We were at a dinner marking the 5th anniversary of The Gage, the Loop’s groundbreaking farm-to-Michigan Avenue restaurant. Chef Dirk Flanigan, who heads both The Gage and its neighbor Henri, was showing us pictures on his phone of some of the things he’d been up to lately, like cooking for NATO or brewing beer with Jared Rouben of Goose Island… when an idea hit us. We spend all this energy taking you inside the kitchens, lives, and thought processes of our best chefs— but they’ve been documenting their own lives and work all along. And so was born our new feature, Chef Snaps, selected by Chef Dirk Flanigan from the 3000 pictures on his phone. They may not always be our-man-Huge-quality photos (though it’s surprising how good they often are), but you gotta say this: They’re from the one photographer who’s always on hand when the chef’s at work. So check out the introductory edition of Chef Snaps below, go inside the life of one of our highest-profile chefs— and if you’re a chef snapping pics along the way and would like to be considered for a future installment, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Me (at right) plating at the Pritzker stage at an event for SOS Children’s Villages.
Oysters with smoked shallot and pomegranate.
Tomatoes from Kate, our farmer at Sustainable Greens in Three Rivers, Michigan.
Octopus with black pepper, cantaloupe, and Kate’s tomatoes from Henri.
Surf and turf— the prototype for a dish we did for The Blind Tiger Speakeasy event at The Gage.
At Piccolo Sogno with Luciana. We were celebrating my James Beard nomination.
At the James Beard House in New York, my wife JB and I posing in front of that other J.B.
Cooking for a few people during the 2011 Vitamix Challenge at the International Chefs Congress. No pressure!
Carlos and Jackson with an Atlantic stonefish.
Breaking down a Berkshire hog.
Making our own pancetta. The coating was aleppo pepper, cocoa nibs and toasted fennel.
Hunting pheasants in Pennsylvania.
Portuguese bacalhau for a NATO dinner in May.
Cuttlefish with black mushroom sauce.
Fluke and foie gras dumpling with black mushroom sauce.
A Halloween appetizer of whiting with truffle vinaigrette.
Sous chef Manolo as we prepare to brew our 5th anniversary beer, named Luciana, with Jared Rouben at Goose Island.
Jared Rouben after getting hit in the face with an 8-pound piece of metal that blew off a piece of equipment at Goose Island. He is indestructible!
With chef David Colcombe and BBC radio host Joanne Malin during the Birmingham Food Festival. David came to Chicago for the NATO summit in May and invited me to come cook with him in July.
Me with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and his wife.
The first naan I ever made, at Lasan in Birmingham.
Luciana with her daddy and our friend Mr. Loupe de Mer.