Restaurant Photography

I have been photographing restaurants the past couple of weeks. The NYC EDITION, on Madison Avenue, is an Ian Schrager designed concept, in partnership with the Marriott. I spent three days behind-the-scenes at a VIP event, photographing food & decor. As a New Yorker, I know I’m not supposed to be thrilled by celebrity sightings, but I can’t help myself. It is a little bit thrilling to ride elevators with actors. (Although I did not let them know it.) It was also the week of the Met Gala, so the building was teeming with known personalities.

NYC Edition Hotel dessert

NYC Edition Hotel wait staff

hotel waitstaff

Up in the Hudson Valley, I spent a day with a chef in the construction site that will be a West Coast themed restaurant, Redwood. The owner sent me a beautiful mood board, and a note saying her granite counter-tops were not yet installed, and also the locally hand-crafted ceramics she hoped to have ready for our shoot were delayed. So, I packed a sheet of marble into the trunk of my car, and a few beautiful hand-made plates by another local potter with a similar style, and off I went.

eggs benedict Jennifer May food photography

peach melba

tuna poke food restaurant photography

shishito peppers Jennifer May photo

In Rhinebeck, I visited the newly renovated dining room at Terrapin. We had a fun day, shooting a bunch of food for their website… a flaming meringue cake, entrées, and apps. The new dining room is filled with gorgeous tables built from reclaimed barn wood, by a local company, Wabi Sabi Wood. I would say I can’t wait to go back, but did go back, two days later, for Mother’s Day. We sat at the bar, drank beer, and felt right at home.

flaming cake at terrapin

steak at terrapin

restaurant photography Jennifer May

 

Rahm Fama’s Meat & Potatoes Cookbook

It’s been a long wait, but we are close now… I shot this book for chef Rahm Fama about two years ago. It will be published this July 1, by Clarkson Potter, and may much eating of meat, potatoes, and amazing side dishes commence.

This book is different than a lot of cookbooks out there. It is heavy on the food & recipes, and light on the dishware, meaning…. most of the book was shot almost from above, using just a few different plates, on a few different tables. The food is truly the star. I will post example shots after the pub date.

Rahm Fama Meat & Potatoes cookbook

James Beard Award Win!

James Beard Award New Midwestern Table coverThe James Beard Awards were held last night and I am thrilled to announce Amy Thielen‘s New Midwestern Table won in the category of American Cooking! I am so glad she chose me to photograph her book.

Big thanks to our fantasic stylists Kendra McKnight and  Alison Hoekstra.

Amy is a fantastic writer, and now also a television host of her own show. Congratulations, Amy! Well deserved.

Below are a few of my favorite shots from our book.

James Beard award for Midwestern Table

The New Midwestern Table

A few shots from Amy Thielen’s New Midwestern Table (Clarkson Potter, 2013). Since we did the photography for her book, Amy is now a host on The Food Network. Her show is called Heartland Table, and it is terrific. In the first episode – dedicated to butter – she shows the cooking of her grilled new potato and onion dish (photo below). Everything she cooks looks so delicious.

The New Midwestern Table Cookbook

This is a book I have been outrageously excited about sharing. For this book, I visited the Midwest three times, and I toured Minnesota and the surrounding states with author Amy Thielen through three different seasons. The book is officially available in a few days, and I will upload some of my favorite images soon!

The New Midwestern Table cookbook cover photographed by Jennifer May

Michael Symon’s 5 in 5

A sneak preview of the second book I photographed for Chef Michael Symon – 5 in 5:  5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners. The book will be published in early September, by Clarkson Potter. Fast & tasty food… This is my kind of cooking.

Michael Symon's 5 in 5 book cover

Guy Gourmet Cookbook

Here is a sneak peek of a cookbook I shot for Rodale in the fall. Quite a shoot: we photographed these recipes in Manhattan days after Hurricane Sandy. The city was still recovering… but the shoot went on. Look for the book in May.

mens health, rodale, jennifer may, cookbook, food photographer

Michael Symon’s Carnivore Cookbook

Michael Symon’s latest book, Carnivore, hits the shelves on October 16th. I’m excited about this book. We shot it last fall, when I was 6 months pregnant, including a trip to Michael’s home in Cleveland, OH. Here are a few shots from the book, and I have already cooked two recipes from my advance copy, and everything is as tasty now as I remember it being on set.

Chef Michael Symon, Carnivore cookbook, Jennifer May photographerChef Michael Symon, Carnivore cookbook, Jennifer May photographerChef Michael Symon, Carnivore cookbook, Jennifer May food photographerChef Michael Symon, Carnivore cookbook, Jennifer May food photographer, Cleveland

Susan Feniger’s Street Cookbook

Susan Feniger’s Street food cookbook was recently published (by Clarkson Potter), and here are a few shots from the book. I was three weeks pregnant when I shot this book in Los Angeles and had to tell the team what was up, because they kept making the most delicious and extravagant cocktails every night after shooting. Their puzzled faces when I said no on the first couple of nights were priceless.

Chef Susan Feniger, Street Cookbook, photographed by Jennifer MayChef Susan Feniger, Street Cookbook, photographed by Jennifer MayChef Susan Feniger, Street Cookbook, photographed by Jennifer MayChef Susan Feniger, Street Cookbook, photographed by Jennifer May

Rahm Fama Cookbook Shoot

On set in Woodstock, NY this week, shooting Chef Rahm Fama’s upcoming cookbook for Clarkson Potter. Let me just say, we are cooking and shooting and eating a lot of meat and vegetable sides, and it is tasty. Rahm is the best. I’m so lucky to get to work with high energy, excited, positive folks.

Rahm Fama and the cutest little stuffed quail.
Handsome man, handsome steak
Rahm, my man, and in his arms the reason my blog is out of date. Clearly, she likes a steak as much as her mama.

Iron Chef Michael Symon’s Cookbook

A sneak peek at the cover of Iron Chef Michael Symon’s upcoming cookbook, Carnivore (Clarkson Potter, October 2012). I shot this with Michael in NYC and in his hometown, Cleveland, over the fall. So many delicious meat and vegetable side recipes, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

Chef Michael Symon, Carnivore cookbook, Jennifer May food photographer

James Beard Award Nomination!

This little book that could just keeps rising. We now have a James Beard Award Nomination for The Art of Living According to Joe Beef.

Joe Beef cookbook, photographed by Jennifer May, James Beard Award Nomination
The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts. Written by Frederic Morin, David McMillan & Meredith Erickson. Foreword by David Chang. Photographs by Jennifer May.

Susan Feniger’s Street Food Cookbook

The cookbook I photographed for Chef Susan Feniger is available for pre-order from bookstores (its official publication date is August, 2012, from Clarkson Potter). Susan is one of the most joyful and generous people I have ever met, and thinking back on the week I spent with her and the team, at her home in Los Angeles, makes me smile.

Here is a sneak peek at the cover, and note the book’s subtitle: Irresistibly Crispy, Creamy, Crunchy, Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Recipes. So true!

A Trophy for the Joe Beef cookbook!

And the Joe Beef Cookbook is the winner of the 2012 Food52 Tournament of Cookbooks. In the final round, it won against Momofuku’s Milk book, as judged by Alice Waters.

In the second round, some lovely words by the judges on the photos: “The photographs of the restaurant, its garden, and its cast of characters are lovely and real, and as we read the book, we spent lots of time looking at them and seeing how quietly they tell the outrageous story. Photographer Jennifer May captures it all. She understands the sensuality and beauty of food and never flinches as she shoots some pretty over-the-top dishes just as they come to her.” – Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton

Shooting a Midwestern Cookbook, Part 3

I love location-based photo shoots, and location-based cookbooks are the best. Not only do we shoot a whole lot of delicious food, but we travel around to meet local people, see local sites, tell picture stories, and capture the essence of a place. I spent this past week with Amy Thielen in Minnesota, on the third and final shoot for her upcoming cookbook (Clarkson Potter). This trip was all about winter.

We went ice fishing on a frozen lake with a local guy, visited a survivalist-style bunker stocked with hundreds of jars of home-preserved foodstuffs, hosted a garage party with a bonfire in the snow, and joined the crew of a local logging mill for their monthly soup day.

Amy Thielen, Midwestern cookbook, jennifer may
Here I am riding on the back of a quad on a frozen lake in Minnesota, returning from ice fishing
Guest quarters feature a heated & lit out house. A fun adventure at midnight in winter.

 

Food stories in New York's Hudson Valley and beyond from photographer Jennifer May