Monday, November 29, 2010

Molecular gastronomy...from AnQi Asian Bistro

"Molecular gastronomy is a discipline practiced by both scientists and food professionals that studies the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking. Molecular gastronomy seeks to investigate and explain the chemical reasons behind the transformation of ingredients, as well as the social, artistic and technical components of culinary and gastronomic phenomena in general." Wikipedia

(click on each picture to enlarge)

1. "Champagne & Caviar" - nicolas feuilllate gelee, american sturgeon caviar

2. Kumamoto Oyster - yuzu lemonade air, soy mignonette, pop rocks

3. Hiramassa Crudo - sweet & sour tangerine sheet, beet sorbet, avocado

Current objectives: Looking for the mechanisms of culinary transformations and processes (from a chemical and physical point of view) in three areas:

  1. the social phenomena linked to culinary activity
  2. the artistic component of culinary activity
  3. the technical component of culinary activity
4. Ahi Tuna Nicoise - kalamata 'olives', 64*C quail eggs, haricot vert

5. Kurabota Pork Belly - kimchee consomme, freeze dried banana, peanut butter powder

6. Foie Gras Tarchon - cherry-yuzu gel, bacon dust, iced celery, 'instant' ginger-pineapple brioche

Example areas of investigation:

  • How ingredients are changed by different cooking methods
  • How all the senses play their own roles in our appreciation of food
  • The mechanisms of aroma release and the perception of taste and flavor
  • How and why we evolved our particular taste and flavor sense organs and our general food likes and dislikes
  • How cooking methods affect the eventual flavor and texture of food ingredients
  • How new cooking methods might produce improved results of texture and flavor
  • How our brains interpret the signals from all our senses to tell us the "flavor" of food
  • How our enjoyment of food is affected by other influences, our environment, our mood, how it is presented, who prepares it, etc.
7. Jidori Chicken Confit - himalayan black truffle, butternut squash, chanterelles, hazelnut brittle

8. Elderflower Parfait - tangerine tapioca 'caviar', rose merinque,jasmine sorbet, thyme fluid gel

9. Misoyaki Black Cod - garden vegetables 'a la greque', foie gras miso broth

10. "Looks like Tartare" - compressed watermelon, mango 'egg', dehydrated caper

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Arch Rock Fish, the quintessential fish restaurant in Santa Barbara

If you went to Santa Barbara and didn't have fish at least once, would be like going to Paris and not having croissants, or going to India and not trying curry. It's a must!
The question is where?
You can find a slew of places scattered on the pier or on State Str., some big, some small mom and pop, some offering a few really good dishes others offering a lot of mediocre ones.
BUT...if you want to experience a true fish restaurant, one that has a comprehensive high quality menu, you have to go to Arch Rock Fish!!!
Arch Rock Fish is the brain child of chef Scott Liebfried and business partner Jereamiah Higgins, owners of HJL Restaurant Advisers.
I met chef Liebfried a few years ago while shooting for Santa Monica Seafood Co. where he was consulting and developing the menu for their restaurants. We became close friends and over time I developed a great respect and appreciation for Scott as a chef. From the precision and dedication with which he runs his kitchen, to the creative and simple way he conceives and develops his menu and his dishes , Scott IS the quintessential chef!
Arch Rock Fish is opened every day and is located at:
608 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA. 93101

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kinetic food

Spilling and splashing, dripping and dropping, pouring and ... dunking! Food can be so much fun to work with, and just like a work of art it can change and evolve into something completely unpredictable, something unforeseen at the beginning of the process. I think that to some extent all food changes shape sooner or later either because we "force" it to do so, or simply because when left alone time will takes its toll. Regardless, I always have fun with trying to capture food in its "kinetic" form, and I have to say I'm always surprised at how much fun and surprising it can be.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Palihouse, West Hollywood

In case I never mentioned it, Chef Gary Menes is probably my favorite chef that I've worked with in Los Angeles. He was privously at French Laundry, Plate and Palet and most recently at Marche in Sherman Oaks. Now, he took over a great place in West Hollywood, called "The Hall", which is part of the Palihouse Hotel. I shot last week some of his new dishes and again, I was blown away.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The An Dynasty: Crustacean, AnQi, Tiato.

The An family is building a food Dynasty in Southern California! Started by Chef Helen An, whom everybody refers warmly as "Mama", and supported by her five daughters, this small food empire is comprised of the original Crustacean in Beverly Hills, Anqi in South Coast Plaza , and now the newest addition Tiato in Santa Monica. Each restaurant is very different in style, but the food is consistently impressive throughout, with the Asian influence underling every dish.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


  • Splashing! Pouring! Dropping cookies into milk! Pouring vodtka lit on fire into a martini glass! Very messy, but it just can't get more fun than this! Every shot I took in this series was surprising, and at times magical. Each additional shutter created a new look, nothing is static when you deal with liquids. The shapes you end up with are organic, explosive and very sexy. Each new shot became my favorite, each new liquid was more interesting to work with than the previous one.