Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ritz Pentagon City & The Fairmont

In the top floor lounge of The Ritz Carlton of Pentagon City, Pastry Chef Noree Hatheway and the Ritz staff pampered and catered to Buddy Chef Maddie Leasure. The eloquent furnishings, the quality service and panoramic view provided a dignified atmosphere to discuss plans for the upcoming Life is Sweet event. Although you might find Maddie at her favorite local hangout for a fast burger and fries, she always appreciates her friends and Buddy Noree at the Ritz.

Sometimes it is really a balancing act, deciding what pictures to take and what the chefs will do. One chef throws eggs, another lemons, another plays with fire, guess we are lucky no one yet throws knives. When we only had raspberries to do something with, I just didn't know what kind of raspberry the group would do. Luckily, they only balanced them on their noses. At the Fairmont you can keep your nose in the air only if you have a piece of fruit on it. Pastry Chef Pierre St. Pierre (who is leaving us in September) Buddy Pouneh Bahri, Buddy Chef Michael Apps and his Chef Aron Weber, the new Fairmont Pastry Chef, all keeping it real........

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Our original intention was to photograph all the buddy chefs with the apron and chef's hat. But sometimes conformity must be thrown out the window or even looked through another way. Restaurant Eve an elegant contemporary restaurant nestled in an Old Town Alexandria townhouse provided several fun challenges. The kitchen was too full of activity for us to interrupt their dinner preparations and the servers were having their nightly meeting in the main dining area. So we chose a secluded area in the second dining room. Then when Buddy Chef Natalie Mills entered with grace and style we knew we were doing the right thing. Her formal dress was perfectly suited to meet Chef Cathal Armstrong. The two of them enjoyed a refined yet casual conversation about their dessert plans for the Life is Sweet event.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Acadiana & Marcel's & Bazin's on Church

Each participating pastry chef provides a unique experience for their Buddy. Acadiana's Executive Pastry Chef David Guas really got things on fire with his Buddy Chef Jonathan Converse. After making a lemon tart, they decided to make a Louisiana style dessert something with bananas and added a bit of rum to it. (I really wish I remembered what it was called but I was busy trying to protect myself from the flames.) Luckily, there were no singed eyebrows and the place is still standing.

Buddy Chef Will Donner loves to fly among all his other interests that include baseball and sports...and an incredible memory for all types of information and statistics. So after a quick lesson in slicing fruits, Marcel's Chef Paul Stearman, who is quite an outdoorsman and can juggle quite a few things himself, let the lemons fly during the photoshoot.

You may have to wait to get a reservation in Bazin's on Church in Vienna, especially even more so now, that Chef Patrick Bazin has taken cooking TV show fan and Buddy Chef Cameron Graham and shared his secrets of making strawberry shortcakes. Cameron learned everything and just like her TV cooking mentor Emile! before serving their creation to her family, Patrick and her shouted.....BAM!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ritz Carlton DC

Ritz Carlton DC Chef Jerome Giradot learned the hard way, recovering from a deep cut on his finger from slicing his dinner at home, he made certain that his Buddy Chef, Ryan Gutkowski, learned proper knife etiquette. A fast learner, Ryan became proficient at slicing and dicing strawberries, kiwis, pineapples and passion fruit. Then, they meticulously placed the fruit on a tort that Ryan brought home for his family's dessert.

After completing the task, we were treated to a wide assortment of Ritz's cookies, all the usual flavors, that are favorites to Ritz clients. The Saturday morning pastry crew joined Jerome and Ryan in a group picture.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Four Seasons and 1789

After the initial introductions, Four Season's chef Romain Renard got down to business. Donning a Four Seasons baseball cap, Buddy Chef Tim deNesura was part of the team and was put to work. Tim was initiated in the art of sifting flour, (east--west motion only, north and south you get flour on your feet), painting chocolate (just like painting a wall, side to side motion and let the machine do it.) And then a team photo.

Since the Four Seasons is hosting the Life is Sweet event Chef Romain and Buddy Chef Tim have a lot of work to do. Tim who is working on attaining his Eagle Scout designation knows that they have to be prepared.

Girls just want to have fun, especially in the kitchen. 1789 Restaurant Pastry Chef Zoe Behrens and her Buddy Chef Meaghan Mundy laughed and enjoyed hamming it up. (Although ham really isn't the right word for a pastry event.) Look at their eyes, look at their smiles, add to the recipe, Zoe's award this year and you can be sure these two will create an astonishing delicious dessert experience for the Life is Sweet event.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Question two: What is the daily required amount of chocolate recommended? Willow Restaurant pastry chef, Kate Jansen, and Buddy Chef Suzan Basoglu decorated the richest chocolate cake I have ever seen. As Suzan was decorating the cake with raspberries, they discussed the dessert they were going to create for the Life is Sweet event. The working space was cramped and I made them move and contort their bodies in order to get the picture I wanted. These conspirators became instant friends and after I made them twist and turn I know they can do anything together

Thursday, August 17, 2006


For the second photo session for the Life is Sweet event, we went to 2941 Restaurant in Fall Church, VA. Executive chef Jonathan Krinn and Buddy Chef Erin Thompson were exquisite. Although I had "the shot" in the fourth frame, we did quite a bit more. The two of them are quite natural in front of the camera, each has their own captivating smile.

After the the photo shoot, I went into the kitchen to make a few portraits. There was restaurant personnel all over the place. It was buzzing, people cleaning, chefs preparing food, everybody doing something. Then I realized, that people really do care. People like Jonathan take time out of their insanely busy schedule to share their time to help a mission, to share their good fortunes with others who need just a little help.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Not to be confused with Superdawg on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, this dog can fly. Patches, a long hair miniature Dachshund belongs to my friend Sean. At 4 months old in June, he was introduced to a body of water at Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC. This dog jumped right in, and right over. Leaping from rocks to water and back, fearless.

I am not one to kvell over much, but this dog is so much fun. He hikes, he swims, he plays well with other dogs, he travels or he can just sit with you all day. Everyone stops to admire him. And the best part of it all...I get to play with him and none of the other responsibilities.

At six months.....Only a face everyone can love.

The Light is Perfect

The sun was setting, the warming reddish glow was just right. "Hurry....Hurry, come over here!" Lisa and Dan took their place on the steps. "Move over just a bit." "No...No, change positions." "OK that looks better. Hold that smile. Look natural (yeah, whatever that means.) Look here." "Relax....Hold her tight."

It is just a matter of making people feel comfortable while photographing them. After a few snaps they realize you are just trying to make them look great. After photographing Lisa at many functions over the years for Best Buddies, she is accustomed to my ever-present camera. Now it will be her big event, Lisa and Dan's wedding. This image was made at their engagement party. Her family and friends saw me in action and now know the fun we will have photographing their big day.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Show me the sound

A friend of mine has an innovative sound system that his company (TBISound) invented and is marketing. Although I am not a music fanatic, I can comprehend and appreciate the incredible sound this system can deliver. So they needed some images for their website. This was a test of my photo skills. With a make shift studio, white backdrops, color gels and a lot of patience, I was able to spend a Sunday afternoon making some good pictures. Check out the website for my pictures, but better yet, if you are really into quality sound, check out their complete speaker system. You really have to hear it to appreciate it.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Never Give Up

As I was compiling images for my web portfolio, I found this image from the 2006 Special Olympics National Games in Ames, Iowa. It epitomizes the spirit and desire of the athletes. Up against forces bigger than oneself, one still faces them and tries. It is the act of facing your challenges that one conquers them. Never give up, always try, and you will surprise yourself.

Again I was fortunate this year to be chosen to officiate basketball for the National Games. Words can not describe the emotion, enthusiasm and excitement to be part of this event. During the week long event, I saw incredibly talented basketball players and most importantly great sportsmanship. Athletes, coaches and fans showed positive spirit and encouragement to all the participants. The volunteers from Iowa were extraordinary . Their warmth and friendliness was so much appreciated. There were home baked peanut butter chocolate covered rice crispy treats and brownies that were always there waiting for us. This one was of the many acts of kindness. They went out of their way to make the visit memorable.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Life is Sweet

Today is the first of 20 photographic shoots for the Life is Sweet Pastry Chef Showcase for Best Buddies Virginia. White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier and his buddy Brenna Cannon posed for me at the kitchens of L'Academie de Cuisine in Gaitherburg, MD. Food all around us, it is hard not to grab something tasty as we walked around the kitchens. With his thick accent and jovial personality, Roland is a joy to photograph. He and Brenna performed brilliantly to my continuous encouragement to look happy and just one more. This is the beginning of something good.