This July I was assigned by Wine Spectator Magazine to shoot two stories for their October issue. One story is about Costa Dorada and the second is about Priorat Wine region in Catalan, Spain.
Costa Dorada or ‘The Golden Coast’ is only a 40 minutes drive from Barcelona and it is a perfect destination for a Summer Family vacation. It is a rich territory with a long coastline along the Mediterranean dotted by 20 colorful villages and towns, spread out between the sea and the mountains. But not only the sunny beaches and the golden sand. Vineyards, olive groves, hazel and almonds trees can also be found.
Scroll down to read more about some of the areas’ highlights and the best locations I’ve shot. (original text from article)
Those of you who follow my blog and my recent travels, know that I have a soft spot for Portugal in general, and Lisbon in particular. For the last three years I’ve been visiting Lisbon six times already and shot hotels, restaurants and street scenes for various magazines.
From an outsider point of view, and as a photographer, it is great to see how the city has changed through these year.
The city is buzzing with tourists, the cafe’s are packed with people, new wine boutiques, boutique hotels, trendy restaurants, chefs’ restaurants, colorful tik-tok taxies, yellow trams riding back and forth the historic route of Lisbon. Even the sardines smell better. I call it The Revival of the City.
When Virtuoso magazine has asked me to shoot ‘Lisbon Tasty Renaissance’ a food story about Lisbon, I said Yes right away. Especially since the Portuguese kitchen is one of my favorite.
I was lucky to shoot some of the top chefs in Lisbon, such as Jose Avillez and Joao Rodrigues, who both won a Michelin star. I also shot the new Mercado da Riberia and some other great restaurants and bars. It was a great way to discover Lisbon through the food.
Scroll down for some highlights and addresses from the article, for your next travel in Lisbon.
Mercado da Ribeira
Start your exploration of the Mercado da Ribeira by nibbling on petiscos, the Portuguese equivalent of Spanish tapas, a tradition of small bites that is rising in popularity in Lisbon. These might be a vinegary octopus salad, fried green beans, or local cheeses. Sip wild cherry liqueur and eat a prego, or steak sandwich, served on soft, circular bolo do caco bread. Sample bites of cured ham and sausage, sourdough acorn bread, and creamy cinnamon gelato from Santini, and make sure to buy a small bottle of local piri piri chili oil. With around 30 stalls, you can easily wander and try whatever looks good. One of the best souvenirs is inexpensive but high-quality tinned fish at the Conserveira de Lisboa outpost. For kitchenware and other Portuguese-made finds, browse the shelves of local favorite A Vida Portuguesa. Rua Anchieta 11.
If you are on a diet, this post might ruin your efforts to lose weight. In that case, I strongly recommend you skip to the next post and just ignore this one. If you are not on a diet, have a sweet tooth, curious about new things or heading to Paris soon, this post is for you.
I was in Paris in March, shooting a story for Feast Magazine about Rue du Nil for their August issue. In addition, I was asked to shoot a cover for the Bite Size Pieces section of the most popular Parisian Eclairs of the well known pastry chef Christophe Adam, the man behind L’Eclairs de Genie. It seems as the eclairs’ collection is changing by the day and the season and the colorful eclairs come in a range of creative flavors, filling and topping.
Even though I got from Feast Magazine a detailed list of the eclairs they wanted me to shoot, not all the eclairs were available on that day but some different flavors were presented on the counter. I arrived to the store quite early before its opening hours, just so I can have the space (and the eclairs) for myself but within minutes after its opening, the store got crowded by hungry and curious costumers.
Of course I had to try! At least three of them.
My favorite was Eclair Audrey, named after Audrey Gellet, who won a French baking competition in a television series and was honored to create her version for L’Eclairs de Genie. The eclair has chocolate and tonka bean cream, orange praline and candied oranges.
L’Eclairs de Genie is located in 14 Rue Pavée, steps from Saint Paul Metro station.
A little bit before the month of March, I was contacted by the Photo Editor of FEAST Magazine, who asked me if I could shoot a food story for them while I am in Paris. FEAST is one of the leading food magazines in Australia, and shortly did I learn that food magazines in Australia are like what Fashion magazines are in Italy. The Photo Editor mentioned the three magic words, Rue Du Nil, which, in fact was the first time I have heard about this street.
‘…A tiny cobblestone street is the setting of Paris’s recent food revolution with shops that now stock locally and ethically sourced produce and a trio of eateries run by the young chef who started it all…’(words by Clotilde Dusoulier)
This young chef is Greg Marchand, ‘who in 2009 was returning from a few years cooking abroad- Spain, New York, Hong Kong and London. His nickname then was ‘Frenchie’, and he lent it to his own 20-seat restaurant, a tiny space with historic charm, stone walls and exposed beams’
Up till then, I personally didn’t know about Rue du Nil and didn’t hear about Frenchie restaurant, I admit. But after two-days shoot in this tiny street in the up and coming Sentier neighborhood, I felt like I’m at home, saying ‘Hi’ to my neighborhood vendors and having my coffee at my favorite place. Was it because all the shops’ owners were working together and knowing each other, was it because the street is so tiny…I felt very welcomed that even when my shoot was over, I stayed and had a coffee or a drink with the shops’ main players.
‘…In 2011 he (Greg) opened Frenchie Bar a Vins, a no-reservation wine bar where drinks are downed with small plates made from beautifully sourced ingredient. Among the menu items was a pulled pork sandwich that Greg’s wife Marie was so crazy about she convinced him to create a third restaurant, on the same Rue du Nil, which was starting to feel like their own backyard by then…this was how Frenchie To Go was born, in 2013, selling high quality versions of classic sandwiches using house made or locally sourced ingredients…Meanwhile, Greg kept developing relationship with suppliers and partners, many of whom had become his friends. Among them were Alexandre Drouard and Samuel Nahon, who had created a company in 2008 called Terroirs d’Avenir– ‘terroirs with a future’…..’
When Greg told them about an availability of some shops in the street, Alexandre and Samuel seized this opportunity and opened three shops side by side; A butcher shop, a fish shop and vegetables and cheese one. I was very impressed by these two young guys and their vision that I found myself having a long conversation with Alexandre (off my shooting hours of course) about the business background and the plans for the future.
The third location I had to shoot in Rue du Nil was L’Arbre a Cafe, located opposite from Frenchie To Go. Hippolyte Courty, the owner of the company, is a well trained coffee roaster who specializes in exceptional coffee grown on biodynamic farms from Ethiopia to India. As a coffee addict myself who is always in search of a good and quality coffee, I highly recommend L’Arbre a Cafe, The Coffee Tree. In one of my days-off shooting I took the Metro all the way from the 11th Arrondissements to the 2nd, just to have a good cappuccino.
The months of March and April were filled with Food shots assignment, and I found this one about Rue du Nil, one of the most enjoyable experiences I had. The Food, the people, the location, all made it a fun one.
I think that most photographers, beside seeing their images in print and in Travel magazines, might feel very proud and accomplished when they see their own picture in the contributors’ page.
At least this is how I feel when I see my picture and my name. Especially when it has to do with World Top magazine such as Travel + Leisure.
In this coming July issue, I will have my Feasts of Tel Aviv food story published, but also a short interview with me about it. Needless to say it feels almost unreal and for me it is a dream comes true. If you can’t grab a copy at the nearest newsstand, here is the interview… right after this…
Restaurant you’ll go to again and again: I spend a lot of time in Tel Aviv, and lately, I find myself constantly returning to Cafe Nachmani. I love its artistic interior and atmospher – It makes me feel as I am back in New York.
You can’t call yourself a Tel Aviv foodie until…You’ve elbowed your way through the long lines at Abu Hassan, a hummus place in Jaffa.
Favorite Photo subject: Laundry. I’ve traveled to Naples, Italy and Menton, in the South of France just to shoot hanging laundry for my ongoing photography project ‘Intimacy Under the Wires’
Food you couldn’t live without: Dark Chocolate. I’d eat it at every meal.
Best dish while on assignment:Ricotta gnocchi on a bed of chard, mostly because chef Haim Cohen of Yaffo Tel Aviv cooked it for me himself.
“…From pickled mussels to sardines with shushka peppers to glazed pork belly, charred eggplant and much, much more…Tel Aviv may look like South Beach on the eastern Mediterranean, but the food is ‘influence-rich, ingredient-agnostic, and genre-busting’ …I am very honored to introduce my recent shoot for Travel + Leisure, July Issue: Welcome to The Feasts of Tel Aviv.
A few months ago I was contacted by the Photo Editor of Travel+Leisure, asking me if I was interested in shooting the Food Scene in Tel Aviv for an upcoming Summer issue. Of course I said Yes. Even though I am not a foodie, I LOVE photographing food and style some table scenes. My Food assignment started with an item aboutHaCarmel Market in April issue and continued with an exciting list of some of the busiest restaurants in Tel Aviv, run by some of the Top Chefs in the Israeli Culinary arena.
Restaurants such as Yaffo Tel Aviv by chef Haim Cohen, HaSalon and Port Said, run by chef Eyal Shani, Alma Lounge Bar, to chef Yonatan Roshfeld. In addition I had to photograph Gil Hovav, a well known food writer, TV host, book publisher and producer. I photographed Gil in HaCarmel Market and it was fun watching how he interacts with his fans and how people in the street stop him to acknowledge him.
If you wonder if I ate some of the food, the answer is No. Not really. I was so busy making sure I have the appropriate light or the appropriate lighting equipment and even making sure the chefs themselves feel comfortable and at ease, that I really could not sit down and relax at the end of the shoot. But nevertheless, the experience was AMAZING and I enjoyed every minute of it. At Yaffo Tel Aviv I peeped into the kitchen and saw how they make their own pasta. I also got some tips from chef Haim Cohen in case I visit Georgia. In HaSalon restaurant I ended up having a long conversation with Eyal Shani (even though I was quite nervous to photograph him) and in Port Said I had to be very fast and specific if I wanted to get that specific frame by my ‘hand models’ (I had only 30 minutes).
Every shooting assignment is a learning experience and teaches me something new. Beside the fact I get to know Tel Aviv MOSTLY from the shooting assignments I get, this Food Scene shoot taught me how to communicate with Top Master chefs (who have their reputation and ego) so I can get from them the shots and frames I want. It also taught me to plan my shoots ahead of time but also be open for changes on the set, and above all, it introduced me with some of the best food in Tel Aviv, I was not yet familiar with.
Tel Aviv is becoming quite a HOT destination recently, not only because of the weather, but mostly for the things it has to offer; Culture, Beach life, Night life and the Food. Oh yes…The Food.
Travel+Leisure April Issue is always a food related one. This April issue I was assigned to shoot the ‘Street Smart’ segment for ‘On the Radar’ and I found myself looking for a variety of interesting characters in HaCarmel Market in Tel Aviv. I must admit; I haven’t spent so much time in HaCarmel Market before, mostly because it is always busy and crowded. But for this assignment, I walked around the alleys in different hours of the day, spoke to Patrons, followed customers, photographed dogs, tried out some Humus places, Beer Bars and got myself familiar and comfortable with that special rhythm of the market.
I highly recommend to get yourself familiar with these locals picks…and if you are a foodie, stick around, because there is so much more to come.
What if a fashion student from Brooklyn, a web developer from San Francisco, a videographer from Zurich, a Brazilian couple from Rio, a Brazilian couple who lives in Toronto and an Israeli photographer who lives in New York, all sit around one table for a Saturday brunch in a cute little apartment in the Lower East Side? It might sound like a beginning of a joke, but at the same time, it is a very possible situation, thanks to EatWith.
If you didn’t hear the latest news, EatWith is definitely IT.
Founded and started in Israel, and now rapidly spreading to Spain, Brazil, Italy and New York, EatWith is like the Airbnb but for food. As their statement says: ‘It is a global community that invites you to dine in homes around the World…connect with amazing hosts, share stories and unforgettable experiences, and enjoy delicious homemade cuisine’
As a travel photographer, I always prefer to walk in the less traveled paths. (This is when and where I get most of my best shots). And I have also been a fond of connecting with locals and experience their city through their eyes and daily habits. As the famous phrase guides me: When in Rome do as the Romans do….
Thanks to EatWith, I know that the next time I visit Barcelona and want to have original Tapas on an open terrace, I can easily book it here, or if I am in Amsterdam and want to have a special dinner cooked by a professional chef, I can book it here. The next time I be in Lisbon for a shoot and feel like having an old school Portuguese lunch, I can book it here. The options and the variety are almost endless…you see what I mean.
Before I tell you more about my recent Middle Eastern Brunch with a Hummus Master in the Lower East Side last Saturday, I have a confession to make; I know the people who run EatWith. And I know how hard they work to make this global community successful, professional and tasty.
Maya, who is a good friend of mine, joined EatWith group as the VP Product Developer right from the start. In fact, as a foodie, Maya used to cook special dinners for her friends and gradually turned these dinners into a networking get-together and raising money for a good cause. In one of her dinners, Guy Michlin and Shemer Schwartz, EatWith founders, were among the guests. They heard about Maya’s dinners and wanted to meet her in person. It took them one cooked meal to ask Maya to join their team.
Through Maya, I was introduced to Guy. I actually met Guy in Rome for the first time. I was there for a shoot and he was in Italy to recruit hosts. I had the opportunity to hear from Guy himself how did it all start. You can read all about Guy’s story here.
In one of my recent visits to Tel Aviv, I had the opportunity to join one of EatWith dinners. It was nice to see how strangers enjoyed sitting around one table and sharing dinner. ‘Well, of course it isgoing to work’ I thought to myself, ‘Because Israelis are so easy going and open’. But last Saturday I was so happy to discover that this concept of sitting around one table and sharing a meal with strangers, is quite successful even outside the borders of Israel, and in New York as well. I’m quite sure that if the typical New Yorker who can be sometimes skeptical, invites strangers to his home and cook for them lunch or dinner, than this EatWith vision to bring people together one meal at a time is definitely working.
I admire Chef Constance for her charisma and how serious she is about food. The way she talks to people and explains them about the elements of the dish they are about to cook, the way she instructs how to use the cooking tools, and the way she does it both in French and in English, are all things I wish I could do. The only hint about her goofy and playful character is in her un-matching socks she is wearing.
She started cooking when she was eight years old. She used to make cakes every Wednesday in a pastry school. As she didn’t want to go to Ballet classes, her mom made a deal with her: She could go to the cooking class if she would take a Ballet class as well. So she did.
When she turned 15, she started a culinary school for five years. She admits the school was quite demanding, but it was the best training to learn the reality of this job. Some of her training were in Le Bristol, Le Meurice and The Ritz, all five stars hotels in Paris. When school was over she headed to the Four Season Hotel in Palm Beach, in order to practice both her culinary skills outside of Paris and improve her English.
When she got back to Paris, she got hired as a chef for the American Embassy and the Unesco Ambassador and afterwards she was part of establishing a new restaurant with the sous chef she worked with in Le Bristol, called Le Cristal de Sel. Mind you, she was not even 30!
After eight years of cooking she joined Cook’n with Class as she felt she was ready to teach others how to cook. If you visit Paris, I highly recommend to book a cooking class with Chef Constance. If you can’t make it to Paris yet, then check Chef Constance’s blog where she shares all the good recipes and the techniques she learned all over the world.
She specializes in fish and sea food. As I share with her the love of swimming, Constance used to do swimming races during her Summer days so it was quite natural for her to go towards products from the Sea.
This is why she taught that great Scallop class in Haven’s Kitchen.
The Location: Haven’s Kitchen
Haven’s Kitchen is a two-story-about to be-three stories space for cooking classes, events venue, a neighborhood’s cafe and a gourmet shop. All in one place in West Village. It became a gathering place to reconnect people with food and the community. The classes varies from beginners, wine tasting, barbecue and grilling, Holiday cooking and seasonal classes. As the classes vary, so do the chefs. Constance is not a permanent resident but a guest from Paris. How great is that to be in New York, in such a great school with a chef all the way from Paris!
I love the design of Haven’s Kitchen. The front of the store is a little cafe with a gourmet store and pantry. A tall wood table in the middle of the store, where people can sit, sip their coffees and read some cooking books, all left around on the tables. The pantry sells mostly Made in Brooklyn-Made in New York brands such as delicious jams, teas, chocolates, wines and honey. And then…the kitchen! Big working tables, tons of jars filled with herbs from all over the world, pans, pots, plates of all sizes, utensils and more. Such a well equipped space that makes the cooking seems so easy and obviously, enjoyable.
The second floor has a great space which is rented for some food venues and events and a wine tasting bar. The third floor will have more room for classes in the near future. The space is definitely a cooking Haven.
The Class: Sea Scallop
Even though it might sound easy, It takes longer to make Seas scallop poached into a lettuce leaf with creamy leeks and smoked bacon and Sea scallop roasted with a crust of parmesan cheese with baby spinach than eating it. And yet, all the eight women and the only man who were part of Constance’s class, listened very carefully to what she said and followed her instructions.
In the end it was a lovely dish, accompanied with Baguette and butter, French wine and a citron flavored creamy dessert that Constance prepared in advance.
I wish the pictures could transfer the taste but meanwhile… if you want to try it at home, contact Constance for the recipes.
Before I start this post I have a confession to make: I don’t know how to cook.
Do you find it shocking? Not really. For someone who was born into a family where the men love to cook and even do it better than the women, my lacking in cooking skills is quite understandable. In fact, I am quite lucky to be surrounded with men who know how to cook, do it well and actually love doing it. Most of the guys I’ve dated belong to that category. The truth need to be told that I might be creative in other rooms in my apartment, but I am not creative in the kitchen.
Therefore, I was quite excited to take part in a real authentic French cooking class while visiting Paris early June. Cook’n with Classis the name of this fine school, located in 21, rue Custine in Montmartre. I am a true believer that Once in Paris, act and cook like Parisians do, I have joined a Morning Market class, which took place in one of Montmartre’s outdoors markets, in order to shop for the meal’s ingredients first and then learn how to cook them. We met with the wonderful super nice chef, Constance, who was extremely patient and answered every question we asked. She took us to various vendors in which we could find top quality products such as cheese, bread, fruit and meat. The local merchants were actually quite familiar with the school’s activity and were willing to answer our questions. Constance explained us on how to choose cheese, what is considered a good cheese and how to match its kind with other ingredients of the meal, for example. After that we walked to the school, where aprons, chopping boards and chef’s knives were waiting for us, ready to be used. We learned how to cook from scratch a starter, main course and even a dessert. It was all very inspiring! In the room next door, there was a baking class in progress and I could only hoped I had extra time in Paris so I could attend this class too. I have counted at least three people who got inside the school just to inhale the warm sweet smell of the buttery brioche.
Since it was a rainy day in Paris, especially quite unusual for June, Constance suggested we cook something with Spring seasoned vegetables such as potatoes, chanterelle mushrooms in a chicken stock. We also cooked meat with potatoes and pears (perfect for the weather) and the highlight (at least for me) was the fruit tart with roasted apples and caramel salted butter. And in case you missed something or want to try it at home, or maybe try something that was taught in a different class, I highly recommend to check the recipes section on line.
At the end of the hands-on cooking session, we sat down around the dining table (we could also invite a guest for lunch) and enjoyed the four-course meal. Everything was accompanied with various kinds of cheese we bought previously and wine. together with a fine selection of cheeses from the market and some great wine. The school has a quite busy schedule, diverse classes and an international staff of chefs, all speak English very fluent.
I don’t remember when was the last time I was almost four to five hours straight in the kitchen, but I was so intrigued and interested in the French ways of cooking that I didn’t even noticed the time.
It was one of my best experiences in Paris. In fact, I was quite surprised by myself as I usually lose track or anything. This cooking class was something quite a complimentary to all my Parisian experiences this visit.