6.26.2016

Taking a break from the camera excitement to focus on making food. My favorite chef made a house call.

Ben gets a lesson from Emmett Fox. How to make three different sauces for pasta.

My son, Ben, has been off at college for the last two years living in the dorms. In the Fall he'll get to move into an on campus apartment with three of his friends. He's thinking he'd like to try his hand at making his own meals instead of depending entirely (--- safety net implied) on the fare at the dining hall. He can cook basic stuff and he worked in the dining hall in his freshman year but our friend, Emmett Fox, thought it would be good for the boy to learn a repertoire of good, solid dishes. 

Emmett (who is the head chef and co-owner of two of Austin's favorite fine dining establishments: Asti Trattoria and Cantine Italian Cafe and Bar) made a plan to come over to our house today and give Ben a lesson in making pasta and sauces. Emmett sent me over a shopping list several days ago and then, yesterday, he sent a "prep list" over to Ben. While Emmett and I hit swim practice at the Rollingwood Pool this morning, and coffee afterwards with our swim buddies, Ben was dicing pancetta, sectioning tomatoes, slicing garlic, grating Parmesan cheese, dicing celery and carrots and onions. 

Emmett patiently showed Ben how to make three different sauces (carbonara, Amatriciana, and Neapolitano). Emmett also guided Ben in making the sauces by himself. I hung out in the kitchen with a Sony A7ii and a 50mm lens and just snapped away at the process. 

After the first volley, the Neapolitano, came out and was beautifully plated, Ben, Belinda, Emmett and I sat down and savored it, along with fresh Italian bread accompanied with olive oil from the Saratoga Olive Oil Company. They ship. 

With the Amatriciana simmering on a back burner, Ben and Emmett made a classic carbonara with pancetta, fresh eggs, black pepper, oil and parmesan cheese. They served it up in big, white pasta bowls and if there is any left over in the fridge I have first dibs. 

At the end of the (very happy) meal Emmett presented Ben with a very professional looking apron. 

It was great of Emmett to share his time and expertise (and great taste) with Ben. In fact, Ben has been going to Emmett's restaurants since he was four years old. He's a long time Austin regular at Asti and his early experiences with great food at Asti constantly influence his adventures with food. Emmett was feeding him escargot, cocoa sorbetto and bread sticks before Ben could read.

If you are in Austin and you want good food I highly recommend you try both of his restaurants. I've even produced videos for both of them. Here and Here. 

It was a great way for my family to spend the middle of our Saturday. More like this....



















16 comments:

Daniel Walker said...

I can envision a one day seminar in Austin on food photography (enviromental and studio lighting) with yourself and your favorite chef.

jiannazzone said...

I enjoy your writing about family life. I'm about the same age and also savor the return on somehow not screwing up in raising children. You have done well. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Hands down some of the best and most interesting photos you've posted in the last six months.
Dunno which 50mm you were using, but the tone and render in these pictures is lovely.
(the writing is great too, next up find someone to teach Ben Chinese cooking, I ate well and cheaply through uni by being the only one in my flat who could cook, and cooking for others meant I rarely had to wash up... Brilliant!)
Mark

Robert Hudyma said...

So, tell us, how was the spaghetti?

Kirk Tuck said...

Linguini and fettucini both were world class. DP Review would give them a gold star and a rank of 99. Thanks for asking. I'm eating the leftovers tonight and looking forward to it.

Kirk Tuck said...

We had the Amatriciana tossed with fettucini this evening, along with roasted broccoli and a bottle of Educated Guess wine. I'm currently immobilized with happiness. Ben did the cooking and now he's cleaning up. I sneaked away to post...

Anonymous said...

I don't believe I know of another photographer who lives so well.

Richard Leacock said...

Cudos to the chefs and photographer!
Mmmm... : )

Anonymous said...

What a great opportunity for your son (or anyone) to be taught by a great chef. Thank you for sharing the story.

Fred said...

He cooks, he cleans, he edits video and is consistently polite to delusional geezers. You (plural) did a good job raising him.
And I liked the photos as well.

Peter said...

Got a kick out of reading/viewing this. When my son was at law school, he shared an apartment with a friend and learned how to make one chicken dish. The running joke in our household for years after that, was that he ate the same dish every night for three years. He never argued the point.

Michael Meissner said...

It occurs to me, that perhaps you should convince Emmett Fox to make instructional videos (with you behind the camera naturally).

I know many restaurants have cookbooks that they sell from the head cook, but I haven't seen videos. I wonder if there is a market there.

Penfan2010 said...

The lens renders really nicely. I also like the series of photos, there's nothing like documenting home and family life. Thanks for sharing such a fun and delicious family moment,

Ron Zack said...

What a wonderful opportunity! How I would love to have a chef like Emmett Fox come to my house and show me this stuff instead of my vain attempts at trying to follow recipes in my Italian cookbooks!

Kirk Tuck said...

Ron, there's something really amazing about actually watching a chef work and teach. Much different and much better. But best of all is the class that Ben got. Standing side by side at the range and having Emmett lead him through the preparation and techniques. Priceless!

Rob Wertz said...

Wow! That's awesome! As my 16 year-old son would say, "That's hella dope." Fun watching you and your family over the years, Kirk. Nice break between seeing patients in the office. Best of luck to Ben on pasta night in his apartment this coming year!