Corey Bousquet…The Brick

“..One day I want to open a farm to table style restaurant..” a boyhood dream, and at 28 years old Corey Bousquet did it. It’s called The Brick, located at 8955 SW. 72 PL Kendall, in one of South Miami’s most up and coming neighborhoods, Downtown Dadeland.

Corey Bousquet

His first exposure to the business came from his neighbor who owned an Italian style pizzeria sit down restaurant where he started as a busboy at 14.

The owner’s mother had a two acre farm on Eastern Long Island where she grew and picked fresh vegetables for the menu.

“..there”s something special about working with smaller local farmers.. being able to name where the produce comes from in the salad that one of my guests is eating..”

Working his way up and gathering  experiences from many different types of restaurants, Corey advanced to a manager, learning the business inside and out.

With a great investor behind him who believed in his vision, he proceeded to do his research that would lead to the best location and with a new design for today’s market.

” I spent a year before opening, doing my homework with demographic researches, target markets, advertising strategies…in order to set myself up for success..”_MG_4642-3BW

The next step was calling out to one of Miami’s longtime well known chefs, Chef Allen Susser’s   consultation for a sound operation.

Corey’s advice to newcomers in the business…” Do your homework…it pays to know your stuff..”  “I have put everything on the line to see it succeed, my employees can see and feel my passion , in turn making them passionate about it. ” _MG_4659-9

” At the end of the day, I wouldn’t change what I do for anything..”

Sudado de Pollo..( you don’t want to know what this means)

Here’s a Colombian recipe we tried that proves to be a whole lot better than its name translates to, take my word along with a cold glass of white or rose wine and a good loaf of crispy bread. It also gets better the next day…

Recipe:
5 yellow potatoes (peeled and cut in half)      miamifoodphotography_IMG_7875
1 package of frozen yuca
8 pieces of boneless/skinless chicken thighs
1 package of corn on a cob (cut corn in half)
1 red pepper
2 tomatoes
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
2 cups of water
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1 small sweet onion
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp live oil
Goya sazon with achiote
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the chicken in 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside when done.
Saute chopped red pepper and onion.  Once the onion is translucent, add the chopped garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes at low heat.
Add 2 cup of water.  When boiling, add yuca, corn, and potatoes.
Add Goya sazon and cumin.
Add browned chicken and cook for another 15 minutes so all the flavors can blend together.

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Lemons to Lemonade

What do you do when a food stylist brings you lemons? … make lemonade.

With most food photography, especially editorial or feature shots, I look to create a scene that tells a story. Mine was a hot bright summer day with light bathing a picnic table into pale tones, allowing the lemons to dominate the color palette.

I needed the right props, clear, not plain, and translucent to allow the light coming through, giving interest to any textures of the glass. A chat with the food stylist helped to produce an assortment. On set, with my camera tethered to a larger monitor, I could see how the props would look, judge their size, color and their relationship to each other.

Much like doing a model’s test shoot, one can see if a prop has a photogenic quality. Placing them all together on the set, and getting an overall shot, I picked out the “stars”. My lighting was not yet the issue, although I had a general sense of what I wanted, I would deal with the technical part later.

Props selected, I began moving them around in various positions, until a pleasing composition took shape. At that point I created the lighting carefully measured for the effect I wanted. Once in place, it was now time to call on the stylist and bring in the real food product. Sometimes a stand in is used for cases where a particular food can’t sit long, even fresh lemons.

There are some shoots where it may not seem like very much is needed and the reason for hiring a stylist is questionable, but there is a big difference between having and not having one on set.  What may seem like a small effort needed, really isn’t and doesn’t go unnoticed by the camera once done. The placement of the lemons on the right, and the twisted slices in the glass and pitcher in the final shot is a good example. A good stylist can take your directions from how the shot looks from your camera’s angle, and your point of view. They know how to primp and play the product into your frame. A great stylist offers positive suggestions, some alternatives and puts their mark on the shot like brush strokes on a painting. The nuances a good stylist can add are well worth having them on the shoot.

Moving along, slight changes take place including camera angles and some alternate light variations. A move here and there, an addition to or a take away from brings the shot together…. and sometimes a happy accident brings a surprise that makes the shot… like Dropping the straws

My thanks to Ellie Stern Food Stylist