Despite the crazy snow we had the shoot must go on! Reynard; a great restaurant in Brooklyn below the Wythe Hotel, and steps from The Brooklyn Brewery. I got to work with the new chef Christina Lecki who worked under April Bloomfield in the past. The kitchen has an amazing wood-fired hearth perfect for photo backdrops. Chef Lecki is really experimenting with simple, meaningful dishes packed with honest flavors. Keeping it simple I feel is always best and not going crazy with 100 ingredients for a dish. We were there capturing all her new dishes which are seasonal. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so there was quite the array of food. My personal favorite was the Socca dish. Runner up was the bone broth soup poured table side. Delicious! Especially with the snow falling outside. The plates were made by Jono Pandolfi which had some weight and earthiness to them, tying in great with the food palate. If you haven’t been here in the past make sure to stop by soon!
I know we all love hummus but do you want to kick it up a notch? Use beets! Especially in the cold months where are body needs immune-boosting nutrients, beets are high in vitamin C, and potassium. We had a much earlier recipe posted using the greens of the beets which also are very healthy. So all around it’s a great vegetable to cook with.
This recipe is super easy and not much different than your average hummus recipe with chickpeas. What’s great about hummus is you can really cater it to your specific taste so have fun.
• 2 small roasted beets (peeled)
• 1 15-oz. can (1 3/4 cup) cooked chickpeas, mostly drained
• zest of 1 lemon
• juice of 1/2 a large lemon
• healthy pinch salt and black pepper
• 2 large cloves garlic, minced
• 2 heaping Tbsp tahini
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Roasted beets:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. loosely wrap beets in foil tossed with oil. Cook through for about 45-50 minutes. Let cool then peel and cube.
2. Once your beet is cooled and peeled place it in your food processor. Blend until only small bits remain.
3. Add remaining ingredients except for olive oil and blend until smooth.
4. Drizzle in olive oil as the hummus is mixing.
5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt, lemon juice, or olive oil if needed. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water.
6. Will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
This was such a fun day and everything went smoothly. I can’t stress enough how important pre production to a photo shoot really is. The more planning, communicating with agency, client, and team the better the day will go. We finished our shoot on time if not a little early! Also it’s really nice when you have two amazing assistants on hand. This shoot for Stevia In The Raw was highlighting their newly designed packaging for print ads across many popular food magazines in addition some very tasty recipes using the product. The hero shot was really cool because we worked with Hinge; a 2D/3D animation studio in Portland that created a really cute gingerbread man character that they placed in my photograph for the final!
For the recipes they were all amazing, but I think my personal favorite was the chocolate espresso pizzelles. The expresso buttercream sandwiched between the two pizzelles was so good! Luckily Lisa my stylist made extras, haha! Lisa did a fantastic job creating the other recipes as well. She made the gingerbread butterscotch trifle cups that created these beautiful layers. The grand finale recipe was the chocolate peppermint truffle tart. She had sourced spearmint leaves fresh from a garden that topped the tart so perfectly. It made it picture perfect! Make sure to keep an eye out for my Stevia In The Raw shots and take a minute to see our B.T.S. video.
Another year has come and gone for the Fancy Food Show in New York City. Every year there is so much buzz and energy going through the aisles showing new foods, trends, making connections, and seeing old faces. It’s such a well organized and well attended event I always look forward to writing my follow up posts.
The show comes at a unique time with the huge shake up of Amazon with Whole Foods. Some say it’s a double edged sword with this deal and the show did feel an impact. The idea of efficiency at the supermarket could disrupt the shelf space for potential food suppliers making competition more fierce. On the other hand this could open opportunities for brick and mortar as well as online retail space. Still early so we will see how things unfold!
My time at the Fancy Food show was a long and exciting Monday and into Tuesday afternoon catching up on aisles I may have missed. The layout of the show this year was a little different but in a good way because it was bigger. I always keep an open mind when looking into new products and seeing how innovative people are. One item I came across that really impressed me was The Matzo Project. I have some jewish food clients and I’ve had my fair share of matzo, but when I tried their version is was amazing. None of the dried out taste you get in traditional matzo. This was much more like a cracker and a very tasty one at that. Please check these guys out, amazing! https://www.matzoproject.com/
A poppy brand and nostalgic taste it was exciting to run into Megpie’s Booth. They are New York based but have made the leap in expanding. I know I’ve seen their colorful treats at my local Starbucks but was great to see them at the show too. I tried their blueberry tart which was oh so good. Immediately I felt like a kid again. Really if your looking to enjoy poptarts as an adult this is your breakfast or snack on the go choice. https://www.megpies.com/
Another local find was actually a friend and food stylist I know Olivia Marjoram. She has her very own hand made oatmeal cookies and sweets. The cookies have a great crunch to them and not too heavy. I could have one with ice-cream or even my morning coffee; yum! You can buy them direct from her site or find a some local shops here: http://olivias-kitchen.com/
Miyoko’s Kitchen was a stellar product I came across down stairs. I had a couple booths upstairs raving about it! All the products are vegan but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it. Miyoko Schinner set out to make the best vegan products possible to help that craving of butter and cheese. She had her first success with her book Artisan Vegan Cheese back in 2012. From that point she has produced and sold her product across the country. It was great to have her in NY showing off her amazing products. http://miyokoskitchen.com/
Now I did not get to try this product because the line was really long probably because they had an eye-catching booth and packaging. Also a ton of energy from the staff at the booth. Checking out their produce online it really looks like a all in one stop and shop quality hot dog. I really enjoy the packaging and simple approach to the concept. If you did get to try the hot dog I would love to hear about it. If you want to check it out here is where you can purchase it today: https://denshotdogs.com/#@wheretobuy
Can’t wait till next year; let me know if you will be in attendance and will try to stop by your booth.
Working with a group of creative, energetic, and talented people is what making a successful video is about. The time put into planning, executing, and producing makes that final piece all worth it. These are just some of first thoughts that come to mind working with ad agency Weber Shandwick, my food stylist Lisa Homa, props Kristine Trevino, hair and makeup Ananda Khan, camera crew of Good Boy Media, and talent Amy Castle. We produced beautiful recipe videos of the Alli brand highlighting their healthy lifestyle. The lighting throughout the pieces was bright with a natural daylight feel. We were able to produce this look for the whole day. Amy Castle’s personality shined through in these pieces running through the script with her. In the recipes we shared how easy it is to eat healthy and enjoy cooking! Check out the videos here. ALSO on my MOTION section of my website. BTS Stills by Kelvin Williams
I know poached eggs look difficult and have a delicate quality to them. If you follow some basic steps to making these you will have no problem whipping them up next time for a weekend brunch at home!
Use fresh cold eggs.
Use the right vessel to get the eggs to the pot such as a large spoon.
Use the right vessel to get the eggs out of the water such as a slotted spoon.
Recipe for making perfect poached eggs
- Fill your pot with water that comes up to the edge about 1-2inches.
- Add 1 tsp of salt and 2 tsps of white vinegar.
- Bring the water to a simmer
- Crack your very fresh and cold egg into large spoon.
**If doing 2-3 eggs swirling the water in the pot like a whirlpool then dropping the egg in the center helps keep the egg white together.
Patience: Once eggs are added to the pot turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Do Not Touch.
Remove egg with slotted spoon and serve!
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.
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.
TRIVIA ANSWER: B. BALDIES
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. If the mixture is dry, add one or two more tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7-8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn and coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 2 baking sheets.
4. In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 4 cups hot water; set aside. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda-hot water solution and place pretzels on baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
5. Bake in preheated oven until browned, about 8 minutes.
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt (for topping)
Happy Easter Weekend! It is very early this year, I almost forgot about it :) A favorite snack of mine which you can have year round but certainly pops up at the Easter table is deviled eggs. A classic recipe with variations you can choose to do. For me I may use a little white or red onion in the yolk mix. You can certainly jazz is up with sprigs of dill and even bacon bits to the recipe!
Here’s my recipe adopted from Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/classic-deviled-eggs-recipe.html
I'm so excited to be working with The Art Directors Club on a food photography workshop at their NYC headquarters. It will be an exciting day of shooting food discussing how to craft your shot providing tips and tricks! Also touch on the benefits of working with food stylists and prop stylists. At the end will have a fun critique looking at what everyone shot.
You can find more info here and register for the weekend workshop, it will be fun :)
Don't forget, ADC month of March is Photography month.
This was a great project we were able to pull together right after the Thanksgiving holiday. The client was working on a tight deadline with the restaurant having a soft opening and then opening for business start of the week! We were able to capture their authentic smoked meat dish offerings and showcase their amazing bar assortment. The restaurant had an amazing interior designed from the ground up with reclaimed wood and decor. The restaurant sat on a busy street just outside Washington D.C. It is housed with the historically preserved “EAT” sign having their own neon sign to match. Their smoke master and Food Network winner Matt Lang had some impressive dishes to share and we were excited to be apart of it.
Amazing Food Stylist: Harry McMann
In my experience I think homemade pasta does not get the attention it deserves. I feel people are intimated by the thought of making it yourself. It’s really a simple recipe with only a couple ingredients needed!
Making a well with the flour and adding the eggs was a hard thing to accomplish; I know I didn’t get it on the first try. I’ve found if your scared of making a egg mess all over your kitchen put it together in a bowl! In the end you will get the same product. Also you want extra flour on standby to flour your surface when kneading the dough.
There’s a great recipe at Food Network with directions and the amount needed for each ingredient: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/fresh-pasta-recipe.html
Summer and Fall are probably my two favorite times of the year. I really enjoy the summer for the weather and the beach! Fall because the leaves change beautiful colors, there’s pumpkin carving, and I think one of my top seasons for fruits and vegetables! Things I look out for in the Fall are apples, brussels sprouts, and figs! These are so versatile and beautiful I love experimenting with them. This year I plan on doing more savory dishes with apples and figs such as incorporating some cheese. For brussels sprouts I always bake them with cubed slab bacon which is great! However I want to change things up and try some slaw or cold salads with maybe a vinaigrette. Another reason I love this time of year is making soup. It’s cold enough where I can get away with eating soup all day.
Here are some links to get your season started:
When I began my career as a food and beverage photographer the restaurant scene was a huge part of it. I lived for the Food Network and the chefs with their competitions and daily cooking segments. Honestly I kinda still do... These are the people, along with the Food Network and other national food brands that have shaped the food scene we know today. One of the first chefs that I admired and built his roots in Philadelphia was Chef Jose Garces. I followed him in his early stages before he became well known.
The first time I met him was while I was still an assistant and the photographer I was working with had to shoot him. We photographed him at his amazing restaurant Amada in Old City. I was overly joyed and could not wait! Chef Garces was so nice and down to earth and I shamelessly got his autograph on one of his menus which I still have today in my kitchen. This was right before he aired on Iron Chef America which he won and the rest is history for him..
It was very exciting to see me come back to him and he's still the same nice guy, but this time I got to photograph him and his restaurant Distrito in Moorestown, New Jersey. One of his newer adventures in his many restaurants he's opened. The images were photographed for an article that will be running in the March 2015 New Jersey Monthly magazine.
The other week I had a fun shoot up at the Poconos at the new Guy Fieri's Mt. Pocono Kitchen that opened in the Mount Airy Casino Resort. We had the local hospitality group there, along with the Art Director from SK+G on the west coast and Guy Fieri’s personal food stylist from New York City.
Guy Fieri’s style was not overlooked at the location; the menu items were done big and tasty. The interior details of his style you could see throughout. Definitely a hot spot for friends to hang and still serve a family crowd.
We had planned to photograph the restaurants menu items as well as some ambiance shots of people dining. The official opening of the restaurant is not until September where Guy Fieri himself will be visiting.