After two weeks of persistent contact with steakhouses, I finally was able to meet with Chef Michael Vignola of the Striphouse. I sat down with him and discussed my project idea further in detail with him. After talking about where he sources his beef from, I found out that he and his staff are adamant about only getting their ingredients from happy farms. He told me how he goes to Greenmarket to purchase ingredients for the specials that night (mainly dairy and vegetable products). I explained to him how relieved I was that he got all of his ingredients from happy farms and that it would help me to focus my project towards a positive message rather than a negative one. Chef Michael then gave me the number of Chef Brett at Gallagher’s to contact him about working with his restaurant on the project as they also source their ingredients from happy farms.
At this point I am planned to shoot twice this week at Striphouse. My shot list for the week is as follows (It is what I have emailed to Chef Michael):
1. Delivery: I would love to be able to shoot the delivery of the meat (Chef Vignola informed me that it is from Nebraska) any other deliveries there.
2. Storage: I also would love to shoot where the meat and dairy products are stored in the restaurant. I know that some restaurants have meat lockers or large freezers where the food is stored… anything along those lines would be awesome.
3. Preparation: I know that this one could be tricky and chaotic to shoot so if it’s too much to ask then don’t worry about it. I would only use those as supporting shots for the documentary as a whole. But ideally, seeing the meat being cut, cooked and prepped for serving would be perfect.
4. I checked out some of the stuff you have done on eater.com. Some shots along those lines would be awesome as well.
5. portraits: Taking portraits of you, the other chefs, and whoever else I come across in this process (i.e. delivery guys, farmers, etc)
6. Greenmarket trips for ingredients for specials: In regards to what we talked about, I would love to tag along on a green market trip to shoot the interaction with the farmers there as well as the purchasing of products for that night’s specials
This week, I am also planning on finding out the following information (also what I sent to Chef Michael):
I have to inform you that I am beyond happy to hear that all of your ingredients come from happy farms. That makes this project so much more exciting for me as I will work extra hard to shine a positive light on you and your restaurant. Because of this I would love to get some more information such as:
– where you get your meat from, and, if possible, their contact information so that I could possibly interview them
-the names of the local farms that you purchase other ingredients (i.e. dairy products) from, I would love to make some trips to the farms to shoot up there (especially the happy animals)
-We discussed seafood as well, if you could give me a few names of restaurants or seafood farmers I could talk to as well that would be awesome
Chef Michael will be out of town this Saturday until after Thanksgiving but he has put me in contact with his co-worker, Chef Andy, who I will be working with while Chef Michael is out of town.
I have not yet heard back from Chef Brett at Gallaghers but I am meeting with Chef Michael on Friday for an interview and some portrait sittings and am planning on asking him about Gallaghers then.
I am still working on getting in contact and working with a few other restaurants. If I do not hear back from them by Thanksgiving break then I will turn the focus of my project, slightly, to these two restaurants and their use of happy farm products, incorporating more images from the farms that they work with.