How to Pose for a Chef Photo

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Admittedly, there’s something odd about posing for a chef’s photo. For the first book, the publicity department at Viking/Penguin felt that I needed photos of me wearing a Le Cordon Bleu jacket. If only I’d had some guidance from Eater NY which has been cataloging various looks. First, one must consider props, such as a comically large knives or even a baby pig, illustrated here by David Chang. (But not both at once, as that reminds people of the final destination for that sweet little bit of pork.) One might be tempted to just stand there and cross your arms to look like a culinary bad ass, but even a simple shift in stance can yield a major redirect in how one comes across.

Notes Eater: “Instead of sitting in a chair the correct way, consider flipping it around and leaning on the back. This shows that you’re serious about your work, but you’re not a jerk or anything, kind of like that that cool high school English teacher that told you, ‘Shakespeare is like hip-hop, but without the beats.’ ” See how likeable John Delucie appears?

Holding a knife is an obvious choice, as I demonstrate in this 2007 shot for Sharper.  Sometimes this works, sometimes not, as Eater notes. “Are you a gentle soul? Posing with a scary kitchen knife will add some edge to your look. The bigger the better, just don’t act like it’s anything out-of-the-ordinary.” See, I had the same idea as Eric Ripert, but he makes it work while I look, in the words of my husband, like a “homicidal romance novelist.” Maybe I needed a bigger knife?

Or, you can do it the way they do it in Portlandia.

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good." All are published by Viking/Penguin.

Comments

  1. I actually think that’s a cute photo of you!

  2. The Image of a “Chef” can be as diverse as the location, the restaurant or even the personality of the one that dons the coat…. I agree that the objects included in a shot can have an effect on the mood as well as the person.
    Someone in charcuterie would not look good in a full butcher apron reminiscent of a scene from “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” nor would “VooDoo” doughnuts makers Tres Shannon and
    Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson posing next to some of their more “explicit” creations…
    I love “Portlandia”, and find their expression of humor and over the top characters fun and a joy to watch… And a good way to laugh at ourselves…
    Kat, I think the shot of you with a wine glass is more the real you…. Inviting and abounding ….
    The chef coat is first, a barrier from the elements of the kitchen. Second, it’s a uniform used to convey a level of professionalism and skill. It is a shame when we place so much effort on the perception rather than the reality.

  3. Kathleen Flinn says:

    Thanks, I like the shot with the wine. Trivia moment — it’s apple juice in water. When Lisa and I went to the photog’s house, he didn’t have any props. She literally went through the guy’s kitchen and dug out an apple, a knife, made fake wine, etc.

    I agree that the chef’s coat is the first part of the challenge. It changes the nature of your identity, or it fortifies it, depending on who you are and how you see youself, you know?

  4. That sounds like a hilarious scene.

  5. Exactly! And I guess that is where the art is found by people like Penny… They have and or are trained to attempt to capture the essence of a person in one micro second…

  6. Kathleen Flinn says:

    Maybe one day I’ll be able to do that…

  7. this was hilarious.

  8. by the way, that’s a hot photo of you!

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