One of the things I love about professional chefs is that they’re often up for an adventure. Take Hakan Lundberg, Chef de Cuisine at Cosmos Restaurant in Minneapolis. When I first approached him a couple months ago about helping me put together a food photo shoot on top of a frozen lake, he put up about ten seconds of indecision, then jumped squarely on board. I did luck out a little bit, though; his first ice fishing experience happened after I made the request. If things had happened the other way around, I’m not so sure I would’ve got the same answer.
This shoot definitely had more variables to contend with than installment one of the Worldly Gourmet series last summer with Asher Miller. Variable number one goes by the name Lake Minnetonka. I went out to scout the shoot location a week prior to our chosen date, and temps had been in the upper 30s for several days. The foot of snow sitting on top of the ice had been turned to slushy puddles. Not really what I wanted to see. Then a good news/bad news kind of thing happened: first, a big cold snap froze the puddles, which was great. Not so great was the 14 inches of snow that came a couple days before the shoot, making travel across the lake much more tricky.
A very busy week leading up to the shoot meant that dialing in the location would have to happen the morning of the shoot, which certainly provided a couple anxious moments (that’s code for nearly driving in to the lake, then getting stuck for 15 minutes), but in the end we found a great spot and hit our schedule perfectly. Hooray for local knowledge, trusty assistants capable of taking turns at pushing a stuck vehicle, Google Maps, fallback options, and fallback fallback options!
Once we got to our spot, a magical thing happened that I find often happens when it’s time to take photos: the thick gray clouds parted, the wind died down, and the weather turned about as nice as you could expect on a late-February day in Minnesota. Hakan’s son Isaac had a great time ice fishing (although the highlight of his day seemed to be when the fish heads were removed – he kept asking if it was time, and when it finally was, he ran around screaming, TIME TO CUT THE FISH HEADS! TIME TO CUT THE FISH HEADS! Clearly the son of a chef – plus, check out the photo of him cutting carrots), and we did exactly what we had set out to do: have a great time, and take some fun quirky photos.
Much-deserved thanks to my collaborators, Food Stylist Rachel Sherwood, Prop and Wardrobe Stylist Jenny Jenkins, and Photo Assistant Nate Ryan. And of course, thanks to Hakan Lundberg, a true culinary artist, for being so giving with his time and talents. Check out his Cosmos Kitchen blog for the latest in his professional world, or, even better, stop by Cosmos to sample some of the most creative, beautiful plates in Minneapolis.
Lastly, if you’d like to see a couple behind-the-scenes shots from the day, c’mon over to my Facebook Page for the rest of the story.