Butcher Blackout

In March, 2010, Joshua Applestone of Fleisher’s Grass-fed & Organic Meats in Kingston, NY and Tom Mylan of The Meat Hook in Brooklyn, took a group of butchers and friends-of-butchers on a late-night tour through Williamsburg. The annual event is known as the Butcher Blackout.

Butchers Joshua Applestone and Tom Mylan

Joe Beef Cookbook

On location in Montreal, Canada on a shoot for the Joe Beef Cookbook we are doing for Ten Speed Press.

Signage and shadows
Updating the menu board is a daily task
Food looks beautiful on these white dishes with scalloped edges

Rabbits for the NYT

I was asked to visit a rabbit farm to photograph a rabbit for the front page of the New York Times’s Dining section. Of course, I gave them a bunch of options. Here is the one that ran, and if you click through you will see more of the Dining editor’s favorites on the NYT Blog. You will also read a lot of irate comments from readers. People canceled subscriptions they were so angry about this story. To paraphrase a poster with a different attitude, ‘It seems it’s only edible if it’s not cute.’

Outtakes from the rabbit cover

A March 2010 Dining cover story in the New York Times

Julie Powell

The ultimate food blogger, Julie Powell, author of Julie & Julia, on location at Fleisher’s – the butcher shop where she interned for her new book Cleaving. This portrait of Julie did double duty for a profile about her in Chronogram magazine, and it will also be included in my upcoming book, River of Words: Portraits of Hudson Valley Writers (SUNY Press, August 2010).

Julie Powell, photographed at Fleisher's

Holiday Party with Chef Dave

I hosted a holiday dinner party for 12 friends who love food. One friend makes his own sausages and grills pizzas in the wood-fired oven he built in his backyard, other friends work at such publications as New York magazine, or write about food for the New York Times, or are the editor of the Hudson Valley’s Chronogram magazine, and one friend just likes to open restaurants. Of course, the thought of cooking for such a crowd made me shiver.

That’s where Chef David Matthew Lydick, executive chef of Revolution Cuisine stepped in. He and his sous chef shopped for and cooked a 12 course dinner for us, while the rest of us made our way through two cases of wines. It was an unforgettable evening of extravagance. Thank you, Chef Dave.

Shopping with the chef

The chef multi-tasks
The chef prepared his 12 course dinner from these scrawled notes
One of the many hors d'eourves was a coconut chicken satay on a tiny banana bread muffin
For the second course the chef made baby back riblets with a maple ginger bourbon sauce, and Asian cole slaw
Grilling apples in sub-zero weather
Preparing one of two salad courses: Swiss chard gratin with local baby arugula and walnut black olive pesto
The second salad course was an immense hit: pan seared cape diver scallop, with apple nut salad, and a peanut vinaigrette
The soup course was unforgettably delicious: smoked salmon chowder with smoked trout lox, and rainbow trout caviar
The chef went hunting and made Catskill venison carppacio with local baby arugula, roasted shallot and grape relish, on a garlic croustini
You've got to love a chef who leaves a kitchen cleaner than when he arrived

The full menu:

hors varies

coconut chicken satay on banana bread muffin

macaroni and kunik goat cheese bites

Catskill venison carppacio    local baby arugula  roasted shallot and  grape relish    garlic croustini


carrot pea raisin cilantro lime    raw kale and lemon garlic    fresh grilled vegetable caponata


pigs in a bacon blanket    inside out smore


Swiss chard gratin  local baby arugula  walnut black olive pesto

pan seared cape diver scallop    apple nut salad   peanut vinaigrette


smoked salmon chowder    smoked trout lox    rainbow trout caviar

first course

mixed game burger   applewood smoked bacon  Vermont cheddar  polenta cookie  Morroccan chutney

second course

baby back riblets    asian cole slaw    maple ginger bourbon sauce

third course

garlic studded leg of lamb    root vegetable latke    grilled apple sauce   cider reduction   herb crème’


brie and red grape rum pudding with saffron crème anglaise and rosemary

Prepared by Chef David Matthew Lydick, Executive Chef, Revolution Cuisine



Core Vodka

Micro-distilled Core vodka is made exclusively from apples grown on Derek Grout’s family farm in Valatie, NY. The pear brandy is amazing, too.

Derek Grout of Harvest Spirits pours off a sample of vodka to check the flavor
Taste test
Core Vodka, at home

The Harvest Spirits website

Kitchen Tour of Mexico

Hopping around Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with my brother was a blast. He has been bicycling around the world for ten years (favorite stops: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, India, France, Ireland, and Greece) learning languages and planting trees. His olive skin has turned a darker shade from years of exposure to the sun and elements and he speaks Spanish with a Portuguese accent. Everywhere we ate in Mexico he asked the chefs if his sister could take pictures in the kitchen.

Preparing chili peppers
Way off the beaten path we ate spicy beans with eggs and fresh tortillas. Dipping into the salsa pots would have made Anthony Bourdain proud.
Cooking for an outdoor patio setting
The chefs behind my mother’s favorite restaurant
Not exactly the kitchen scene I’m used to seeing in NY, but tasty food none-the-less
This woman cooks out of her open-walled kitchen & living room. She told my brother she is not much of a cook, but for $1 it was pretty good.
A typical produce stand
Brother Ryan

Farm Stay – NYT

Stony Creek Farm in Walton, NY, offers tent style camping (complete with flushing toilets, indoor gas stove, a wood floor platform, and furniture) to people who want the farm and camping experience without all the roughing it. I shot a story about it for the New York Times.

Slide Show – Farm Stay

Stony Creek Farm in Walton, NY, shot for the New York Times

North Winds Farm

Obviously, I don’t shy away from meat. But like so many others, I was a strict vegetarian for almost a decade. Luckily, there are now sources to buy meat that comes from well cared for animals that lived decent lives. On a recent shoot with farmer Richard Biezynski at North Winds Farm near Tivoli, NY, he told me if he hadn’t become a farmer, he would have been a vet. On season, you will often find me visiting his booth at the Woodstock Farmers’ Market.

Farmer Richard Biezynski and his son, Russell, at Northwind Farms, where they raise pigs

Wild Boar Weekend (Audio Slide Show)

The folks at Brooklyn-based A Razor, A Shiny Knife (self-described as “an educational, social and theatrical culinary experience”) hosted a weekend event near Ithaca, NY in which guests witnessed a boar journey from farm to table. I photographed and captured sound from the all-day event for the New York Times. Follow through below for the audio-slide show.

Audio Slide Show on the New York Times’s site (2:14 min)

Shot for the New York Times’s Dining section
Food stories in New York's Hudson Valley and beyond from photographer Jennifer May