Alan Batt, better known in the culinary world as simply Battman, began his career as a photographer in 1981. Back then, he was shooting photos of city scenes and landmark sites of New York City and publishing them as greeting cards sold throughout the city. Battman has taken photos for the New York Times, the U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism, NYC and Company, and ten years for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (as lead photographer). In his role as a photographer, he has walked up the Brooklyn Bridge cable, stood on the ice shield of the Empire State Building and was invited to photograph the last steps of the Second Avenue Subway, breaking through the last wall to connect it to the F train tunnel. For 17 years from 1987 to 2004, he had a permanent exhibition of 35 prints in the Empire State Building. Since 1995, he has been photographing and publishing the New York City Firefighters calendar, raising over $700,00 for various charities including the Staten Island Burn Center.
In 2001 at Tribeca Grill, Battman took his first food photograph, Lamb Chops. He never thought much about food before but was in awe of what the chefs could do. In 2002, he asked 21 of the best chefs in New York for their best looking dish, which he then photographed and added to his Empire State Building exhibition. In 2004, he published their recipes in his first book, “The Great Bagels and Lox Book.” Batt has subsequently published 12 more books: every year, he works with over 200 chefs to create a new book, and a corresponding book signing event, The Great Gathering of Chefs (having more chefs together in one place than any other event in the world). Profits from these events and book sales are given to various children’s charities.
The Chefs Connection website has been around for 4 years. It connects people and chefs and chefs with chefs. The views per month are 18-20 thousand. Out of this came a Line Cook School that trains and places unemployed people in restaurants around New York City. The school is free of charge to the students.
He is currently working on 8 new books with chefs around the country.