Tomorrow, on September 11th, I will be part the media team photographing the 10th Annual So-Cal Chef Open that's taking place at Pechanga Casinos. This event will feature 13 chefs from Southern California, in a friendly competition - tapas style - for the "Pinnacle Award" voted by ten celebrity judges, and the "People's Choice Award" voted by the 700+ attendees. All the funds raised this year will support the Culinary / Vocational programs of Oak Grove Center, a nonprofit treatment center for children with psychological, emotional and behavioral problems and special needs.
I can't wait to be involved in shooting this event! I'm looking forward to capturing special moments: the chefs and their proud creations, the judges tasting, judging the food and deciding on the winner, the crowd trying out 13 distinct foods and rooting on their favorites, and whatever else may come my way. I know from personal experience that the anticipated shots will probably not come out, and that the "money" shots will come from unexpected places. That's almost always the case, which is what makes event photography exciting - it's full of moments, waiting to be seen, discovered, and hopefully captured in a creative and unexpected way. Since the Open will take place primarily indoors in a ballroom, I expect this to be challenging - photographing action in low-light will test me, and I have to be on top of my game with my gear and my creativity. This is going to push me and I have no doubt that I'll come out of it a better photographer!
In preparation for the event, on Friday I went to visit 2 of the chefs in the competition on their home turfs, and interviewed them with... not a microphone, but a camera! Here are a couple of shots from Chef Matt Green of Cheflavor, and Chef Chris White of Vineyard Ranch. Good luck guys!