A Clandestine Dining Experience …

What does that mean ?  not sure.  How did you get invited?  I don’t know.  Where was it held?  where was what held?  The subterranean dinner?   the submarine dinner ??  Nooooo, the….  oh never mind!  Just call me Schultz, ‘I know nush-ing”.


Well tell me one thing, was it a party of flavors that burst into fireworks like the 4th of July?  or was it subtle undertones of citrus and savory infused dishes of pure delight ?   All I can say is WOW, lucky me !  

Ok, this is on the Q.T.  … somebody somewhere, who I have only met once, asked me to photograph a dinner, so I dressed for the occasion. This mysterious meal was made up of 1 incredible chef, 1 sous-chef, 12 courses, 6 guests, and one fascinated photographer ….donna1-4

I cannot give out too many details, reason why? I don’t know many.  I do know that it’s a strong undercurrent washing over the East Coast, and now Chicagoland.  Whatever this wave is, where-ever it’s going, I was delighted to ride the surf.

It has been a few months since I have photographed ‘dishes’. Remember that I love to shoot food with 3 things in mind: detail, texture, and color.  That being said, let the show begin ….

click on the images for better viewing


the egg:  maple, chive, cream, citrus, arpege inspired

the nest: salmon, horseradish, potato, roe, cucumber, dill, egg inspired



………………..   donna1-3


seeds: sesame, chickpeas, coriander, cumin, bread, oil, bird inspired




garden:  delicious, but the photo’s were a bust

dumpling: shrimp, ginger, shoots, sweet, spicy, garlic, thai inspired


………………….  dumpling


squash: apple, soup, cashew, coconut, banana, shallot, scallion, inspired by 3




donut: gruyere, beet, almond, Juanita inspired

corn: custard, kernals, popped, steamed, crab, cream, seasonally inspired


…..     donna1-9    …..     corn


shrimp: camaron, tomato, lime, orange, cilantro, patacones, equador inspired

samosa: lamb, sphere, tamarind, raita, potato, peas, papadam, N&J inspired


……..     donna1-10       …….        donna1-11


belly: braised, roasted cauliflower, date, carrot, ras el hanout, market inspired

and something in a jar: cake, kind of lemon, blueberry, canning inspired

………………..   donna1-12




I am not a foodie, I just love to photograph food.  This meal blew me away. Even though I was tucked away in another room, not mimicking a dining experience at all, this had to be the best meal of my life. It got to the point where I just sat on the floor and savored each and every bite.  My whole body tingled with delight devouring these incredible edible works of art. By the end of the 12th course, I needed to go home and lay down.  I was spent !

I hope your eyes enjoyed this feast, I think the photos look good.  Again, I was not taken with them at first, but time does work wonders.  In fact, my least favorite photo is now my favorite….  The Belly !   I love the color, the texture, and the detail.   So until next time …

                  bon appetit ! and a very happy birthday to the Chef de Jour!

12 thoughts on “A Clandestine Dining Experience …

  1. You just took home the Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award. You deserve best photo, best composition, best writing, best set design and best blog of the year. Thank yourself, because YOU did it all.

  2. Good??? You’ve got to be kidding M??? My dear Michelle- these photo’s are fantastic! I especially love the #5 dill, #6 nest, #8 silver bowl, #9 square ceramic and #10 with shrimp, corn. Everything looks so fresh, mouthwatering and exquisitely styled and shot.

  3. I have it on pretty good authority that the chef of the day appreciated both the birthday wishes included in this post and your thoughtful eye for detail in these breathtaking photos. Until next time, my friend.

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