Who here watches "Chopped" on the Food Network? There have been a handful of chefs from New Orleans compete on the show and by assignment or accident, I've photographed at least three or four of them. Parkway Bakery and Tavern is a well known place to grab a po-boy, and their chef, Justin Kennedy, was a contestant on Chopped that I went to photograph for an ad. I had totally forgotten that somebody from Parkway had been on the show when I got there, but as soon as I saw him I did one of those "hey, I recognize you!" jumps. He was a super nice guy, and makes a mean po-boy.
Once again I was sent across the state to photograph a handful of restaurants for inclusion in AP's Best New Restaurants cover feature. As luck would have it, the sky turned black and a ridiculous rainstorm hit as I was approaching my second stop, the Freetown Fries food truck that they wanted to use for the cover. We had a deadline to meet and I was already on the road, so I met the owner, Marla, at the truck anyway, and had my assistant keep the lights from blowing away while I stood in the rain to get the exterior shots. A lot of rain and a lot of Photoshop later and we had our cover. You'd never know, right? The weather eased up as we headed west and inside to shoot interiors and eat good food at other locations. Another long but successful day on the road!
When tasked with shooting a steakhouse cover feature for a statewide magazine, I managed to pull off another logistical miracle by scheduling times with six restaurants in one day. Oh, and there was about 750 miles of driving in there too. I love getting to meet all these restaurant owners and chefs to take pictures while they show off what they do best.
BaChi Canteen's "bacos" for a monthly food piece in St. Charles Ave. Magazine. ...delicious.
I've photographed a lot of food. A lot. There aren't many things that come my way anymore that make me do double takes, but this was definitely one of them. I was asked to shoot at Rene Bistrot over Superbowl weekend, which didn't work for me or the restaurant. By the Tuesday after the big game, we were both free enough to arrange the shoot. I knew I had to photograph anchovies, but I figured they'd be cut and removed of any fishy appearance. Not quite. I found myself at a restaurant photographing (and then eating) whole fish and baby octopi somewhere around 10am. I'll eat anything, and though I might not recommend it as a regular breakfast dish, the Portuguese anchovies and baby octopus were pretty darn tasty.
One of the cool things about doing editorial work is that I get to bounce around and see new places early on. I went to Booty's in the Marigny within a couple weeks of their opening to photograph the mofongo (a yucca fritter). It was what you'd want out of a new place - clean, nice inside, friendly owners. I have some friends that live right across the street, so it might turn into another bar stop when we're in the area. I can always use another spot with good food. Oh, and I definitely had to look up the definition of mofongo.
I was surprised that I hadn't been to Satsuma yet. It was all of five minutes from where I lived and through all the publications I'd worked for I'd been just about everywhere. But I got the call and ventured over at the end of a busy lunch rush, where they made the sandwich and juice that I had to photograph. I'm not one to drink fancy juice concoctions on a regular basis, but this one was good. I honestly have no idea what was in it, but who cares, it was refreshing. There are two locations as of now - check it out.
A while back I did a few photographs of the food at La Petite Grocery for a magazine ad. The plates looked beautiful! We also worked around the lunch crowd to get a few interior shots. I distinctly remember there being a giant wooden pig (or maybe it was a bear) at the entrance. It's New Orleans, why not? Check out La Petite Grocery here.
Such a humble name for such a fantastic dish at Borgne, New Orleans. Chef Brian Landry seemed almost apologetic when he brought it out, saying "it's not the prettiest" and "you've got your work cut out for you." I think that the apparent simplicity of it is what makes it great. Fish, cooked inside a bag to keep all the flavors and moisture in, covered with all sorts of goodies and opened just before serving, steaming and delicious. I'd photograph (and eat) stuff like this every day if I could.
I've photographed at Mike's on the Avenue a couple of times for different publications. This time it was for his amberjack skewers, which looked and smelled fantastic. Unfortunately I didn't get to eat these. Oh well, judging by what I've seen so far, I'll probably be back.
August has been a month of afternoons spent going to restaurants all over the place to photograph food of all sorts. One project alone has had me out to over 70 restaurants. It's been great to see (and in many cases eat at) so many of the amazing restaurants, cafes, diners, and bars that this city has to offer. I'll share some more work once things start getting published. Until then, I'll just be over here planning my diet for September! Update: The New Orleans restaurant guide is done and out!
This was another case of not knowing what to expect out of a dish. I was told to photograph the "charcuterie board" at Toup's Meatery and I had to look up what charcuterie even meant. It's always a pleasant surprise when they come out with a big board full of food that's both visually interesting and great tasting.
We like to have fun around here, if that hasn't become obvious yet. When I told Jenny that I'd like some cake pops instead of a traditional birthday cake, she jumped at the idea. But since we can't do anything without turning it into an art project, she decided to make the cake pops into little people and yes, little zombies. She disappeared into the kitchen to make various flavors of cake pops, carefully icing and placing each of their little eyes. I set up and lit our scene so we could take a few pictures of our creations. I always tell people that I spend a lot of time "playing" with food while I photograph it, but in this case, were literally playing with these guys, making them go after each other, picking out who we thought should survive and who should get eaten.
Dessert should always be this fun.
I had to get a cover shot for Acadiana Profile Magazine, and here's the result of one very long day on the road photographing restaurants. We might've ruined a few pizza doughs in the process of getting this shot. :)
Yes, delicious crepes suzette sitting in front of me, I'm talking to you. How can you expect me to photograph you when I'm getting scents of citrus and berries and I've been left alone in Arnaud's before opening. I haven't eaten anything yet today and the first thing I have to photograph is a dessert. I'm sorry, crepes suzette, I think in a few short minutes you'll be breakfast.
Being located on the edge of the Quarter, I've probably walked past the Palace Cafe two hundred times without ever going in. I've taken pictures of the iconic sign on the outside, but never had the urge to venture inside. Thankfully one of the magazines gave me an excuse to go inside. I had to shoot a Cobb salad (and a pretty good one at that - thick cut bacon is fantastic), and as usual I made small talk with some of the people inside while waiting on the kitchen. The interior is larger and more elaborate than I would've assumed from the outside. The upstairs walls are covered with murals and photos of musicians. If I heard correctly, the building used to be connected to music publisher P.P Werlein. I'll let wikipedia tell you about old P.P.
Half the fun of local business assignments is getting to meet and chat with the various owners, managers, waiters, or even curious customers. This shot was from Pho Tau Bay in Gretna. Honestly, the most memorable part of the shoot wasn't getting to eat the good food afterward, nor was it the patient waitress showing me what to do with Vietnamese style coffee for the millionth time. I have a distinct memory of the owner/manager resembling a damn good Vietnamese-American Elvis impersonator. Maybe it was the sideburns or just his cool mannerisms, but now I really want to go back and see if he'll give me an "uh huh."
I love photographing food, but let's face it, New Orleans isn't known for having the healthiest of menus. Often the subject is fried or cheesy, neither of which leave me with many options for incorporating color into the photographs. I pray to be assigned a fruit plate one of these days. Until then, I'll be happy with Herbsaint's salad. It's green, vibrant, pretty looking. I'll eat fried meat whenever it's available, but I prefer to look at this.
I skipped through a sudden rainstorm to get to Bayona, one of those places that's sort of hidden away on one of the lesser traveled streets of the Quarter. Soup is great to photograph when you're soaking wet. It's even better to eat when you're soaking wet.
New Orleans Magazine's Best In Dining event was recently held at Muriel's in the French Quarter. I was able to get a shot of the sweets display before a little girl walked up and started touching all of them. How do I stay thin with the constant availability of great buffet food? I just pretend that every event has one of these little food handlers and things become less appetizing. :/