Why it matters to me: An interview with Marc Orfaly of The Beehive in Boston

For so many these days its all about the limelight. Its about getting paid, getting respect, and being superstars. Easily forgotten is the idea that the culinary industry is first and foremost a service industry; an outpouring of familial hospitality extended to strangers, with food as the focal point.

Many who make the choice to do this, day in and day out, do so out of the respect they have for the food, and a desire to carry on what others who influenced them had done before. Having the opportunity to speak with Chef Marc Orfaly of The Beehive in Boston was a reminder that there are people who cook for the right reasons.

During our conversation we talked about some of Marc’s early experiences in the food industry, his suggestion to those interested in getting in to the culinary industry, and his personal food memory.

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Part of my passion for what we do: An interview with chef Anthony De Palma of Evviva Cucina

Living a bit north of Boston is a blessing and a curse. I love the access to great restaurants, but sometimes it can be tough finding something of that quality a little closer to home. Finally, though, there are some great spots popping up north of the city including a great Italian restaurant called Evviva Cucina.

Living a bit north of Boston is a blessing and a curse. I love the access to great restaurants, but sometimes it can be tough finding something of that quality a little closer to home. Finally, though, there are some great spots popping up north of the city including a great Italian restaurant called Evviva Cucina. At the helm in the kitchen is Executive Chef Anthony De Palma, who made his bones in all manner of great kitchens (working alongside the likes of Jim Dodge, Chris Douglas, Gordon Hammersly, Chris Slesinger, and Jody Adams), and his skill and passion come across in the great food at Evviva.

Continue reading “Part of my passion for what we do: An interview with chef Anthony De Palma of Evviva Cucina”

An amazing culture of team work: Chatting with Chris Flint, Chef de Cuisine at Eleven Madison Park

Want to start an enormous war of words amongst food nerds anywhere? Declare a restaurant “the best”, sit back with your fernet and watch the forks fly. All things told, though, there are restaurants across the globe that do stand out for cuisine, hospitality and overall dining experience. Eleven Madison Park is one of those restaurants. Check out my interview with Chef de Cuisine Chris Flint.

Want to start an enormous war of words amongst food nerds anywhere? Declare a restaurant “the best”, sit back with your fernet, and watch the forks fly. All things told, though, there are restaurants across the globe that do stand out for cuisine, hospitality, and overall dining experience. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants (sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna) strives to highlight such restaurants.

This year’s list thrust Eleven Madison Park in NYC to the forefront of American gastronomy (again), ranking the Daniel Humm and Will Guidara restaurant #4 in the world (highest in the U.S., a bump up from the #5 ranking in 2013). Anyone who knows the work and effort required to run a successful restaurant, let alone one of this stature, understands just how important the entire team there is. An integral part of the EMP team? Chef de Cuisine Chris Flint.

Continue reading “An amazing culture of team work: Chatting with Chris Flint, Chef de Cuisine at Eleven Madison Park”

Happiest when I was cooking: An interview with Katie Button of Cúrate in Asheville, NC

A winding road is one that many chefs tread. Schooling, stages, back breaking days on the line, many with a dream of opening and owning their own restaurant.

A winding road is one that many chefs tread. Schooling, stages, back breaking days on the line, many with a dream of opening and owning their own restaurant. The road for Chef Katie Button was most certainly winding, and supremely fascinating, considering that she start off earning a degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell and a masters degree in Biomedical Engineering. Katie made her way through the kitchens of Jean George in NYC and Jose Andres’s Bazaar in L.A. before working for a time at elBulli in Spain. She opened her first restaurant, Cúrate in Asheville, North Carolina. I recently had the chance to speak with Katie. She told me a bit more about her path to working in a kitchen, her excitement about being a finalist for the 2014 James Beard Award Rising Star Chef of the Year, and her favorite food memory.

Continue reading “Happiest when I was cooking: An interview with Katie Button of Cúrate in Asheville, NC”

There’s a challenge in every day: A conversation with Jason Bond of Bondir

When sitting down to dinner at Bondir in Concord Massachusetts, one word came immediately to mind: comfortable. I’d never eaten there before, nor had I visited Bondir Cambridge, yet I felt instantly at ease. There’s something special in that kind of dining experience.

When sitting down to dinner at Bondir in Concord Massachusetts, one word came immediately to mind: comfortable. I’d never eaten there before, nor had I visited Bondir Cambridge, yet I felt instantly at ease. There’s something special in that kind of dining experience. That experience is thanks in large part to chef/owner Jason Bond. I spoke with Jason about his passion for food, how he got in to cooking, and his personal food memories.

Continue reading “There’s a challenge in every day: A conversation with Jason Bond of Bondir”

A little kindness goes a long way: An interview with Josh Cole of Puritan & Company

Food wise, I can hold my own in a conversation amongst laymen. My knowledge of anything libation related, however, be it wine, beer or cocktail? Kind of pathetic, really. For that reason, I depend on those who know a hell of a lot more. Enter Josh Cole, beverage director and assistant general manager at Puritan & Company in Cambridge.

Food wise, I can hold my own in a conversation amongst laymen. My knowledge of anything libation related, however, be it wine, beer or cocktail? Kind of pathetic, really. For that reason, I depend on those who know a hell of a lot more. Enter Josh Cole, beverage director and assistant general manager at Puritan & Company in Cambridge. I had a chance to interview Josh a while back, just prior to Puritan launching their new cocktail program. We discussed the responsibilities of a beverage director, how he got his start in the industry, and his favorite food memories.

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Do it right every time: An interview with Josh Lewin of Beacon Hill Bistro

Over the past several weeks I’ve had the chance to get to know more about Josh Lewin of Beacon Hill Bistro. It started off like most of my interactions, with me exploring the opportunity to speak with a chef about their career. It spilled on to Twitter Then, unexpectedly, it found its way to the table, eating together at a lunch pop-up held by Future Chefs Boston. The easy take away: Josh is a cool cat!

Over the past several weeks I’ve had the chance to get to know more about Josh Lewin, Executive Chef of Beacon Hill Bistro located in the Beacon Hill Hotel. It started off like most of my interactions, with me exploring the opportunity to speak with a chef about their career. It spilled on to Twitter (back and forth about za’atar and foraging). Then, unexpectedly, it found its way to the table, eating together at a lunch pop-up held by Future Chefs Boston. The easy take away: Josh is a cool cat!

Continue reading “Do it right every time: An interview with Josh Lewin of Beacon Hill Bistro”

Always try to improve on something: An interview with Chef Paul Turano of Tryst and Cook Newton

One thing that holds true in all aspects of life is that there is always room for improvement. This sentiment was clearly echoed during a conversation with Chef Paul Turano of Tryst (located in Arlington, MA), and Cook Newton

One thing that holds true in all aspects of life is that there is always room for improvement. This sentiment was clearly echoed during a conversation with Chef Paul Turano of Tryst (located in Arlington, MA), and Cook Newton. We talked about his passion for food, his path to becoming a chef, and a personal food memory.

Continue reading “Always try to improve on something: An interview with Chef Paul Turano of Tryst and Cook Newton”

Serious eats: Interviewing the author of The Food Lab, J. Kenji López-Alt

Every person on planet Earth views life through a glass tinted by what matters to them most. From food to faith, the tint can come from anywhere, really. For J. Kenji López-Alt, Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats, his tint comes from his love of science. Mix that with a passion for food and you get The Food Lab, a one-stop-shop for anyone looking not only for great recipes, but an understanding of what makes them so great.

Every person on planet Earth views life through a glass tinted by what matters to them most. From food to faith, the tint can come from anywhere, really. For J. Kenji López-Alt, Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats, his tint comes from his love of science. Mix that with a passion for food and you get The Food Lab, a one-stop-shop for anyone looking not only for great recipes, but an understanding of what makes them so great.

Continue reading “Serious eats: Interviewing the author of The Food Lab, J. Kenji López-Alt”

The story behind the bite: An interview with food and lifestyle photographer Huge Galdones

Part of what I love about the food world are the stories the exist behind each bite. It’s something I’m not alone in loving either. While I try to express those stories via the written word, Huge Galdones (hitherto referred to as “THE Man”) expresses those stories via photography. To put it plainly, he produces some of the best food porn you’ll ever see.

Part of what I love about the food world are the stories the exist behind each bite. It’s something I’m not alone in loving either. While I try to express those stories via the written word, Huge Galdones (hitherto referred to as “THE Man”) expresses those stories via photography. To put it plainly, he produces some of the best food porn you’ll ever see.

I had the chance to check in with THE Man and learn more about his love of food and photography, how he got involved in the food community (going to need to talk to him more about working the line at Joe Beef!), and his favorite food memories, both personal and work related.

Huge Galdones
Huge Galdones – Photo by Eric Kleinberg

Foodie Journal: Making a conscious decision to do a lot of photography of food, and the culinary world in general, would imply that you love food. Have you always been in to food?

Huge Galdones: I’ve always had a crush on food as I’ve never a picky eater, though If I was, I’d definitely be skinnier! I blame my obsession on three things: (1) PBS (Julia Child, Martin Yan, Jacques Pepin); (2) friends in the industry and (3) friends equally obsessed with eating out and cooking for others.

FJ: How did you come about choosing photography as a profession? When did food enter the picture? It’s an awful pun, I know… but it just fits too well to not use it.

HG: I basically turned my passion into my profession, letting everything fall into place. All through undergrad and grad school (and no, I wasn’t a major in Fine Arts, Journalism or Photography), I was finding any excuse to shoot— from the school newspaper, fashion shows, street festivals to eventually interning with the Montreal Canadiens, I learnt the craft shooting sports and events.

That being said, it was when I worked the line at Joe Beef (Montreal) and their sister restaurants that I connected my two passions. I don’t know how I got away with it but I would be peeling asparagus one minute then taking pictures of my mise en place the next. Working with that crew made me not only fall in love with photographing sexy food but capturing the untold stories of the back-of-house.

When I started noticing several opportunities made my business more sustainable like shooting for Cochon555 for instance, I decided to leave my day job and focus on building my portfolio and brand. As a Canadian operating out of Chicago, and all over the US, really, many have said that I’m living the ‘American Dream.’

FJ: How has the work you’ve done changed your perspective on food and cooking in general?

HG: My perspective really changed when I started working the line rather than shooting the line. Showcasing what goes into a finished dish— from the farmers, the purveyors and the cooks— is what motivates me to do what I do. It’s the story behind the bite that I find most compelling and I hope that my work highlights that just as much as the final product.

FJ: So everyone and their brother tries to take pictures of their food, more often than not in dimly lit restaurants while using the flash of their smartphones. Can you talk just a little bit, maybe from a high level, what goes in to making food photography seem so effortless?

HG: ‘Seem’ being the operative word. A lot of elements contribute to a successful photo shoot and effortless is the last thing that comes to mind. It likely sounds cliched but tons of practice and trusting your eye and gut has to take the cake.

FJ: Could you offer up a tip for people wanting to taking better pictures of their food, be it at home or in restaurants?

HG: When I shoot with my iPhone, I focus on two things: sharpness (no one likes a blurry picture) and composition (something as simple as the Rule of Thirds helps immensely!).

FJ: Having the opportunity to be so involved in the food world, and having as much exposure as you’ve had, I’m sure you’ve had some really cool experiences, and by extension, memories. So rather than just ask you for an individual food memory that is a favorite of yours, I’m going to ask you for two! Do you have a personal food memory that really stands out for you? How about a professional food memory? One related specifically to the work you’ve done.

HG: I have so many food memories that still resonate to this day. It’s really hard to pick just one but the first one that comes to mind was my bachelor party in NYC. Ten of us set ourselves up at Momofuku Ssam Bar (well before it was as bigtime as it is now) and proceeded to get killed, course after course after course, by the kitchen staff. Everything was on point and, given the special context, is still one of the most memorable meals that I’ve ever experienced.

Professionally, I still pinch myself every time I attend (or shoot, rather) the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen. There’s nothing like surrounding yourself with people that you admire and look up to. Like a cook in the heat of service, being in the the thick of it all reminds me how much I love my job!

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Huge Galdones is the awesomeness behind Galdones Photography. Check out his website for more information.