There’s nothing better than a girls weekend away from the crowds, the internet, and just about everything else. My friends decided to spend some time with nature, so we packed our bags and headed out to Zion National park in Utah for some hiking and exploration. Though the hikes were tough and tiring, they were beautiful beyond belief, and we’d do it again in a heartbeat. All the sweat and water breaks were worth the amazing views we got to see, and while speaking of views, don’t even get me started on watching the stars at night. There’s nothing like gazing into the seemingly endless sky alongside some of your closest companions. Overall, it’ll be a trip that we will never forget!
Being a food-tographer, one of the many perks is being able to meet some of the culinary masters of our time. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Tyler Atwell of the Lafayette Bakery in New York. The Lafayette is a cafe and bakery which celebrates French cuisine by providing both traditional and contemporary takes on it. The place has a warm and welcoming atmosphere which matches the warm feeling that comes with eating the food. Both Atwell’s pastries and his stories were worth the visit, and I will be sure to come back soon!
It’s always a joy to see chefs give back to the culinary community, and I was lucky enough to be able to part of an event where they did just that! The De Gustibus Cooking School, a school that holds classes and culinary performances, visited The Pierre at the Taj Hotel for a lesson from one of the finest: Ashfer Biju. Executive Chef Biju and his team demonstrated and taught various techniques and skills for cooking anything ranging from fish to dessert. It was awesome to see the professionals and visitors bond over their common passion for the culinary arts.
When thinking of the legends of the food industry, Jacques Pepin is one of the first who comes to mind. In addition to his many published books and television shows, Pepin also holds one of the dean positions at ICC. I had previously photographed his demos and seen him around school, but I was honored when he invited me to photographed a special event. Pepin’s foundation, the Jacques Pepin Foundation, provides culinary experience and resources for the unemployed. On January 11th, the foundation held their Inaugural Benefit, where several culinary stars came to raise money for culinary education. It was an amazing experience for a great cause. Check out the foundation’s work at https://jp.foundation/
From modeling to designing, fashion branches into many directions and worlds, similar to photography. My friend Deanna started a fashion blog in 2016 to share her love of fashion with her followers. We traveled to Hoboken in search of some cool backgrounds to pair with her outfits. By playing off colors and elements off of the clothes and the scenery, we managed to get some great looks! Check out her latest work at www.everythingdee.com and on her instagram @everything.dee !
Sometimes being a photographer shifts into being a food-tographer! On my trip to Italy, I was lucky enough to be able to go on a walking food tour around Rome. For foodies like us, it was an awesome experience, and really added to our understanding of the culture. Though you can never go wrong with New York pizza, getting to taste authentic Italian meals ranging from mouthwatering deli meats, pizza fresh out of the oven, and my favorite, gelato, was a real treat. Of course, we got to pair the delicious treats with wine... a lot of it! All in all, it was, as the Italians say, una bella giornata!
Outside of food photography, I have a deep rooted passion for boating. Luckily for me, I was able to “seas” the day by attending a sailing race and capturing the race as it proceeded. The City Island Yacht Club holds sailing racing throughout the season, which I was very excited to attend. Though I have photographed several sporting events, I had never photographed sailing, so I didn’t know what to expect. Knowing that I loved sports and boats, I assumed that it would be a win-win for me, and it was. From the excitement of the sport itself, to the beautiful views on the water, it was an amazing experience.
It is said that if you do what you love, you don’t work a day of your life. Chef Douglas Hernandez, executive pastry chef of Oceana New York, is the prime example of this mantra. When students were given a tour of the restaurant kitchens, Hernandez described the fast paced environment that inhabits the workspace. Being a chef for many years and working at many high-end restaurants has proved to Hernandez that without passion, work is impossible. He talked a great deal about how working in a kitchen pushes people, and tests both their mental and physical strength. If I learned anything from this amazing experience it’s that when you are a chef, you have to love what you do, because it takes so much out of you.
In May 2016, I received a phone call from Miles Saggau, that he had an idea. He wanted to discuss with me a book he had recently read written by Jesse Itzler "Living With A Seal", where Jesse learns the meaning of the "40% rule" by former Navy Seal and trainer, David Goggins. I had the privilege of documenting Mile's journey.
Sometimes spur of the moment decisions end up being the ones that create the best long-lasting memories. When I visited Iceland with two of my closest friends, as a result of a spontaneous decision, I was lucky enough to have my camera to capture these moments. Together, we immersed ourselves in the beauty and culture of the country. From the massive glaciers and waterfalls we gawked over, to the beautiful black sand beaches, Iceland’s amazing landforms left an impression on our group. In addition, to get the full experience, we explored the town where we were staying, and ate with locals. To get a glimpse of our trip, be sure to check out the Shop for prints!
Eisenhower once said, “Some people wanted champagne and caviar when they should have had beer and hot dogs.” At Strong Rope Brewery, giving the people beer is an everyday occurrence, however in April, Award winning chef Louise Leonard came together with the SRB crew to make a collaborative dinner. I had met Louise Leonard at ICC, where she taught a food styling class. Coincidentally, a few weeks later, I got an email from her asking if I could photograph this dinner collaboration. The event included a four course family style meal prepared by Leonard, with beer pairings by SRB. Overall, an amazing event with great eats and good people.
The International Culinary Center boasts many influential alumni. I got the privilege of visiting three outstanding alumni in their workspaces and documenting their everyday routines, as well as taking portraits of them. Susanna Yoon, the Head Chocolatier and Founder of Stick with me Sweets, described how she was inspired by the outside world in the creation of her sweets. Her attention to detail came through in the design of the shop, and the confections inside. Similarly, Rhonda Crosson, Head Baker at Meyers USA in Grand Central Station, exhibits perfection in her bread baking. In addition to being an expert baker, she also enjoys travel. Finally, Jhonel Faelnar, Sommelier at The NoMad, encompassed the cool vibe of the restaurant. With its open bar area, rich atmosphere, and eccentric lighting, the venue transported us into another mindset. Faelnar is an expert on wine, and is happy to be able to work with his passion. It was a pleasure to work with such talented individuals and get a glimpse into what makes them who they are.