Laurie & Sons - Toffee in Harlem

Working with family doesn’t always spark the most aspirational images: think the insanity of the Osbournes, Kardashians, Trumps (gasp), and Lohans. But when it comes to making chocolate-covered toffee for Laurie Freeman Pauker, keeping business in the family is sweet. 

Read More

Gavin Kaysen and his spoon.

Chef Gavin Kaysen with the spoon that launched his obsession. 

Chef Gavin Kaysen with the spoon that launched his obsession. 

By Chelsea Morse Originally posted on Food and Wine Magazine - Blog

At the top of our list of new fall restaurant openings is Merchant, the forthcoming Minneapolis spot from 2007 Best New Chef Gavin Kaysen. We’re super excited for his French-inflected menu, which is still top-secret, but, we can confirm, perfect for cozy fall weather. The restaurant's design will reveal the chef’s incorrigible pickpocket habits: Gavin Kaysen is a shameless spoon stealer. At Merchant, he’ll display a selection from his collection of nearly 500 spoons, pinched from restaurants around the world.

“It started when I was about 20, working as a pastry cook at Auberge de Lavaux in Switzerland,” he says. “The pastry chef was trying to teach me how to do a quenelle of ice cream and I couldn’t figure it out. I took his spoon home to practice in my apartment, and when I finally realized that it was the spoon itself that was the key, I took it. When I look at that spoon now, I think back fondly to the six months of my life I spent practicing in my apartment with a tub of beef fat from the restaurant.” From there, he began pocketing spoons everywhere.

A few of his favorites:

I framed the spoon I took from Restaurant Paul Bocuse, which says P.B. on the back. I had dinner in the kitchen with Mr. Bocuse himself and my commis Brandon Rogers, who’s now the chef de cuisine at Benu in San Francisco. When Mr. Bocuse stood up in the middle of dinner to reprimand a young intern who was cutting the melon incorrectly, the spoon went right into my pocket.”

A short-handled spoon that was used to serve the famed El Bulli’s spherical olive dish. “It was a gift from Daniel Boulud when I left Café Boulud. He gave it to me in a beautiful briefcase full of spoons from all over.”

A bone marrow spoon from lunch in San Francisco (he doesn’t remember the restaurant – or perhaps he’s reluctant to say) with chefs Michael Symon and Chris Cosentino. “The chef world knows about my addiction,” he says. “Michael was like, ‘That’s a nice spoon. You gonna take that?’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’”

A giant commemorative spoon from the French Laundry. “I’d brought a spoon as a gift for Timothy Hollingsworth, the chef at the time, who collects antique spoons. I sent it to him through the waiter, and a little while later, the waiter returned with a beautifully polished, foot-long spoon from Tim. I turned it over, and on the back was an engraving to commemorate the restaurant receiving three Michelin stars. The next time I ran into Thomas [Keller], he said, ‘You got one of the good ones!’ They’d had them made as special gifts.”

An ornate spoon decorated with mushroom designs from Restaurant Régis & Jacques Marcon in Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid in France. “The chef’s forte is foraging mushrooms, so all of their spoons have three tiny mushroom caps on them. I love it.”

A spoon pilfered from Café Boulud, where he was chef de cuisine for seven years. “I took it when I dined there with a group of friends in 2005, long before I worked there. I sat on table 45 and had the rabbit special.”

A spoon from Sona in Los Angeles. “I had dinner there when David Myers was the chef, and at the end of the meal, they brought out a cigar box with the check. I thought that was strange, but when I opened the box, there was a perfectly polished spoon on a white linen cloth. The general manager came over and smiled and said, ‘Chef, we thought we’d do it for you.’ So I reached into my pocket to give them back the one I’d already taken.”

He’s unapologetic about his odd practice: “I take them from special places that inspire me. When I look at them, I remember the meal, the company, the wine.” But with the opening of Merchant, he has a new perspective as well. “Now that I’m the person who buys the silverware and sees the bills, I’m terrified that all of my spoons will exit the restaurant in the first two months.”

Light Testing - Having Fun

Hello All,

I wanted to share a bit of lighting examples I did while photographing for Worth magazine.  These were different, one light, setups that Daniel and I did while setting up for our subject. Daniel Rosenthal, modeling below, friend and fellow photographer, was kind enough to let me test the light on him.

My Camera Bag

Camera: Canon 5Ds

Lens (First setup with flashes): Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens

Lens (Second setup with flashes): 24-70mm f/2.8 lens

Lens (Third & Fourth setup with flashes): Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L lens

Light Heads: Two Profoto Acute Heads with 2400 power pack and 600B battery pack.

Main Light: (First Setup Top Left) One Silver Umbrella, (Second Setup Top Right) Beauty Dish with a grid, (Thrid Setup Bottom Left) One Silver Umbrella (Fourth Setup Bottom Right) One Elinchrom Midi Octabank

Background Light: Only used on the first and third setups.  First setup I used a silver umbrella directly overhead and behind subject,  Third setup I used a Beauty Dish with a grid directly above subject shining on background.

Fill Cards used: Black fabric and Silver reflector

Side Note: Check out some of Daniel’s work here. 

Portraits of Excellence: Finance

Portraits of Excellence: Finance 

On the pages of Worth Magazine

THE EDUCATOR  :  David Swensen  :  Chief Investment Officer, Yale University

It has become fashionable for social critics to bash the multibillion-dollar endowments of America’s wealthiest universities. This is nonsense. Though it induces envy, the wealth of schools such as Yale, Harvard and Stanford has made these universities a magnet for students from all over the world, facilitated a vast expansion of knowledge and economic growth, and opened the doors of higher education to students who could never otherwise afford it.

Some of this wealth is thanks to people who give money to universities. But more of it is due to David
Swensen, who earned a PhD in economics from Yale, worked on Wall Street for a few years, and has overseen investment strategy for the Yale endowment since 1985. Abandoning the university’s conservative mix of stocks, bonds and cash, Swensen invested in illiquid alternative assets such as real estate, oil and timber. Since Swensen took over, Yale’s endowment has averaged an astonishing 13.7 percent annual return, and Swensen acolytes—and former employees—now staff the investment arms of universities across the country.

At Yale, Swensen told Worth, “I’ve got the excitement and the intellectual interest of the financial market, and I can do that in the context of serving one of the world’s greatest institutions.” Swensen’s service is enriching not just Yale, but also the world.