I was raised by an amazing cook and making and sharing good food is a gesture of real love to me. It's why I almost cried when years ago I shot one of my first weddings and they hadn't set a meal aside for the vendors. It wasn't just that I had been on my feet, shooting non-stop for 8 hours without a break - it was that in my world, food was personal - you would never let someone you liked go hungry. Ever.
It's why I have back-up snacks for my clients. It's why I make green smoothies for my assistant and why my boyfriend has learned that the best way to make me get all soft-focus isn't cards or flowers, it's whatever is in season at the farmer's market. Preferably green. And that brings me to my friend the cook, Jennie Cook.
Yes, that's really her name.
I met Jennie at a very special women's networking event in Los Angeles and she stood out - not just because she's tall and has an easy, exuberant laugh but because she seemed like a genuine, no-bs, open-hearted kind of gal - the kind everyone wants to be friends with. And I later found out, the kind who is also a magician in the kitchen and created some of the delicious dishes that were blowing my mind at the event. They were good and simple and so tasty. My mind made a quick calculation: Warm. Smart. Funny. Feeds me. Friend!
It turns out she's been feeding Los Angeles for decades as a locally renowned chef and owner of Jennie Cook Catering and 'Plant Based Parties". She has cooks like Jamie Oliver and Roy Choi raving about her and her passion for building community around good food. It's kinda like finding out someone you know is actually a superhero. Or to be more precise it's like when you say to your Los Angeles friends who love food: "Have you heard of Jennie Cook? " and they say "Uh, yeah, dummy."
After our portrait session together at her happy place near her home in Los Angeles, she surprised me with a copy of her recently published cookbook "Who Wants Seconds?". If you aren't lucky enough to hang out with her, then the book is the next best thing, with personal anecdotes and yummy comfort food recipes that include dishes for omnivores and vegans. I'm making her version of Pommes Anna this weekend for my hungry friends. Because I really like them. That's how we roll around here.