Holy freezing weather Battman!
Holy freezing weather Battman!

There was only one name that could describe the project that to date was the most interesting, cool and crazy that I’ve ever done.   “The MCF North American Insanity Tour” – 77 Chefs in 46 Cities in approximately 50 days. That included Canada, St. Lucia and The Cayman Islands. I took 28 flights, 5 train rides, a 3 day cruise, a bus and I can’t remember how many car rentals and taxis. Except for Los Angeles and San Francisco I slept in a different bed every night. I went from 90 degrees to 10 degrees with my equipment on my back and a small carry on that had all my clothes, a tripod and 7 plates that the chefs had to use. The task was to photograph 4 dishes from each chef for a cookbook. The challenge was to get it done in as short amount of time as possible.  It went really well and smooth with only a little bit of craziness.

So here we go, The Insanity Tour.

New England

I started this leg of my Insanity Tour with a train to Boston. It was either the train or taking a taxi to the airport, waiting for the flight, the flight, then another taxi to the restaurant in downtown Boston.  Chef Jacky Robert at Ma Maison is pictured with the biggest sushi I’ve ever seen. From there I rented a car and drove to Lexington Mass. to see Chef Raymond Ost at Wilson Farms. I was surprised to find out that there was no restaurant. It was a farm and gigantic store supermarket. It was Chef Raymond’s job to supply the store with really good take-out fresh dinners, about 5,000 a month. So, no restaurant, no room in the kitchen and no place in the store to shoot. The only spot was on a beat up table outside in the parking lot. It was 17 degrees out there. I spent the night at the chef’s home and the next day I drove to Montpelier, Vermont.

Chef/partners Jean-Louis Gerin and Andre Burnier own The New England Culinary Institute. It was about 10 degrees with snow on the ground and a wonderful old town. I stayed over night there and drove to Burlington in the morning to catch a bus to Montreal. The reason I took a bus was that if I dropped the car off in Canada it would have cost $1,100.

Welcome to Canada!

Got to Montreal, rented a car and headed over to Europea. There are 3 chefs in Montreal, Patrice de Felice, Jerome Ferrer and Jean-Paul Hartmann in different restaurants but Patrice plated all the dishes at Europea.

The next day it was Chef Eric Gonzalez at L’Atelier in the Montreal Casino. I was also scheduled to photograph Chef Baptiste Peupion’s dishes but he had to go to France. I would have to come back to do it. Next, off to Quebec.

It was 11:30 PM when I drove into Quebec, It was 2 days before Christmas, the decorations were up and it had just snowed.  You know I had to stop and take some photos. I checked into the Le Chateau Frontnac.  It’s in the old city that looks exactly like an old town in Europe. The next morning I worked with Chef Stephane Modat at The Fairmont in Quebec and actually had the rest of the day to walk around. The next morning it was Jean-Luc Boulay. Then it was off to the airport to be home for the holidays.

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