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.
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.