at home for yourself. Each bar was very unique and fun to check out. I think my personal favorite was Miracle On 9th Street pop up bar by Nico de Soto. The bar was decorated like my grandma’s house around the holidays. There were so many nostalgic Christmas decorations. The drinks were served in these cute cups that looked like Santa. It was really exciting because after the story ran Bon Appetit Magazine was also doing coverage of the bar! Nico was doing live demo of making the drinks. I got to work with talented food stylists Jill Keller and we hopped around town going to each bar. It was fun!
Bermuda as they would say was Bermudaful! Any vacation or excuse to get away and relax is a good one. When going into a foreign country I like to keep an open mind and open schedule and really just let the culture guide me. Bermuda is a British territory in the North Atlantic. There is a distinct blend of British and American culture. Everyone on the island is friendly, and everyone knows each other. There was no language barrier, and with everyone being helpful and kind it was a easy place to get around. What I was looking forward to other than the amazing views was the food. Fish is a big competent to the island which makes sense. It was only natural to have their amazing fish chowder. Another great fish dish I had was the local famous fish sandwich from Fish and Tings. Wow! I could not finish this. There were a handful of places on the island that did make this sandwich but I’m glad I went with Fish and Tings because they also had amazing jerk chicken. The fish sandwich traditionally is made with coco bread and filled to the gills (pun intended) with fried fresh fish. Also on the sandwich was lettuce, tomato, and tarter sauce. Yum!
Overall the food and restaurants were great. I also had dinner at the Pickled Onion and Hog Penny. As far as I had British food I would have to say Hog Penny was the best. I had an amazing yorkshire pudding dinner which really hit the spot after all my rum drinking! haha. The local Gosling’s Rum was great in Eggnog and the signature rum swizzle. Another big drink on the island was the dark and stormy.
There were plenty of places and food I did not get to try but you can only fit in so much when you do have the time. So I will certainly be planning a trip back and if you haven’t been I highly recommend it. Did I mention it’s only about a 2 hour flight?!
How did Thanksgiving start? We gather each year with family and friends on this day sharing in big feasts but do we take the time to learn its roots?
In 1620 the Mayflower, a ship from Plymouth, England went on a journey seeking a new home to practice their faith freely. After a long and treacherous journey it brought them to the New World and landed at Cape Cod. Their first winter there was very brutal and lives were lost. Once March approached the remaining ship crew; the pilgrims came ashore to settle. The Native Americans who lived there helped and taught the pilgrims how to cultivate corn, catch fish among other helpful survival tactics. The next year the pilgrim’s had their first successful corn harvest that called for a celebration! That celebratory feast was the first unofficial Thanksgiving that we know today. Source: History.com
A lot of my work takes me to the studio photographing recipes, and advertising work. Sometimes however I get to work on location! There was a new restaurant opening; really the first of it’s kind I’ve seen in the U.S. specializing in poutine. This new concept was in need of some professional photography. The buzz about this restaurant opening was growing quickly and they needed photography for their menu, website, and PR releases. Their current images were snap shots from their phone and were not of great quality. The graphic designer of the restaurant found me and thought I would be a good fit. How could I say no to a fun place like this.
Not everyone is familiar with this amazing treat but poutine originates from Canada, actually where the owners found the idea in the first place. The basic recipe consists of fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. This restaurant has taken it to another level with several other combinations any late night go-er would want or even a lunch rush option. We used to day of shooting to capture their different varieties of poutine as well as a couple slider options they were offering. The franchisee that was there mentioned sliders weren’t as popular and were hoping to create a new need for them. They were simple but delicious and not your normal thing you could order. Also another unique and tasty item they offered were milkshakes! You cannot go wrong with a “Tommy Like Wingy” poutine with a Little Baby’s Ice Cream milkshake; heaven!
While we were there and with brown paper still on the facade people were still asking if we were open yet?? I think they will be very successful in their poutine business.
One thing that photographers can relate to is having access to situations and events in everyday life that not everyone sees. We have an opportunity to tell stories from our perspective and share with an audience. This happened to me the other day; being able to document a chicken slaughtering. I found out about this through one of the farms I’ve been working with for over a year. This only happens a certain time of year when their free-range chickens have grown large enough to be sold and used at their facilities. **Photo gallery has some graphic content**
When I arrived at the farm the sun was just rising and the foggy clouds were clearing; it was going to be a gorgeous day for photography. The outdoor mobile trailer was just pulling up to the gravel lot where the farmer’s towering crates of live chickens were waiting. Out of the mobile trailer comes the owner and operator of his chicken and turkey processing company. He has been doing this for over 5 years. There was certainly a process and systematic setup before diving into the chicken cages. Everything must be sterilized.
First he organized the inside of the trailer with buckets being pulled out under the drains, then getting the water running in his sinks to a boiling temperature, and using lots of soap to make sure everything was clean. Then he puts on his rubber apron along with rubber gloves. His knifes and sharpening tools were laid out on the metal counter that he used to break down the chickens after their bath and plucking.
Their was a row of upside down cones where the chickens went in head first. He would pull the chicken from the crate one at a time and put them in there. He would then pull the head through the bottom of the cone and cut off the chicken’s head. The chicken still moved after removing the head. The heart would still be pumping which allowed the chicken to bleed out more efficiently. The blood would drain into a large metal bay which was under the row of cones.
Once the chicken had been drained enough he would then put them into a rotating hot water and soap bath to help with cleaning and loosening the feathers from the skin. After that process the chickens would go into a rotating tub that had rubber prongs throughout. When that was turned on it would spin the chickens quickly and remove all the feathers completely from the body. When he pulled the chickens from that they would be clean and ready for breakdown.
Important parts of the chicken that need to be removed at this point is the oil gland. If this is not removed it can spoil the meat. Other parts of the chicken being removed are the feet, and esophagus. You cut open the chicken’s body just to open it and not hit the intestines. Then carefully remove the insides including gizzard, and lungs. After this process is done the chickens get cooled in cold water and placed into refrigeration.
I've finally found some time to gather some of my tears and advertising work I've done over the years. It's exciting to go back to some of my older work and see how my current work compares! Can't wait to create more new work for my clients and continue to update my commissioned section. I currently have some projects in the works and plan to add those in the coming months.
What a great ride this weekend for the MS150 City To Shore event. If you ride the event you know how anxious it is to get started. This year I managed to get to the front of the shoot and rolled out about 6:35AM! I completed the century loop (100 mile ride) and arrived to cheers at Ocean City about 1:30? Then Sunday morning for the 2nd day, and the ride back (only 80 miles) to Woodcrest, NJ; the starting point I arrived around 12:15. So far our team has raised $8,868.55 GO TEAM SQUASH!! There’s always time to donate, help today!
When you make a donation, you are changing the world for people affected by MS. Symptoms of MS range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million worldwide, and there is not yet a cure. Every dollar raised matters to those affected by MS. Thank you for your support.
Conceptual projects for me come together through daily experiences and things I see that inspire. I really want to develop some unique “mini” series of conceptual shoots that show another side of my capabilities to clients and potential clients. My latest series Condiments really came together nicely. My vision and what I wanted to accomplish with colors, lighting, and camera angle happened exactly the way I envisioned. Constantly practicing the craft can really pay off.
The list of condiments was an ongoing discussion of just using the weirdest condiments in the world, to unique condiments, then to iconic condiments. I have others on the list and if you see any I should photograph I would love to hear your thoughts!
For this particular series I really want to put together a special promotional piece at the end of the year showcasing these images and include a little leave behind that represents the idea.
What a great crew to work with. This past shoot working with Cheese Connoisseur and Grana Padano from Italy was such a blast. These type of projects remind me how fun my job is! We created various recipes using Grana Padano cheese product for the next issue of Cheese Connoisseur and for use directly with Grana Padano. These recipes showed how versatile a savory cheese can be. Some of the recipes we photographed were quesadillas, farrow salad, and apple galette. The mixture of the melted cheese with these acidic foods really worked well. The cheese itself was good on its own and created beautiful toppings to the dishes. For the photo shoot these Grana Padano cheese wheels and cuts were hand picked from Italy and delivered to the states for this shoot. They take their product very seriously and are proud of what it is all about. That type of passion for food really speaks levels and made the day all that much better. The beautiful cheese rinds were apparent in every photo, so you know to use the best when making these recipes. To finish out the day we did a gorgeous stack of cheeses with a rich slate as the background and a huge rustic chopping block as the base. This translated to authentic Italian.
I was able to try and practice my Italian at the end of the shoot, and sure enough I still need practice.
It’s summer so why not steam some crabs. Old Bay seasoning is the only way to go when making these. Seafood can be intimidating to make but these are actually easy to cook.
Here’s a basic recipe for making steamed crabs:
Add 1 1/2 cups water, lager, apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons Old Bay to the bottom of the pot. Whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Layer the crabs in the steamer insert, generously sprinkling with Old Bay on each layer of crabs. Cover the pot and steam the crabs for 30 minutes.
I also added corn on the cobs cut in half and fingerling potatoes at the top!
Where did we leave off? Oh yes! Amazing food…
Other than chocolates, condiments, and cheese the snack food options were extensive. Personally if I really need to snack or have something savory it has to be a type of cracker or chip. Popcorn is hard for me to eat unless it’s at the movies so this review is certainly a personal preference. At the end of one of the aisles a big bright display of Way Better Snacks was calling my name. The bright neon display and modern design of these chips was really cool. Their actual branding on their bags was very easy to read and nicely put together. What made this a top pick for me was their choice of ingredients. They sprout their own seeds and make this great cracker base of flax, quinoa, and chia. At the show I tried their sweet potato chip and it was so good! Also this brand sold a sriracha flavor. They provided me with a media kit on a really cool USB reiterating their branding.
Something else I came across that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before was canned chicken! Not chicken of the sea…tuna but actual canned chicken! For me I eat healthy and have a pretty consistence diet. Beside eating tuna fish, chicken is up there in my meals. What deters me from making chicken is the whole process of making it. I get boneless skinless chicken breasts and pan sear or bake when I want. I have to grease the pan and then make dishes to wash. Or I will buy a rotisserie chicken then have to separate from the bones wasting some food and still making a mess. The canned chicken is just as easy and opening a can of tuna. I was able to try the chicken and it tasted fresh. The brand is called Wild Planet and the sales person said they carry it at Whole Foods. I’ll have to look for this next time, also she gave me some coupons. Other products they make is canned tuna, sardines, but canned chicken was pretty unique.
On a different food note, there was a modest chef and his team making jambalaya and sampling it. Wow! I was blown away! It was jarred and on it said “As Seen on Food Network Best Thing I Ever Ate” They weren’t kidding. I haven’t had too much jambalaya in my life but this stuff was amazing and easy to prep. The product was called Raz’z Foods.
Other notable moments from this year’s Fancy Food Show was the intense soccer game between Spain and Italy. For a couple hours during the show everyone seemed to forget about it and just watch the game. It was quite comical to see. In the end Italy won! Sunday night was the opening night for the show and with that they had a great party. There was music, passed appetizers, open bar, and more food! haha.
Another great year at the Fancy Food Show in New York City. Once again I was overwhelmed with the innovative food and beverages that came out. There is a real passion for food from the people that come out to this event. It’s not just about getting your product noticed but being excited to share what you have created and to make a difference. The quantity of vendors are hard to cover closely over just 3 days. You certainly have to go in with a plan on what your looking for and what to accomplish.
I feel my first takeaways or what I noticed overall at the event was the several different types of chocolate vendors. There’s nothing wrong with chocolate but there was a lot of show for that this year! Another condiment I noticed that still is very popular but has more varieties of it is Sriracha. The one brand that stood out to me the most was the local New York Bushwick Kitchen brands. I remember them from last year and their booth and packaging are very easy to read. Less is more I always think. I tried their Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha which had a great flavor and texture! It wasn’t a smooth sauce which was unique in a good way. Another brand of sauce that I really liked and is also a newer brand at the show was Fix Hot Sauce. They had a Sriracha sauce that was really amazing! I see this brand going far.
There were plenty more condiments I came across and was in abundance just like the chocolate. Last year’s big condiment; Sir Kensington was featuring their new vegan mayo this year called Fabanaise. It was made with the juice aquafaba which you find in cans of chickpeas.
When it came to branding that stood out, and bonus if it was really tasty Slap Ya Mama Cajun products took the gold. I couldn’t stop laughing to myself about that name. The way it sounded and with it’s southern personality was just funny! I tried their Cajun pepper sauce which was so flavorful and perfect spicy. The sales guy told me, if you had a little butter you have your perfect buffalo sauce, and he was right. I was able to take home some seasoning packets, can’t wait to use those. Other brands and booths did jump out. There are so many vendors who have to have something unique about your product to catch my eye. One product that had classy and well designed packaging was Suckerpunch. The mix of color and old world illustration looked really nice. They were sampling some of their pickles which were really good. A cocktail mix Bittermilk also had some impressive design. Same idea of the old world look but with a modern approach. The mixtures were good, I sampled their Tom Collins. An extension of the brand that was also there and had good design was their brand Tippleman’s.
Another big showmanship at the event was gingerbeer. Who would of thought, I feel every year there are a couple more companies there selling gingerbeer. It’s all very good and could be the new soda before we know it. Of the several gingerbeers I saw and tried I will have to mention Top Note. They recently re-did their branding which was well thought out. The color schemes was interesting but worked well. The product itself was very tasty too.
This show has a lot to cover, I just mentioned some of the US offerings above. Their international reach is another overwhelming factor. I have a little more to say and will have in another post.
It was great to work with the C-K Team again on a new advertising campaign for BFresh Supermarkets. These cool new hip supermarkets cater to a very specific niche in the market which is fresh, affordable without compromising quality. The designers, myself, and client worked closely to create food shots that best represent what BFresh has to offer by using their actual products and way it is prepared. These images will be used for advertising in print and online. C-K created these cute illustration fruits and vegetables that will be in the layout with the final food shots.
Just wanted to share a quick recap from a recent shoot for New Jersey Monthly! They asked me to shoot this charming restaurant near Asbury Park, New Jersey called Cave, A Paleo Eatery. I’m always interested in different diet plans people choose to live by and Paleo is certainly one many people know! It was great chatting with Chef Doug Stehle; chef and owner of the restaurant who eats a Paleo diet and runs his restaurant as one. The staff was super friendly and excited to see me there taking photos. The restaurant itself used to be owned by a antique dealer and when it was sold to Doug the previous owner still had some items there for sale. It gave the restaurant a unique feel. Also Doug is a surfer and being near the ocean there was appropriately placed surf boards he owned decorating the restaurant! All the items on his menu were dairy and gluten free. I tasted a couple things from the menu and I have to say their desserts were nothing like I had before. Their brownie was so rich and packed with chocolate it was the best thing I’ve ever had. There was also bacon on top! It probably took me 2 or 3 sittings to actually finish it. Also the chocolate chip cookies were stuffed with chocolate chips and the cookie itself was soft just like a homemade cookie. If you make a trip this way I would certainly stop in for lunch or dinner.
How was your Memorial Day weekend? What type of grilling did you tackle? For us we did a nice dry rub spare rib recipe. Color is always important and using the right amount of paprika really makes a difference. These were also on the spicy side, a nice change up from the usual BBQ sauce rub.
-1/2 cup turbino sugar
-1/4 cup normal paprika
-1/4 cup smoked paprika
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon pepper
-1 tablespoon onion powder
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1/2 teaspoon ground thyme heaping
-1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaves sparingly
-yellow mustard rubbed on base of meat (makes the seasoning stick!)
*Let it soak overnight in fridge
-Baked 300 degrees 3 hours cover in foil
- Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes
Pesto is a great addition to any pasta dish. Pesto can be high in fat with the oils and pine nuts mixed into it so you have to take it in small amounts. To help lighten your meal use a whole grain pasta instead of a white pasta. In addition to pasta you can use pesto on chicken, crusty bread, or a spread for a sandwich. If you want to have pasta but a sauce that’s a healthier option it’s best to stick with a tomato sauce.
What goes into a basic pesto sauce?
Find a great recipe at Food Network.