Wine and Dine

Gen7 wines from Brookside WineryMy wife and I were invited to a wine tasting dinner last night. Now, I’m not a wine drinker (allergic to sulfites) but I know Chef Michael Giletto is amazing and that the food was sure to be something special. Of course, I took my camera and asked for a table to set up a beauty shot of each dish.Gen7 Wines

The dinner took place at Ocean Place Resort and Spa in Long Branch, NJ. It consisted of four courses and four wines. The wines were from California’s Brookside Winery. Tim, the wine maker, told the story of the seven generations of wine makers, (that’s where, Gen7, the name of the wines comes from) staring in 1832, and how he was resurrecting the company after all the land was sold in 1972 and the land developed in 1982.  A fascinating story.

Flounder TartarThe first course was miniature flounder tartar…OMG – raw fish! I don’t do raw fish! But, I was brave and tasted it. Much better than I expected. It was accompanied by a sparkling wine.

Crab cakeThe next course was a crab cake. It was the best crab cake that I have ever tasted. Yummm. It was so good, that I also ate the one set up for the camera after I shot it. (Shhhh-don’t tell the chef Michael.)  The wine was a Charonnay. The sommelier, Jeffison, explained why the particular wines were chosen for each dish but, I was too busy eating, drinking and taking pictures to listen. (Sorry Jeffison.)empty plate

staging the venisonThe main course was a venison short rib with butternut squash compote and seared baby asparagus. It was absolutely perfect. And after my wife got over the Bambi thing, she loved it as well as she did the Cabernet that was served.

venison short ribsBeing diabetic, I couldn’t eat the dessert but, it looked too good not to taste. It was AMAZING. A pumpkin Creme Brulee with Roasted Kobacha Squash. Perhaps the best dessert I’ve ever tasted. And it was gorgeous as well. It was accompanied by a Muscat Blanc.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Now that I’ve sampled theses delicacies I want more…and they are doing it again in December and I can’t wait. Thank you chef Michael and Ocean Place Resort and Spa for an amazing experience.

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About Jerry

I was a science teacher for 31 years. During that time I photographed wedding and Bar Mitzvahs for about 15 years but that was in the days before digital. Being a teacher, I had my summers free so I assisted food and commercial still life photographers in NYC for 3 summers and fell in love with it. Having a wife and a mortgage, it was not practical to give up a job in teaching and go into photography so I put off my dream of becoming a food photographer until I retired from teaching. Now I am living my dream - I am a food and product photographer servicing New York City, Philadelphia and all of New Jersey.
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2 Responses to Wine and Dine

  1. Bob Lewis says:

    Hi Jerry,
    I’ve been visiting your site for about a year to admire your work. I just read your blog entry on your visit to the Ocean Place for dinner and wine tasting. I live very close to Pier Village and We stayed at Ocean Place for two weeks when we had the bathroom renovated, a few years ago.

    When you said “Of course, I took my camera and asked for a table to set up a beauty shot of each dish.” did you mean that you were invited to shoot the event or invited to eat? I’m just curious because when I bring an SLR into a restaurant my wife gets upset with me and if I start doing anything more than snapshots she really gets fired up. Maybe you can give me some tips to make my wife more patient with my photography?

    Like you I am a photographer with a wife and mortgage, and maybe a baby in the next year or so. Unfortunately I broke my back years ago so my job opportunities are limited and I’m not really making enough money with photography and web design work. I can do the work I just need to figure out how to find (good) clients. I love your work and I hope you dont mind me trying to learn what I can from your site. Keep up the great images!

  2. Jerry says:

    Thank you Bob. Chef Giletto is the executive chef at OP is also my food stylist so it was kind of assumed that I would be photographing the event (even though we were invited for the dinner.) When he told me to arrive about an hour before the dinner started, I knew that he was expecting me to shoot.

    Normally, I do not photograph when having dinner at a restaurant. I don’t do that for two reasons. First, it is disturbing to the other guests and even more so to the people at my table. Secondly, I would expect to be paid by the restaurant to photograph their dinners. I made one exception and that was on my trip to Italy. We were at a dinner show and cameras were welcome – even encouraged for the show. I did try to take some photos of the dinner but didn’t have any lights (I only use strobes) and was disappointed in the way they came out. I tried it once and got it out of my system.

    Winterfest, sponsored by the Jersey Shore ACF, is a charitable event and I have been asked to shoot that at the dinner. This is another great event I especially like the high school kids competing with their hors d’oeuvres.

    Finding clients is the hardest part of this business. I’ve found that my website is my main source of new work. Being a New Jersey Food Photographer leaves little competition when doing a google search – I usually come up on page one or two and most of the competition is not actually in New Jersey. It’s been a slow process building a business but, when I do get a client, they are happy and come back for more.

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