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Sheraton Parsippany

I wanted to share a few pics from a recent shoot in New Jersey at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel. They have just renovated their restaurant, Amuse, and the food and hospitality is fantastic. I highly recommend staying there if you are in the area or book a group if you have a corporate meeting coming up.

 

 

Jamtastic!

Very happy to spread the Jam with my friends Ross and Danine of Jamtastic, for their new Website http://www.jamtasticjam.com.

A Slice of Heaven

Of all the photo shoots I do throughout the year for clients, when I get a call from a restaurant owner to come shoot their food and their restaurant I get excited. It’s really the thing I enjoy doing the most.

These are some of my favorites for a series of shoots I did for Baba Louie’s. The owners, Eileen and Paul Masiero just get it, and like any successful restauranteurs they start with fresh ingredients, and in my humble opinion make the best pizza in the area. They have set up a bakery which pre-bakes the sourdough crusts fresh everyday for the 3 area restaurants, as well as bread for the sandwiches and dinner rolls. I am a sucker for great pizza and have been striving to bake the perfect pizza at home, but I can’t hold a candle to what Baba Louie’s is doing. The crust is perfect, thin and crispy and the toppings are loaded thick with fresh toppings and cooked with a hot wood-fired oven. The sandwiches, salads, and pasta specials are just as good, but the pizza menu is all I look at when I’m there. My favorite is the “Isabella” with roasted sweet potatoes, roasted parsnips, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella and shaved fennel, drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar and parmesan. It’s simply a slice of heaven.

If a client tells me their customers love the food photos on their website and had to come in no matter the weather outside on a dark night, then I know I’ve done my job. And I love my job.

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Rub Recipe for Grilled Shrimp

I’ve been letting my blog posts fall behind over the summer and since it’s Labor Day—the default end of the season—I thought I’d squeeze in a BBQ shoot that we did earlier this spring for the Rioja Tames the Flame recipe booklet. For me grilling doesn’t end with summer, I grill as long as I don’t have to shovel that much to get to the grill. In fact when I drove down to the North Fork of Long Island from Vermont to do the shoot I had to weather a major nor’easter snow storm and was questioning my sanity by being on the roads. Luckily on the day of the shoot the clouds parted and we had an enjoyable day at the grill and in the kitchen. This was one of 5 recipes we shot over two days and this rub will work just as well with fresh fish or vegetables. Be sure to Visit VibrantRioja.com for more info on their fantastic wines and pairing suggestions.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon dried lemon peel
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

Instructions:
In a small bowl, mix all ingredients. To use on shrimp , add shrimp to bowl and toss until well-coated. To use on fish, pour spice mixture onto a plate or cutting board; press skinless side of fish into spices to create a crust. White fish works best. Allow to rest at least 20 minutes before grilling. This rub may also be used on vegetables.

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In the studio—Culture Magazine shoot

In this age of ever-growing demand for digital content for Web sites, e-publications, and mobile media, it’s still very satisfying to see my work in print. So when I was contacted to shoot for the Fall issue of Culture Magazine and get to collaborate with my talented foodie-friends Elaine Khosrova and Emily Gold, I couldn’t wait to get started.

The photos were used for a wine-paring insert into the Fall issue, and the five recipes that Emily prepared were:
Spicy Roasted Tomato Dip with Chévre;
Sweet Potato, Chard, and Alpine Cheese Croquettes;
Savory Mushroom and Cheese Panna Cotta with Apple Salad;
Crostini with Pecorino, Pear, Hazelnuts, and Rosemary;
and my favorite—Ham, Manchego, and Fig Twists.

The studio never smelled so good!

storyboard001 storyboard002 storyboard003 storyboard004 storyboard005Wine Culture insert

Flying in Friendly Skies with Dolce

One of the things I love the most about shooting for Dolce Hotels is that each property is unique, and when I was called to fly to Forth Worth to shoot at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center I was excited to see this property. It also gave me the chance to go back to Texas after almost 19 years when I worked at the DFW airport following my tour in the US Navy.
Another thing I love about working with Dolce is that their staff is super professional and accommodating and they go out of their way to make sure the shoot goes smooth. This was the forth Dolce property I have had the opportunity to work with and these are a few of my favorites from the two-day shoot.

The chef team in front of one of the many flight simulators at the training center.

No peanuts on this flight—Executive Chef Lenny Ventura is an artist.

Ceviche

Exterior at sunset

 

Paul Smith’s College

I recently had the opportunity to shoot for two days at the culinary program at Paul Smith’s College, thanks in large part to the recommendation of Chef Kevin McCarthy, whom I first met during a shoot at the nearby Lake Placid Lodge a couple years ago for Santé magazine. The campus is located west of Saranac Lake, NY on the northern shore of Lower Saint Regis Lake and the surrounding landscape is quintessential Adirondacks. I was immediately impressed with talents and seriousness of the students and the hands-on approach in which the faculty worked with them to guide them through their culinary and pastry programs. I could have easily posted twice as many shots from this shoot but here are some of my favorites. In addition to the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Management program is a comprehensive Forestry program, in which we had time to shoot the equine and the impressive maple sugaring labs (It was in the end of March and the sap was starting to flow with the melting snow).

I hope to return to the area with Colleen this summer (when it’s not mud season), and if someday our boys want to learn the culinary trade I would not hesitate to enroll them in this program. Every student I talked to loved this school and couldn’t say enough about how positive a learning experience they had, with many of them transitioning into jobs right out of school.

Chef Kevin McCarthy evaluating the student's plate presentation

Students being evaluated by their instructor for taste, presentation, and creativity

Chef McCarthy tending to his micro-green seedlings

Fennel & Cherry Tomato Tart (part of a "Final Exam" where the student creates the menu concept and table design and manages the kitchen and servers in a full seven-course meal to guests in the mock restaurant. This particular student utilized barn boards, sunflowers, and mason jar candles as the table centerpiece, so we decided to use it for the backdrop of her final presentation dishes. From the glowing remarks from the instructor I'm pretty sure this student got an A!)

Sprouted Wheatberry and Quinoa Salad

Orange Tarragon Lollipop (to cleanse the palate)

Chef Instructor Sarah Longley critiques the meals courses prior to the first of two guest seatings in the adjoining "restaurant". (The student is also evaluated on how well they manage the "staff" of fellow students during the meal prep, plating, and service of 30 or so guests of family and friends.)

Baking and Pastry professor Deborah Misik worked with students to prepare a wedding cake.

Tools of the trade