Lately I have been thinking quite a bit about food... where it comes from, how it got to me, who grew it, who prepared it, how it helps or hurts my or my children's body. This thought trend is largely related to a new project that I am working on with some talented friends, exploring Southern farms, food, food culture, restaurants, and the lives of the people behind all of this. I am really excited to share it with you; we're planning to launch this fall. It will be a quarterly publication, reflective of the changing seasons, initially in digital format with additional content on our website. I don't want to give too much away just yet. We'll be sharing more about it as we approach the launch date, but for now, here are some images from a shoot I did at landmark Athens restaurant the National and chef Peter Dale. This shoot was part of a visit with Peter in the restaurant, including a Q&A, as part of our first issue. That conversation will be in the first issue, along with more photographs.
Here is a little about The National, taken from their website:
The idea behind The National is simple: to provide a casual neighborhood gathering spot reminiscent of the bars and cafés we’ve enjoyed on travels to Europe. Mediterranean inspired food and wine is served for lunch and dinner in the dining room and throughout the day at the bar. While our menu points to culinary traditions from abroad, we value our local farmers and our dishes reflect the changing seasons in Northeast Georgia.The National is brought to you by Peter Dale/Chef, Chris Luken/Bar, Carrie Laird/Pastry and Hugh Acheson (chef of the acclaimed Five & Ten).You can read more from Peter on his blog, and more about Hugh Acheson on his website . Spending time with Peter, talking to him about his food philosophy, and tasting his amazing food (he made us the salmon special and the butternut squash salad; notes on those dishes will be in the first issue) was a beautiful experience. Much like my experience photographing artists for my blog, I have found that this time spent with farmers and chefs is not only aesthetically beautiful, but brings me incredibly rich experiences as I meet wonderful people, see the way that they live and work, and share life with them for a time. The day that we met with Peter was incredible -- in the morning we visited 3 Porch Farm, met the couple that runs the farm and saw their land, and then visited the National, a restaurant that serves the food they grow. Peter pointed out that Athens has a deep connection to local farms, especially for a town of it's size. There are so many restaurants in town that work with farmers to serve locally grown, fresh food, and there is this food culture here that is not only Southern and full of history but deeply connected to this land and the people who work the land. It's so refreshing. I can't wait to share more about this as we explore, documenting, photographing and writing about it all.