While food critics often guide the choices of their readership, I happen to have a particularly direct food-relationship with Brian Freedman, one of the food critics who writes for Philadelphia Weekly. For a few months now, Brian has been picking my dinners*.
I never know what I’m going to be eating until the review is in the editors hands. It’s a well-kept secret, these reviews, and I cannot contact the restaurant until the go-ahead is given, often meaning that I contact the restaurant only days before the review ends up in the paper.
However, unlike our critic, the restaurants know I’m coming, and bring out their best food for my lens. This food isn’t for me, it’s for the camera. But very often, the camera is nice enough to share.
Often, they will ask for my advice on what should be photographed. Other than the food that is mentioned in the review (which is most important) I advise them to bring me their prettiest food. I have never been disappointed. From the perfectly cooked eggs at Honey’s to the salmon jewels at Branzino’s, I have been photographing (and tasting!) some incredible food, and meeting some amazing chefs.
When I lost my full time job over a year ago, I was worried about money, about life direction, about what I’m going to do with myself. But now I am eating at some of the most inspirational restaurants in the city, doing what I love for people who treat me like a professional, working with incredible, dedicated people. The chefs I’ve met care deeply about food, and that care is reflected in the food I photograph.
I liked the job I had a lot, but now I am living my dream. And it’s a dream filled with delicious food.
*Well, some of them. Usually once a month or so.
(Tomorrow: When I met Brian and we both went to prison. TRUE STORY BRO.)