IKEA Lingonberry Old Fashioned

Here is a little something that I put together last year and never got around to posting – a little IKEA hack for a fun cocktail. I’m a big fan of bourbon, and I love a good old-fashioned. This recipe isn’t strictly an old-fashioned but, ticks all the boxes for a good quick cocktail that is a real crowd pleaser. I give you the IKEA Lingonberry Old-Fashioned! 

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Mayana Mexican Kitchen Commercial Photography

Mayana Mexican Kitchen is a fast-casual concept that has recently opened in Clayton, MO. I worked with an incredible team to create some beautiful food photography for their website, menu, and marketing materials. This was a fun project to work on, and in addition their product delicious. In a time when fast-casual spots are opening up everywhere, Mayana is a great addition to the St. Louis food scene!
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Photo Essay: Thai Kitchen

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, one of the great things about being part of the food industry is getting to see what goes on behind scenes at restaurants – the controlled chaos (or sometimes uncontrolled chaos) that results in the food that is brought to your table. Some kitchens are quiet and orderly, some are just insane hubs of activity with steam and flames and smoke everywhere. Most fall somewhere in-between, and while there are often a lot of similarities, each kitchen has it’s own unique culture and feel.

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Bring Out Your Inner Jackson Pollack

These cookies will turn your kitchen in an art gallery faster than you can say abstract expressionism. Instead of oil paint you’ll be dripping, splattering and flinging delicious dark and white chocolate onto these incredibly sweet, decadently buttery coconut oatmeal lace cookies. There’s not wrong way to do it, and in the end you’ll have something that could be hung on a museum wall … if you can resist eating them long enough!

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Rye Whiskey Pork Loin with Apples

Rye Whiskey Pork Tenderloin with Apples

Many years ago when I was in New York, I decided that I needed to learn how to drink bourbon. I don’t recall whether this was because I thought drinking straight bourbon would make me more manly, and therefore, more attractive to women, or whether I was trying to drink less beer, or whether I was just trying to expand my horizons. Whatever the reason, I started in on brown liquor and now it is practically all I drink (in one form or another). I remember first becoming aware of rye whiskey around the same time, but back then it was something only the hipsters were slugging down as part of a “shot and a beer” PBR special. To this day I still equate Old Overholt to Brooklyn dive bars with clever names. And I’ll bet that there are any number of bars out there where you can still get an Old Glory special for five bucks.

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Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

Food Gift Idea: Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

Here we are at the end of another wonderful year. I was thinking about doing one of those posts about all of the awesome stuff that happened to me this year, but realized that it would be too long, and people would get bored. So let me say this: I have a wonderful fiance and a wonderful family. I have amazing friends, both the new friends in St. Louis and my old friends from all over. I make my living as a photographer and I love my job. Further more, my job is increasingly focused on food and drink, which, as Martha says, is a good thing.

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Listen to Your Clients: They Have Good Ideas Too

Being creative and finding the perfect shot is the photographer’s job. Period. When you accept a job, you also accept the responsibility for taking ordinary situations and turning them into something amazing. This is why the client has hired you and this is why you charge the rates that you do – because not everyone can do this. Therefore, you, as photographer are the master of the universe and all creative decisions that you haven’t thought up yourself are crap.


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Chris Sommers

Chris Sommers, Pi Downtown

Those of us who live downtown are super excited about the new branch of the Pi chain of pizza restaurants that just opened up on Washington Avenue in St. Louis. Sure, it’s a chain but it’s a local chain and their pizza is kickass (albiet a touch pricey). I caught up with Pi co-founder Chris Sommers at the shiney new downtown location to photograph him for Feast magazine’s My Stuff column.

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Still Life With Eggplant

Working with raw foods can be an interesting task, mainly because you need to create drama and interest without having a fully cooked dish to work with. When shooting raw foods or ingredients it is particularly important to start with really beautiful subjects. As I mentioned in my last post about the bitter melon, I have been working on a series of images that focus on exactly that: really beautiful food. Things to remember when designing a food photograph: color, light, composition, and drama. Today’s image is a grafitti eggplant with dramatic lighting.

The Boat House for Sauce Magazine

In the world of corporate photography, the summer is always the slowest time of the year. In my experience Memorial Day sparks the time of the year when companies face the challenge of dealing with vacations. I think that in a lot of cases, one or more decision makers for any given project are out on vacation, so if plans haven’t been made well in advance, decisions like hiring photographers for projects tend to slow down until the end of August.

Despite this slow down I haven’t been idle. In addition to my usual clients I had the pleasure of working on a few assignments for one of my favorite local publications, Sauce Magazine. Not only an excellent culinary resource, Sauce also sources great images from our pool excellent local photographers. I’m excited to be a part of it. If you haven’t seen Sauce you should definitely hit up your news stand now to grab a copy. If you don’t happen to live in the area, not to worry it’s available in a digital format as well.

One of my assignments was to make some photographs of the beautiful Boat House in Forest Park.In Sauce Magazine’s Reader’s Choice issue that just came out, the Boat House was voted Best Place for Kids, but it’s a pretty great place for the adults too. The Boat House is an popular place to hang out in the evenings, have a drink and watch the sun set. If you’re so inclined you can also rent paddle boats and canoes to troll around the waterways of the park. It’s definitely a great place for dinner and drink year round. Here are a few outtakes from the shoot:

Forest Park Boathouse – Images by Jonathan Gayman

As an interesting side note, this is the first project I’ve worked on that I have been bitten by a dog! I was stationed out on the far shore across from the Boat House just after sunset to capture a long exposure night shot when all of a sudden, out of nowhere a tiny ball of fur came running out of the darkness. It was a ferocious and very determined teacup poodle trailing a leash. This little Napoleon apparently thought I was the paparazzi and before I could move he gave my ankle a good nip. Luckily for me, his bark was definitely worse than his bite and I was unharmed.