Battman, the man behind The Chef’s Connection, was back at Betony. This time, it was all about the photos, and getting a beautiful shot of two culture-crossing dishes for Battman’s next book, “Crossing Borders”, from Executive Chef Bryce Shuman. Betony was pronounced Esquire’s Best New Restaurant of the Year in 2013, and Bryce was recently touted by New York Magazine as one of the Best New Chefs in Manhattan.
We had a quick tour of the kitchen and got a crash course in kitchen discipline, by osmosis. Then, we set up in a room downstairs for the photo shoot. Battman is the master of quick set-ups, so the camera and lights were ready well before the food.
The first dish Bryce brought to us was Poached Hen’s Egg with Black Trumpet Cavatelli and Ginger. To get that perfect shot from above, the dish was placed on the floor, directly under the camera. Bryce pays attention to every detail of his restaurant and his food, so he got into the spirit of things immediately and crouched down to add the finishing touches without compromising the lighting or the set-up.
Trumpet powder was sprinkled.
Black radish was grated.
Mushroom dashi was poured.
The extra touches were transformational.
The chef and the photographer took a look. Mutual approval was granted.
Battman asked for a dessert as well, so Bryce came back with something quickly, courtesy of his Pastry Sous Chef Rebecca Isbell, who collaborates with him on desserts for the restaurant. It was an unexpected combination of flavors and ingredients that looked as enticing as it was elegant: Jasmine Rice with Meyer Lemon and Lavender Mochi. This time, it went up on the table.
This isn’t Battman’s photo, but it’s a true testament to the value of good lighting.
After finishing with the “real” camera, Battman grabbed his phone for some quick Instagram-ing.
And we were done! The whole shoot took less than 30 minutes from start to finish, and the bonus? We got to eat both delicious creations.
Here are Battman’s book-ready photographs:
Poached Hen’s Egg with Black Trumpet Cavatelli and Ginger
Jasmine Rice with Meyer Lemon and Lavender Mochi
Text and photos (except for the final two) by Laurie Ulster
Watch Bryce Shuman’s interview on not being an actor.