Raw meat. I really, truly love the smell of it. I know I'm making at least half the population gag with that statement and I apologize for it. But those of you not gagging really get me, don't you? Though we don't eat more than 3-4 servings of meat per week in my house, I could never be a vegetarian. We are incredibly choosy about our meat sources, farming practices and how much we consume. But fact of the matter is, cold turkey on meat is not happening here.
Considering that raw meat is not all that appealing to many, being tasked with photographing raw meat and making it look provocative was a tall order. Regardless, this project and this client are still one of my favorites and I really enjoyed the challenge of working with this meat in my studio for the launch of a truly amazing delicacy in the culinary world.
Used by top chefs such as Marc Vetri, José Andrés, Jeff Black, Brian Voltaggio, Robert Wiedmaier and others, this Ruby Veal from our nation's oldest bovine, The Randall Linebacks, is not your typical veal. When I received contact from acclaimed former chef Javier Arze (now owner of Huntsman, purveyor of rare game) about this photo shoot, I was beyond excited to get to experiment with this gorgeous, better-than-organic rare meat. The assignment was to create images that were approachable to the every day home chef (read: foodie) as Chapel Hill Farm, partnered with Huntsman, prepared to launch their unique Ruby Veal direct to consumer.
What I loved most about the mission here was Joe Henderson's (owner of Chapel Hill Farm) devotion to saving this species of cow. Nearly extinct, without a market larger than our nations best chefs, this colonial cow would not have the support to reproduce and thrive. Henderson raises the cows with grass indigenous to our colonial land and the cows are free to roam the expansive farm, slowly grazing and living as they would have hundreds of years ago. The veal is raised humanely, with the young cows nursing naturally until they wean and are grass fed. It is a poetic story, really, and I was wooed by it.
I am really proud to have been part of this journey to support this farm and the Randall Linebacks. Having photographed quite a few shipments of this meat, I can say firsthand that it is remarkable and easy to prepare. And for Heaven's sake, look how gorgeous it is!
Special thanks to Chef Jordan Lloyd of The Bartlett Pear in for helping to carve the meat and teaching me tricks of the trade!