Joe Beef Cookbook

I am in Montreal this week, photographing a cookbook for Joe Beef. This got me thinking to the year I spent photographing their first cookbook. It was before I had my daughter, and that makes it seem like such a long time ago. Although, she is only 5 years old, and in the scheme of things that is no time at all. I am so excited to be here. This is the 2nd week of a at least a few I will spend with the team on this book. I so look forward to what Fred, Dave, Meredith, Marco, Ari, and the rest of the team (their family has also grown since I was last here) will show me.

Below are some shots I did for their first cookbook.

joe beef smoker photo

joe beef montreal joe beef restaurant joe beef kitchen jennifer may joe beef montreal jennifer may photo

Baking Cookbook

I am in the midst of shooting a baking cookbook for Erin McDowell. Erin is a food stylist I work with often. We collaborate on other people’s cookbooks, and she styles food for me when I shoot campaigns for Broccoli Rabe. She cuts no corners! We are currently camped out in a rented house in Woodstock, NY, and by the end of ten days, we will have photographed almost every recipe in her book. Hashtags are #thefearlessbaker and #campcookbook if you want to follow along on Instagram. We are on day 4, and already we have an entire gallery of beautiful images. Here are a couple of outtakes.

nyc food photographer baking cookbook jennifer may
Beignets

The Food52 Piglet Award

Food52 Piglet Award logoLast night, the Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook took home the Food52 Piglet Award for 2016. It’s a huge honor to all involved. The judging happens through a bracket system, in which pairs of books compete against each other. Eventually, only two are left. Andrew Zimmern, of Bizarre Foods, made the final ruling. Yotam Ottoleghni helped it through an earlier round. Reading Ottoleghni’s review just about made my year. (Anybody who glances at this blog will know I am a huge fan of his recipes.)

The book was written by Jessamyn Rodriquez and Julia Turshen, and it tells the story of a bakery that is also a non-profit social enterprise. The women who apply to train at the Hot Bread Kitchen come from all over the world. They are taught artisan baking and business skills, to help them become successful culinary professionals.

Hot Bread Kitchen dough

Challah process NYC Food Photographer

stollen piglet 2016 winner

monkey bread piglet 2016

The bakers also share knowledge of specialty breads from their home countries. Things like Persian Nan-e Barbari, Moroccan Msmen, and Ethiopian Injera are baked and sold by the bakery. Between all of this hands-on knowledge, and the writing expertise of Rodriquez and Turshen, it’s no wonder reviewers and judges have been describing the book as a transformative baking tool.

Hot Bread Kitchen portrait

Tacos toppings

Injera Ethiopian

I spent two weeks photographing the bakery, bread, and the mostly-women bakers for this book. I worked with food stylist Erin McDowell, and prop stylist Barb Fritz. It took me about a year to work off the bread-pounds I gained from all of my snacking. And now I just want to bake more. One thing I know for sure: there is nothing so delicious as a buttery, flaky Msmen, hot from the griddle.

bakery at Hot Bread Kitchen
The retail space & cafe at Harlem’s Hot Bread Kitchen Bakery
Hot Bread Kitchen location
The Hot Bread Kitchen bakery & retail space is located under a busy commuter train in Harlem.

Food52 Piglet Award

Cookbooks 2015

Three cookbooks I photographed over the past year have October 2015 release dates. They are all published by Clarkson Potter, and I love each of them for different reasons. Very soon, the Hot Bread Kitchen cookbook launches. This is an amazing non-profit bakery in Harlem that teaches low-income, foreign-born women the craft of artisan bread baking. These women learn a profession, business skills, and English. It was inspiring to spend the time I did with them. And I always chuckle when I think about waiting for the train above the bakery to rumble by, when my camera was set for slow exposures, in fading light.

Hot Bread Kitchen cookbooks 2015
Hot Bread Kitchen cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2015)

Earlier this month, Michael Symon‘s 5 in 5: Seasonal was published. This is the third book I have photographed for Chef Symon, and working with him is always a high point of my year. Chef Symon loves what he does, and he has a great team around him. It is a true pleasure and a joy to collaborate with him, and I’m eagerly awaiting getting my hands on this book. His fast, flavorful recipes are just the thing for my daily schedule.

Michael Symon 5 in 5 Seasonal cookbooks 2015
Michael Symon 5 in 5: Seasonal cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2015)

Another of my favorite authors is publishing her second cookbook this month. Alana Chernila and I have worked together on both of her books, and it has been such a pleasure meeting at her home in the Berkshires through the seasons. We photograph her children, her family, her friends, and her in the kitchen. Whenever I spend time with Alana, I can’t wait to get home and cook for the people I love.

Alana Chernila Homemade Kitchen cookbooks 2015
Alana Chernila Homemade Kitchen cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2015)

Against the Grain Gluten Free cookbook

I am excited to announce the publication of Against the Grain: extraordinary gluten-free recipes made from real, all-natural ingredients. The book was written by Nancy Cain and is published by Clarkson Potter. I will be adding interior shots to my main website soon, but for now, here is the cover… a gluten-free breakfast pizza. Even a gluten-lover like me loved this!

Against the Grain cookbook cover

Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook

For the better part of October, I have been working on shooting a cookbook for The Hot Bread Kitchen. This not-for-profit bakery trains low-income, foreign-born women in the culinary art of artisan baking. Many of the breads these women bake are hard-to find regional specialties: buttery, flaky Moroccan m’smen; sesame topped Persian nan-e qandi; Armenian lavash crackers; and all kinds of challah. I could eat their heritage corn tortillas every day. I watched two women bake batch after batch from soaked whole corn kernels, and the flavor is unparallelled.  The Hot Bread Kitchen cookbook will be published by Clarkson Potter in 2015. For now, you can sample their breads at these markets.

Hot bread kitchen tortillas

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

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring

I just wrapped a 6-day cookbook shoot in Westchester for Nicole Hunn and Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. This cookbook will bring back the classic snacks gluten-free people miss out on: think Twinkies, Twizzlers, and Hostess Cupcakes. Gluten-free or not, these were delicious treats, and I tasted almost every one of them.

Our team consisted of Nicole & Erin McDowell in the kitchen and me on the camera & computer. Nicole’s children and husband were on the scene, the dogs were eventually banished to the prop room (dining room), and the cat hung out until she tried to climb my lighting tools to get to a vase of freshly picked lilies-of-the-valley.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos of the shoot.

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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

IACP Award for Chelsea Market Cookbook!

IACP Chelsea Market cookbook award Jennifer May The 2014 IACP awards were just announced, and I am excited to report that The Chelsea Market Cookbook won the award in the Best Compilation Category! It is the story of a place, with 100 recipes from purveyors and restaurants including Sarabeth’s Bakery, Buddakan, and Lucy’s Whey, and includes recipes from guest chefs such as Bobby Flay and Hugh Acheson. I spent a good portion of last summer photographing the market in action, and recipes in the studio. The book is written by Michael Phillips and Rick Rodgers, and is published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. See the cover here, and some interior images below.

Culinary Institute of America

The cover and some images of a cookbook I photographed for the Culinary Institute of America, published this month. Power foods of note: blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, chickpeas, beets, and kale. Note to self: eat more of these things!

Culinary Institute of America book cover

Breads Cookbook

I am back at the Culinary Institute of America, photographing my third cookbook for them. So excited about this project. Here is an outtake from today’s shoot in the bakery… it takes a pro to sprinkle flour on a surface with this kind of precision.

flour on baking board

More from the Midwest

I am sorting photos from my archive to update my website. This afternoon I am revisiting images from my trips to Minnesota, for Amy Thielen’s New Midwestern Table (Clarkson Potter, 2013). Such a beautiful place. I will make a new posting when my website has a flush of new photos.

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.

Chelsea Market Cookbook

I am so excited to announce the publication of the Chelsea Market Cookbook (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, October 2013).  It seems like last week, but it was actually last summer that I was running through the market, photographing as many vendors as I could schedule on a tight timeline. From Sarabeth in her bakery, to the infamous “knife lady,” it was a blast.

Chelsea Market book cover

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

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