Category: On Assignment

_MG_0713
_MG_2727

Fun. The word used to describe the day’s shots. Emily found a gorgeous setting near her house with tons of creative places to shoot and it was a blast. There was a lakeside, some trees, and a couple corridors blanketed with colorful street art (or graffiti, or tagging, or whatever you want to call it, it was beautiful). It was nice to be able to use multiple backgrounds in a single location and the area was shaded enough to use the flash for lighting but also lit well enough to use the gorgeous afternoon light. But I digress, here are the shots.

1145940464_nyelauberge0165

L’Auberge Del Mar is a beautiful resort and spa in the San Diego area. It is located within strolling distance from the water and houses one of the best restaurants in the city. I was excited to be part of their New Year’s event and the foodie in me was even more excited to get a behind-the-scenes peak at Kitchen 1540 (you may recall the turducken nugget shoot I did with them recently). The staff at the hotel was incredibly accommodating and if they treat the guests as well as they treated me, then whoever decides to stay at L’Auberge for the night is in for an incredible experience. On New Year’s Eve, they threw one heck of a party too. The music and entertainment was fantastic, the dancing was energetic, and from what I heard, the dinner was delicious.

It was interesting ringing in the new year with 250+ strangers. This was the first time I spent it away from friends but lucky for me, I got to make a few new ones. Most importantly I was able to begin 2011 with my camera in hand doing what I love. Enjoy the pictures everyone and thanks for having me L’Auberge and Kitchen 1540.

_MG_9474 copy_960x640

Every year, the San Diego Bay Food and Wine Festival is held in November, generally right before Thanksgiving. It is a massive showcase of San Diego’s finest restaurants and beverage vendors. They come together to form what I can only describe as a buffet of epicness. You pay decent price to get in and if you’re lucky enough to score some tickets to the “Chef of the Fest” (photos here) Grand Tasting event on Saturday, you’re in for one amazing eating and drinking experience. One particular chef decided to go with the seasonal theme and lovingly coax into existence what is known as the Turducken Nugget. Heralding from the kitchens of, er, Kitchen 1540 and Chef Paul McCabe’s brilliant mind, this nugget has every element of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner packed into one deliciously clever bite. I was fortunate enough to be asked to shoot this particular dish for Culinary Trends Magazine’s mid Winter 2011 issue. (Update: the issue arrived at my doorstep yesterday and it’s on page 44).

The Turducken Nugget

Turkey, duck, and chicken deep-fried in a coating a dehydrated cornbread stuffing. Yukon Gold Potato air, foie gras gravy, cranberry gelee, and micro celery.

While the Turducken Nugget will probably not be on Kitchen 1540’s menu any time soon, the folks over there were kind enough to post a rough outline of the recipe.

From the Destination Hotels Blog: http://www.destinationhotels.com/blogs/thanksgiving-kitchen-1540-style

For the Turducken Nugget

Turkey Breast
Duck Breast
Chicken Breast
Transglutaminase
Apple Cornbread Stuffing, dehydrated and ground
Flour
Eggs

Start the recipe off right, with triple the fun…a turkey, a duck, and a chicken. To ensure the best flavor, brine (soak in a bath of salted water) the turkey for three days, the duck for two, and the chicken for one. Cut all the breast meat into similar widths and “glue” them together by sprinkling each layer with the transglutaminase. Place the poultry in a bag and vacuum seal on high and refrigerate for 12 hours. Remove from the bag and cut out desired shape and set aside. Make a breading station with the flour, eggs and ground stuffing and bread each nugget. Set a side in the refrigerator for later.

For the Potato Air

Yukon Gold Potatoes
Cream Fraiche
Salt

Steam the potatoes and rice them. Add crème fraiche and salt and place in an ISI container (liquid nitrogen) and charge three times.

For the Cranberry Gelèe

Cranberries
Orange
Sugar
Water
Cinnamon
Cranberry Soda
Gelatin

Place the first six ingredients in a pot and simmer for 1 hour. Puree until smooth and place in cheesecloth and allow the water to drip out over night. Remove the cranberry water and set with gelatin and set aside. Cut into desired shapes

For the Foie Gras Gravy

Foie Gras
Shallots
Celery
Onion
Garlic
Roasted Chicken Stock
Butter
Thyme

Sauté the vegetables until they become translucent, add chicken stock and simmer for one hour. In a blender, emulsify the foie into the stock and keep warm.

For the Presentation

Deep fry the turducken nuggets until they are golden brown and place on a plate. Add the potato, cranberry, gravy and finish with micro celery. And behold, Thanksgiving a la Chef Paul and KITCHEN 1540.