Our first stop was with Chef Laurent Merdy of the Willard Hotel, one of the most elegant and historical places in DC. He and Buddy Chef Caitlin Donovan shared time in the kitchen learning to fill little pastries. Afterward, we were treated to a fantastic assortment of peanut butter, oatmeal raisin and chocolate cookies.
Vidalia's Chef Caitlin Kelly recently returned to DC after surviving Katrina in New Orleans. Her warm smile and graciousness radiated as she met Buddy Chef Greg Voldish. Their friendship instantly grew as the two of them melted chocolate and hand dipped plump ripe strawberries.
Chef Naomi Gallego and Buddy Chef Chelsea Murray were matched last year. However this year, Naomi is at a new restaurant, PS7. When we visited, the restaurant was not officially open. However, Naomi was more than happy to meet up with her buddy Chelsea and spend time together.
Chef Geoff's Pastry Chef Nichole Ferrigno delivered a baby two weeks before our photoshoot. It was amazing the she was able leave her baby and look so good during her photo shoot. Buddy Chef Pounhe had some trouble making it on time to the restaurant. But that is OK, things happen and the two of them will be able to spend plenty of time together before the big event.
As the day got later, I was getting tired. However, Chef Megan Seward of Equinox and her Buddy Chef Russell Kelly were extremely patient with me. Megan brought out two incredible desserts and Russell eyed both dishes as I requested them to smile and pose before eating. Finally, I reliquished my request and they both indulged before I could say "just one more."
The last shoot of the day, Buddy Chef Cesar Rojas was in for quite a treat. After meeting Chef Stefan Jarausch of the Madison, they both went to work in the kitchen. First, filling some pasties and then learning knife skills. They started to cut into pineapples. Cesar never used to like the fruit. But after learning to properly cut them, Chef Stefan encouraged him to try it. And try it he did.....And he liked it!! Not only did Cesar gain a new taste for pineapple but he gained a new best friend. What great way to end our photo journey!