Ever wonder how a cookbook is created? Here's a behind the scenes look at the photo shoot for Laurent Gras: My Provence, shot over a two-week period in a TriBeca-based culinary photo studio aptly named The Shooting Kitchen. We had the pleasure of working with an amazing team of talented professionals including the dynamic photography team of Shimon and Tammar Rothstein, co-author and James Beard Foundation EVP Mitchell Davis, the film crew from Broderville Pictures and finally, master chef Laurent Gras and his two assistants Marco and Amanda.
The team met in the studio every morning at 9am for breakfast and planning. Each day we shot between four to five dishes, from ingredients and prep to cooking and final plating, over 10,000 photos total! I was tasked with the special responsibility of ensuring that each of the over 400 individual ingredients were not only on hand for chef Gras, but met the specific color, quality and size specifications for each of the dishes. By the end of the shoot I had a detailed mental map of three downtown NYC Whole Foods, the Chelsea Market, Eataly and various specialty food shops around Manhattan. Needless to say I had enough grocery shopping over those two weeks to last me a lifetime...
On the other hand, working on a cookbook with a master chef does have its perks. Aside from picking up the occasional cooking tip and working in a studio constantly filled with mouthwatering aromas you get to taste EVERYTHING!
At the beginning of week two the studio got a whole lot smaller when the Broderville Pictures film crew came in to shoot all of our fabulous technique videos. The team did an amazing job at capturing all the technical aspects of each complex dish. (You can sample some of the videos, which include instructions for pan roasting a ribeye steak, filleting a fish and poaching an egg on YouTube.)
This cookbook shoot was an absolutely amazing experience. Being in the studio with a master chef and seeing first hand how he carefully prepares each dish was truly an inspiration. Chef Gras worked with such precision and skill that each dish came out perfect, allowing Shimon and Tammar to exercise their acute senses in capturing the essence and beauty of each dish. Although the two weeks flew by we will always have the amazing photography to remember it by. We hope you enjoy the photos and videos in Laurent Gras: My Provence e-book as much as we loved making them!