The Book

Together we have interviewed over 150 of New York’s most dynamic chefs.

But their full stories are yet to be told.

Portraits and Plates of New York City will pull the histories of highly successful chefs together equally in word and image.  We’ve worked primarily with traditional long-form interviews in the past, having done almost 150 of them for one publication alone.  But we realize the most intimate stories happen when a chef is lost in though and allowed to ramble, ruminating on a specific point in their past or about something they love so fervently in the present. To mimic that sense of intimacy we’ll remove ourselves from the pieces, taking out interview questions and trimming the stories into monologue while keeping the unique speech patterns of the chefs in as much as possible. As a result, our readers will ‘hear’ each chef’s voice as if they were sitting beside them, their most honest selves told through deep conversation.

Each of the forty or so chefs we’ll work with will tell their own New York story, sharing a glimpse into their past. They’ll share why they first came to ‘the city’ to cook, and what roadblocks were set in front of them at the time. They’ll comment on how their skills changed throughout the years to match the shifting desires of city eaters. They’ll speak about other chefs within the community, and where they see their work fitting into the family they’ve created within the industry here. They’ll tell us why they’re still cooking here, now, in a landscape almost unrecognizable from what it was decades ago, and one notorious for high rents, rough weather and sometimes insurmountable challenges. Through their stories, we will have a sort of ‘then and now’ glimpse into the chefs lives and how their progression has helped to shape the food scene in New York that we see today.

The photographs that accompany each story will capture the individuality and drive of each chef. Taken at their restaurants, we will ask for three composed dishes: one that represents who the chef was when they first came to New York to work, one that represents where their skills and passions are now, and one that represents New York City to them. We’ll also photograph a portrait that captures the chef most comfortably in their element; working away in their tiny restaurant kitchen, grabbing a smoke outside on a gray day, or exploring the streets where they’ve established roots. While each chef’s individuality will shine through, the photos will be consistent in their style and focus, matching the varying tones of their stories as well as bringing New York City visually to the page.

From this collage of word and image will hope to have a colorful, dynamic book that encapsulates both New York City itself and the many people who fill her kitchens. With word and image equally represented, we envision a full-sized, full-color book; not quite one that would sit on a coffee table, but not one too easily pocketed for a subway ride; a book that will invite readers to grab a cup of coffee and sit for a while, getting lost a world that’s particularly energized and very delicious.

On this site we share examples of this idea from five of our favorite chefs who have generously shared their time and support; chefs Scott Conant, Gabrielle Hamilton, Alex Stupak, Daniel Holzman and Stephen Collucci all came here via extremely different circumstances. Their struggles have been unique, and their triumphs fascinating. When we read their stories we understand what value they place on their work, and what they hope to share with every single person who sits at their tables.

We have 25 chefs already signed on to work with us, leaving room for those we continue to meet daily as well as others we already have in mind, so that altogether we’ll have a balanced, dynamic group.  We have a many-pronged marketing strategy which includes a strong web component and strategies for using the reach of our chefs and their representation, with which we have extremely positive working relationships. We have a full proposal in the hands of some very talented people, and are excited to move forward as opportunities come.

For our full proposal or to discuss working with us, please email Jacqueline@wordsfoodart.com

– Jacqueline Raposo and Brent Herrig

From Some of “Our Chefs”

Amanda Cohen. chef/owner of Dirty Candy: “I have worked with both Jacqueline and Brent in the past and really enjoyed the experience. They are two of the most dedicated food professionals that I have had the pleasure of collaborating with.”

Seamus Mullen, chef/owner of Tertulia and El Comado: I have had the pleasure of working with both Jacqueline and Brent on several occasions. They are smart, professional, and great to work with.”

Ron Ben-Israel, chef/owner of RBI Cakes: “Working on projects with Ms. Raposo and Mr. Herrig have proved them to be the ultimate professionals. They are extremely creative and innovative, and cooperating with them is always a pleasure.”

Stephen Collucci, Pastry chef at Colicchio and Sons: My interactions with Jacqueline and Brent have been nothing but positive. These are two people with creative souls putting together something very special and I feel quite blessed to be a part of it.”

Daniel Holzman, Chef/Owner of The Meatball Shop(s): “I’m a big fan of the two and everything they’ve done to help promote me and my balls.”

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