Kasey and Matt had been conspiring to bring some of the talent from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts to Polara Studio. Matt Kuerbis is the Director of Education and a Master Chef at Le Cordon Bleu, who’s friends with Kasey, our Client Services Director. They had been brainstorming on how to connect the synergy between Le Cordon Bleu and the food loving crew here at Polara.
Kasey set up a tour of Le Cordon Bleu and to meet with a “soon-to-be” graduate. There was mention to Kasey of a student who had great interest in photography and videography. Once we arrived I was joking about having no desire to train another chef on how different it is to style food to eat rather than style to shoot. Matt reiterated how interested this student was in the art of photography and videography and on top of that his love for food. He had done videos himself for Le Cordon Bleu which we had a chance to see.
When we finally met with Corey Nickel, the first thing that struck us was the slew of questions he had for us. Corey was obviously smart and genuinely curious and passionate about food, but looking to take, perhaps, a more non-traditional path in his food career. Most of all, Corey seemed like a really nice and humble guy seeking to absorb everything he could about the business behind food.
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After some discussion, I suggested we try a test shoot together. I have been working on a series called, “Bounty of Oregon”. It involves shooting fresh ingredients and showing them both raw and cooked. Corey said he had a really great recipe for a butternut squash soup. Butternut squash is not the most attractive of squashes in my humble opinion however I left it up to him to come up with a way of presenting them in an attractive manner. He had to come up with the food, the food props like garnishes, plates, tableware, linen, recipes, etc. I would be responsible to find a cool background, an exciting composition (though this is often a collaborative process) and some great lighting.
We also brought in an intern that had expressed a love for food and photography. Her name is Alicia Gordon and she was my photo assistant for the day. Her bright and whimsical personality was fun to have on set. Seeing this process through a fresh set of eyes was a great experience for me. We found a few photographs to share. I must also attest to the fact that this soup tasted as good as it looked.
I am very thankful for being able to collaborate together and to share knowledge as we all learn and evolve.