One of the perks of my work is that I get to see the back of house of some of the best restaurants out there. It’s a nostalgic love of mine too--being in a restaurant kitchen--having grown up in my family’s own. The ever-greasy, squishy mat-studded floors that I now find underfoot at work are enough to take me back to being four feet tall, admiring the smells and skills before me.
It never ceases to amaze me, a self-professed slow and messy home cook, to watch the staff do their dance--so focused and efficient. And yet, all this bustle is well hidden behind the serenity and curated interiors of the dining room. I recently photographed both Danny Meyer and Marcus Samuelsson in the art filled spaces of two of their respective restaurants: the new Union Square Café and the southern-inspired Red Rooster in Harlem. Both men are fun and gracious and fed me well (best collard greens I’ve ever had, Marcus!) It felt wonderful to connect with two of the greats in the restaurant biz, all in a month’s work.