Leigh Olson…our intrepid burgeoning journalist…was stealthily recording our time together with the fantastic group of people who joined us for the 7-day food photography retreat we just held on the Big Island of Hawaii. If it looks like we had fun…this is just the tip of the iceberg…or the volcano…or you know.
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Last month, I was tasked with shooting a Bouche de Noel for Melissa Clark’s Good Appetite column. I had never made or shot one before and I knew that this particular recipe, inspired by the great Dorie Greenspan, had to be aces. I also knew that when Melissa made her’s she had a ringer in the kitchen….Dorie herself. The pressure was on…but I have my own superstar on the bench to call on when in need of a big pinch hit…none other than my great friend, pastry maestro, Pichet Ong.
I have also formed a creative partnership with my former assistant Devon Knight and his editing partner Jason Lee to begin to shoot and direct food videos. We decided that this was a good chance to give our new collaboration a whirl…interesting, seasonal subject matter, a brand name talent on board and a recipe by a legend.
Here is the result…plus some snappy music to rock to while you roll. Merry Christmas!!!
Directed by: Andrew Scrivani
DP: Devon Knight
Editor: Jason Lee
Starring: The Hands of Pichet Ong
So, I was searching for new kitchen cabinets while spending a usual weekend trolling around in Red Hook, Brooklyn for hipster food and annoyingly disassembled Swedish furniture, when I found something truly unusual. I saw a sign and a large trailer across from the Fairway parking lot that said “Affordable German Kitchens”. I was dubious…but went into the warehouse nonetheless to satisfy my curiosity since I was just told that the cabinets I liked at IKEA would arrive in 127 boxes and needed assembly before installation.
I walked in to see a very fit man in a track suit standing in the bottom drawer of a very modern, European style kitchen cabinet. Standing in the drawer!!! He was demonstrating for another couple just how durable the cabinets were. My interest was piqued. The whole concept of German Kitchen Design is based on the incredibly simple idea that functionality…like a drawer to keep your pots and pans in instead of reaching to the back of a huge cabinet on your hands and knees…is primary. Just realizing how this changes your quality of life, when you cook all the time, is incredible. Truly one of those moments when you see just how easy things can be if just a bit of thought goes into it. Design, functionality and you can stand up in them as a parlor trick….I’m in…if the price is right.
We looked through the showroom and were enamored with the sleek designs and and were convinced it was out of our price range, for sure. The man in the track suit, Glenn, who has energy like a hurricane on caffeine and a voice like he has been gargling with broken glass, assured us that what he was showing us was indeed “affordable” and walked us through the process. We were still skeptical, but we really liked him and agreed to have him come and measure our kitchen and give us a price on the design we liked.
In the business we are in, our kitchen has to be the centerpiece of our home and it was important for it to represent how important food is in our lives. Glenn completely understood this and designed something that was not only what we wanted but also allowed me to keep my lungs…liver and kidneys.
I include Glenn’s business here for a few reasons…first, because I am really, really happy with his service…and of course because I can. Second, to spread the word. The company he represents is a fixture in Germany but is just starting to get recognition here in the US. Nobilia not only has been a standard in global kitchen design for decades in Europe but began their US business outreach by helping Hurricane Sandy victims rebuild their homes. My Staten Island roots make me even more sensitive to this issue than most and their love for my hometown makes me want to see them succeed here. They are not just in Brooklyn but in Manhattan and expanding to many cities across the US, so even if you are reading this in other places you should still check them out. I am a big fan…especially since price wise they proved to be competitive with the DIY IKEA stuff with quality and design that are far superior. You can certainly see where IKEA get their design ideas from. 127 boxes!!! I’m sorry…but who has time for that.
I will follow up with a post once my kitchen is installed and show you exactly what I mean…but in the meantime…check out their site and this preliminary design that they drew up for free.
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So what’s a Craftsy? I had to ask myself that question too when I was contacted by the representatives from Craftsy to teach a beginners online course in Food Photography, Food Styling and Propping. What I came to learn is that Craftsy is a tremendous resource to learn all sorts of creative endeavors from their bread and butter knitting and quilting classes to cooking and now food photography. Even my Recipes for Health partner Martha Rose Shulman has a great class there too.
The class is really affordable (59.99), it is chock full of really good explanations, with a football style tele-strator (that thing where you diagram plays over the screen) and you get to spend hours listening to me struggle to suppress my NY accent. It’s a win all around.
Join me there..check out all of the other great offerings and keep feeding your brain all sorts of great stuff. Enjoy.
I was asked to take this photo for last week’s Dining section for a story about how to cook a great burger…indoors or out. What ensued was a totally incredible social media response with so many Twitter notifications that I needed to turn my phone off. It always amazes me when something really resonates with a broad audience. It seems like such a simple equation after the fact…a classic food item…made accessible…with a cool twist…and an evocative picture. The perfect recipe for viral food.
One of the clips from my most recent stint on creativeLIVE.com on Table Top Photography. Check it out here.