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Why you should visit the Lipmans and their Coolinary Café

Last week, we had a photo shoot with some of my favorite people ever - Jenny and Tim Lipman of Coolinary Café. I LOVE the Lipman’s. Three years ago they launched Coolinary – a small farm-to-table eatery located in  a strip mall of Donald Ross Road. Jenny and Tim built Coolinary with sweat equity – spending evenings after Tim worked at The Food Shack putting in the floors themselves.

Three years later it’s the shining star of North County and locals and tourists line up for a seat at the bar and a glimpse of Tim behind the bar. Winter and summer, lunch and dinner. Packed.

 

Food in front of mind

 

Expect a long wait no matter when you go. The food – farm-to-table greatness. But Tim doesn’t just write farm names on the chalkboard – he adheres to true seasonality of fruits and vegetables with a staunch firmness and keeps the farm's interests and food at the front of his menu and his mind. So much so when I suggested bringing in fava beans into the shoot as a prop he vehemently nixed the idea because they weren’t even in season in California.

This summer they went through a gorgeous remodel and brought me into document the results – including portraits of their rock start chefs. It culminated in a food shoot. “You do your thing,” they told me!

That meant I got to take their food to my studio and photograph food stories of their delicious food, integrating props that would accentuate their food and create stylistically-driven food photos.

The results? I LOVED them – all of them. I hope you do too.

 
Coolinary Cafe Libby Vision

 

Coolinary Café – perfect clients and perfect people

 

The Lipman’s are pretty much perfect clients and perfect people. Kind, caring, hard-working, geniuses in the kitchen and collaborative community members. They’re a part of No Kid Hungry – Tim is a member of the board every year striving to end childhood hunger.

And their food is incredible.

Go visit it. They’re located at 4650 Donald Ross Road in the Donald Ross Villages Plaza on the south side of Donald Ross Rd between Central Blvd and Military Trail. Look for the line of people.

 

Cristyle EgittoAugust 15, 2016 - 3:02 pm

Love Culinary Cafe and Chef Tim Lipman!

Gorgeous photos, as always, Libby!

Jared PetlevAugust 15, 2016 - 10:30 pm

Super fresh, attractively plated and unbelievably tasty. Coolinary Cafe is the best.

JackieAugust 16, 2016 - 7:11 am

First time here was this past weekend on a friend's recommendation and it will most definitely not be our last.

Beautiful images!

Nitrogen Bar, Grill and Sushi: sexy dark photos - challenge accepted

Nitrogen_Cocktail_Snapdragon

 

One of the amazing things about the iPhone (especially the new ones!) is how easy it is to make beautiful pictures. There. I said it.

It’s a beautiful camera that makes creating beautiful pictures incredibly easy. The camera phone in general has brought photography to the masses and with each release of the iPhone, it’s easier and easier to make better pictures, especially when you have no training.

In many ways, I’m relieved. It’s better for chefs and business owners to showcase what they’re doing.

But make no mistake, it has not made my job as a professional photographer obsolete.

Many people can take a plate of food and put it by the window and create a beautiful image. And I love looking at those! And I love natural light!

 

Nitrogen Bar, Grill and Sushi and all that sexy darkness

 

But here’s my test.

For me, the mark of a true professional photographer is the ability to walk into a brightly lit room and make sexy, nighttime cocktail photos.

And then walk into the darkest spot in town and create photos.

And my ultimate test has ALWAYS been – can you make photos at Nitrogen?

Enter David Bouchard

Nitrogen Bar, Grill and Sushi, located off Indiantown Road in Jupiter is the darkest restaurant I’ve found. The kind of dark that takes your eyes a few minutes to adjust. But then you do and peer around and see the exposed brick and fanciest chandelier and a gorgeous bar and you’re suddenly transported away from a strip mall in Jupiter and into an urban oasis – think New York or Chicago and you get into the groove.

Serving up sushi as well as high-quality meat, it’s great for small-plates. And recently, one of my absolute favorite bartenders in the world started working there.

Enter David Bouchard, the most consistent, flavor explosive man-behind-the-bar. So I was thrilled- thrilled to work with them again.

 

I’ve been photographing Nitrogen since before it opened – I took some of my favorite interior pictures here. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite places to photograph because it IS so challenging.

 

Third time in Nitrogen Bar, Grill and Sushi...because I love challenges

 

My point is this. It’s easy to make pictures in gorgeous window light where you just stand there and point down. But I LOVE challenges and even better is creating beautiful photos in challenging circumstances.

Nitrogen_Bar and Grill_Cocktail Photography Florida

That’s why I absolutely freaked out when I made a moody, sexy masculine photo of one of David’s whisky drinks (Jupiter’s Redemption) at the end of the shoot. I posted on Facebook that I’d just created the best cocktail photo of my life. Later on, I wondered if it was true or if I just got swept up in the moment. I’m pretty sure it’s still true. And I love it even more because the room is so dark and the image was created with multiple lights.

Here’s the thing: learning lighting was challenging for me. That’s why I’m even more proud of being someone that knows how to not just point a light at a dish but meld and shift it, how to make it dance across a glass or skim the surface of a dish. How to truly modify it.

Back to the food (and drinks) – the short rib sliders in the buns are awesome but DO NOT miss the duck confit dumplings. I’m not really a duck person but ordered these at dinner Saturday night. With goat cheese and mushrooms balancing them out and a raspberry chipotle sauce, I was blown away.

And the drinks? Obv. amazing.

Nitrogen Bar and Grill Food Photography Libby Vision Florida

 

 

 

The Art of the Vegetable

Palm Beach Illustrated Vegetable Food Photography Libby Vision

Last week, one of my favorite stories came out in Palm Beach Illustrated: The Art of the Vegetable. For someone obsessed with photographing vegetables, I couldn’t think of a story I’d rather do.

I’ve always been entranced with photographing veggies. You can see them throughout every section of my portfolio (except for the desserts section, hee hee.) I find veggies beautiful. Seductive. Sexy. I wish I could say my rapture extended to eating them, but hey, I’m working on that too.

 

What photographing vegetables have to do with collaboration

 

This story boiled down to collaboration. Collaboration with the chefs, all of whom devoted part of their day off to bringing their dish to my studio house, where we created these photos, dealing with my dog who fell head over heels in love with each chef. (My dogs are great judges of character too, by the way.)

Collaboration with each other. I purposefully overlapped each chef just a bit so that they could hang out, see each other’s dish, build a little bit of community together.

 

 

Those who made my photos sing

 

And collaboration within the community. It wouldn’t have been possible without all the great props, from @WoodenTunaWoodShop to the pottery, created specifically for this project by The Samantha McInnis of The Clay Cache. You’ll see a lot more of her work in my photos in the future as her ethereal, cool tones are a natural fit for my work.

Finally, the photos were styled by Megan James Styling and Janderyn Makris of Earth and Sugar, two babes I feel completely blessed to have in my life every day. Their fluid design made these photos sing.

Thank you to Tim Lipman of Coolinary Café, Joe Ferro of Table 26, Rick Mace of Café Boulud, Eric Baker of Max’s Harvest and James Pruitt of Farmer’s Table.

The whole article can be found here : The art of vegetables_Palm Beach Illustrated

 

Chef’s Potluck Dinner - when chefs get together

Chef
It started with a conversation between Social House owner Laura McGlynn and I. Wonderment really: the chefs work SO hard. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could bring them together and give them an opportunity and a space to hang out with each other? Build camaraderie, build community, which is one of the cornerstones of the Social House, the amazing Co-working studio that has fundamentally and positively affected my business since joining them last year. What if WE could do our little part?

That was two months ago.

The idea took traction, grew up a bit, went under the discerning eyes of a few culinary leaders, a flurry of emails, a bit of online shopping, some flower collaboration, some frantic texts and emails during a black tie wedding, a few late nights “OH crap, we forgot the…”

 

Chef’s potluck dinner at Social House

 

And then, without much more fanfare than what I just described (and honestly, that wasn’t much), it happened Monday night. A simple chef's potluck dinner. Yet it was so much more than that. It was a celebration of our amazing chefs, a bringing together of our amazing culinary talent and the opportunity for the chefs to kick back, chill out and hang out with each other.

We had 25 total guests – counting chefs sig-oths and sous come break bread at the Social House. We suggested a potluck dinner and purposefully did not organize too much. Our whole attitude was “they’re all big boys and girls – they can figure it out.” The Social House offered up their kitchen if the chefs needed it and we loved watching how the chefs gravitated toward the kitchen, even during the cocktail hour designed specifically for them.  We had killer cocktails from David Bouchard of Nitrogen and beautiful wine form Mariya Kovacheva of Pernod Ricard, a natural fit from her days of pouring wine at Café Boulud with Zach Bell. Plus, Mariya’s known me since I was a baby (okay, a 20-something which feels almost the same).

 

For one night we wanted to serve them

 

They slipped into the role of guest unnaturally at times – but that was the whole point. They spend all season long serving – for one night, so at Chef's potluck dinner we wanted to serve them. I got a few requests along the way to let others join the fun but we felt pretty strongly about keeping the invites to chefs only – no public, no tickets sold, no media. We simply wanted to provide a venue and logistics for you guys to hang out.
We roped Zach Bell into being our official MC of the night – the Patron as we think of him. And there are so many more chefs that we look forward to including in the next dinner – please drop me an email if we may have missed you this time around. It certainly was not intentional. We’re already planning for a kid’s table at the next one!

 

Why the Chef’s potluck dinner made my day

 

And can I just say – that was the best damn potluck dinner I have ever been to. Just imagine 20+ dishes where every bite was the best dish you’ve ever eaten. It was like Thanksgiving times fifty – where everything you ate was the best. I flew to Vegas the next day and not one meal I had in Vegas topped that dinner.

I got a little misty-eyed looking around the room and watching all the chefs hanging out at Chef's potluck dinner and talking to each other because I’m like that. It was exactly what I wanted. Thank you all SO much for coming (and bringing such delicious food). You made our dreams come true this week.

 

[…] Chef’s Potluck Dinner - when chefs get together […]

[…] Chef’s Potluck Dinner - when chefs get together […]

We want to be the change

No Kid Hungry Taste of the nation Palm Beach food photography Libby Vision

I’ve been involved with Taste of the Nation Palm Beach (No Kid Hungry) for the past three years as their photographer – it is the MOST amazing organization and every time I work with them I feel SO incredibly blessed to be around these amazing people doing such amazing things.

One out of five children suffer from childhood hunger in America. That’s 16 million kids – and it has so many consequences – some of which we understand such as health problems or the inability to concentrate in school (how hard is it for YOU to concentrate when you’re hungry??) Some we don’t even fully understand.

 

South Florida’s Taste of the Nation’s food photographer

 

When I was asked to photograph South Florida’s Taste of the Nation as their food photographer (you mean I just have to take pictures of food – YES!) I was thrilled to join the fun!  It’s a huge, glorious, amazing event. The same love and camaraderie similar Palm Beaches event, just new(ish) faces and names. And the food – oh my gosh Miami chefs can cook. (And dance, FYI.)

 

Back to No Kid Hungry – because that’s what matters

 

Here’s (one of the) stats that terrified me: Six out of seven low-income kids who eat a free or reduced-price school lunch do not get a free meal, during the summer according to the Food Research and Action Center.

No Kid Hungry and Taste of the Nation works to provide innovative solutions for these hungry kids. I always get asked for specifics. For example, there’s a program called Breakfast in the Classroom, which gives the kiddos the juice (and nutrition) they need to power through the day.

 

No Kid Hungry - generosity by local communities

 

No Kid Hungry works by the generosity of both our cheffing community, which is unparalleled in its’ generosity and by local communities understanding that the simple act of coming out, dining for a cause, emptying their wallets, they too can make a difference. By saying “we want to be the change.” And by an organizational powerhouse that never ceases to amaze me. Please check out some of the images from the night and PLEASE – consider donating to this amazing group.

To donate, learn more and get involved, please visit: https://www.nokidhungry.org

Also – to quickly help out with the summertime hunger, you can simply text the keyword 'FOOD' to 877-877.

 

Tulipan Pastries Food Photography and Styling

tulipan pastries food styling libby vision

 

I recently connected with stylist extraordinaire Megan James of Megan James Styling. We worked on an upcoming story to be published in Palm Beach Illustrated later this summer together and realized very quickly how we brought out the best in each other.

She’s an amazing stylist and I am so excited to work with her again. And we didn’t want to wait until the next gig, so we just created our own assignments on a random Thursday morning.

We’re both crazy busy but working together was a priority for both of us. So she grabbed a bunch of pastries and café con leches from Tulipan Pastries and I raced around Palm Beach County tracking down popsicles from Mom’s Pops (but you’ll have to wait another day to see those images…).

Of course, these images weren’t created specifically for a client. These were created just for us, so we could style and light them however we wanted to. We could play with the dark (for me!) and then go back to the lighter side for Megan, whose images and styles floats in an ethereal, dreamy feel.

And then of course, we drank ALL the coffee from Tulipan Pastries.

Check out my girl’s web site. And come back later to see what we did to the popsicles!!

tulipan pastries food styling libby vision