Category Archives: Chicago Food Photography

Dominick’s Next Chef

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Dominick’s parent company Safeway was on the hunt for a new corporate chef.  Rather than going through normal channels, they held a Facebook-based search which culminated in chef competitions in Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago.  I photographed the Chicago cook-off at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school; the competition was fierce, the aromas were enticing, and the final creations were delicious.  The winning chef is headed for SF to compete against the other two finalists, and the top chef will be awarded with a job at Safeway’s corporate kitchens.

 

Charlie Trotter, in rememberence

The following post was was from 2012 when Charlie Trotter closed his world famous and legendary restaurant on Armitage, and chose to move on to greener and more fulfilling pastures.  Earlier this week, we received the shocking news of his untimely passing.  During his career, Charlie reinvented what it means to create cutting edge meals, and his food ideas have become standard fare for chefs around the world.  Sure he ruffled some feathers along the way, and was known for his abrasive leadership style, but most of all, Charlie will be remembered for the amazing food he prepared, the chefs he trained, and the pleasure he shared with thousands of diners throughout the years.  We will miss you Chef.

 

It’s been a beautiful run, but after 25 years, Charlie Trotter is calling it quits. Just like that leftover lasagna–even if it’s still good for a late-night snack–at some point you just have to say goodbye.  Trotter is leaving when he’s at the top of his game.  Since 1987, his Lincoln Park restaurant has been a Mecca to foodies and culinary aficionados from around the world.  Not only did he introduce a new philosophy to gourmet cooking, he trained hundreds of fine chefs who have gone on to great acclaim (Grant Achatz for one).   A PBS TV star and author of 14 cookbooks, Trotter was a virtual food empire, and has received a pantry full of awards and accolades.  When Chicago magazine name him the “second-meanest person” in the city, he was upset because he never likes to be Number Two.  I had the privilege of photographing him several times in the past 20 years, and he has always been a gentleman, generous with his time, and respectful of my craft.  Here are some photos from my visits to Charlie Trotter’s restaurant.

World famous chef Charlie Trotter in 1998 for Wine Spectator20 years ago, Charlie Trotter in 1992 for Town & Country magazineThe famous table in the kitchen at Charlie TrottersThe staff at Charlie Trotters in 1998--any famous chefs in this photo?The dining room in 1992The dining room in 1992 at Charlie Trotters restaurant in Lincoln  ParkArtistic food creations at Charlie Trotters in 1992A fruit soup at Charlie Trotters in 1992 for Town & Country magazineThe famous table in the kitchen at Charlie Trotters 1992Artistic food creation at Charlie Trotters in 1992Artistic food creation at Charlie Trotters in 1992Young chef Charlie Trotter in 1992Charlie Trotter in the kitchen in 1995World famous Charlie Trotters restaurant on Armitage in Lincoln Park in 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Safety

Recently had a two-day shoot for the American Dietetic Association to illustrate various aspects of food safety.  Models, make-up, food stylist, nice locations–it all added up to a fun and stress-free photo shoot.  I also learned some important lessons about proper food preparation and storage: don’t store eggs in the egg compartment in the fridge; don‘t turn fried chicken with your fingers; and don’t eat pork sushi.

Traditional Flavors of Amish Country

Fresh-baked pies, Country Lane Bakery in MiddleburyHomemade Amish apple butter Fresh-baked pie and bread, Country Lane Bakery in MiddleburyTraditional Amish horse and buggyWashing clothes the old-fashioned wayPaying for food on the honor systemSucculent ripe tomatoes at the Dutch Country MarketBees making Amish honeyShopping for peaches at Shipshewana Farmers Market
Just two hours–and 200 years–from Chicago in NE Indiana is Amish Country. Anchored by the towns of Shipshewana, Goshen and Nappanee, this area is home to a religious sect that disavows modern conveniences and other trappings of life in the 21st century.  Lines of buggies dot the country roads, women in long dresses and colorful bonnets shop at local markets, and men sporting beards and black coats are commonplace.  Last month I was sent to this region to document some of the culinary traditions of the Amish for ADA Times, the publication of the American Dietetic Association.  Traveling to farmers markets, retail stores, farm stands, and small farms down isolated back roads, I discovered a vast assortment of tasty baked goods, succulent fruits and vegetables, cheese factories, and jars of homemade pickles, apple butter and cherry salsa.  The Amish may not have their MTV, but they are prepared when the munchies come-a-calling.