Bravo's Top Chef Photos by Schuyler L Photography

Way back in 2014 I photographed an event arranged by a super friendly person named Anthony Sica. Anthony ran Runaround Sous, a private one time multi course dining event.  One event was one seating, around 22 people, usually held at a private residence in Center City Philadelphia.

One of the chefs I had the pleasure of photographing was Sylva Senat. He was by far the friendliest chef of Runaround Sous. I remember Sylva always taking time to answer questions and explain intricacies. 

Philadelphia Private Dining Event headed by Top Chef contestant Sylva Senate (2014) Photo Credit: Schuyler L. | Schuyler L Photography

Philadelphia Private Dining Event headed by Top Chef contestant Sylva Senate (2014)
Photo Credit: Schuyler L. | Schuyler L Photography

Recently I was contacted by a production company which secures the rights to material for the TV show Top Chef on Bravo. Dialog was underway during most of November. They were interested in several of my photos of Sylva because at the time he had dreadlocks. Promotional material from the show currently has him photographed as having a short buzz cut.

I'm proud to say the TV show has secured the rights to my photos just before the Top Chef season premiere on December 1st, 2016. My photos have not been used on the show yet, but as soon as I have an update I'll post it here! Catch the latest episode of Top Chef on Bravo every Thursday at 10pm Eastern.

See all of the photos from the event here. Anthony put Runaround Sous on hold once he was accepted to a master's program. I believe he is pursuing a career in music.

LAVA, Reykjavik

While most giant tourist destinations have a wealth of fast food, large chain, and mainly undesirable eating options, The Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik shows off a real gem of upscale dining. The restaurant is called LAVA and it has views of stuff like this -

The main offerings during lunch are the Icelandic and Seafood set menus, both of which will be presented in this blog post. Without further ado, here we go.

Bread Plate

Bread Plate

The meal starts off with a delightful bread plate, with butter served on a pitch black lava rock. I'm not sure why, but I want more condiments to be served over lava rocks now.

Torched Icelandic Arctic char Cucumber, horseradish, char roe, fennel

Torched Icelandic Arctic char
Cucumber, horseradish, char roe, fennel

The Icelandic char was a real highlight. It tasted immensely fresh.

Langoustine soup with garlic-marinated langoustine Garlic marinated langoustine, seaweed

Langoustine soup with garlic-marinated langoustine
Garlic marinated langoustine, seaweed

This langoustine soup was perfectly seasoned. I wouldn't have complained if repeated servings of this was the full meal.

Cod Sunchokes, almonds, grapes, brown butter sauce

Cod
Sunchokes, almonds, grapes, brown butter sauce

Icelandic folks know what the hell to do with fish, and it shows right here.

Rack of lamb Celeriac, grapes, hazelnuts, kirsch reduction

Rack of lamb
Celeriac, grapes, hazelnuts, kirsch reduction

This lamb is so tender that you could cut it with a thought. I was very impressed.

“Ástarpungar” & caramel Caramel chocolate mousse, vanilla ice cream, salted caramel

“Ástarpungar” & caramel
Caramel chocolate mousse, vanilla ice cream, salted caramel

You don't need me to describe how good this is. Just look at it. You get the idea.

Crème brûlée Vanilla, orange

Crème brûlée
Vanilla, orange

Im sitting in surprise city, wondering how an Icelandic creme brulee beats almost all the ones I had in France.

Wanna eat here? Check out http://www.bluelagoon.com/food-and-drink/lava-restaurant/

Birchtree Catering Supper Club at Yards Brewing Co

by Diana Lu

We here at Prepare to Dine like food.  We like it even more when there are intentional beverage accompaniments.  We really really like it when we feel good eating the food because we are surrounded by beauty.  Our dreams were answered with the most recent Birchtree Catering Supper Club at Yards Brewery.

photo credit: Birchtree Catering

photo credit: Birchtree Catering

What does that mean?  Let’s break it down:

Birchtree Catering: a locally minded, seasonally inspired company that partners with food vendors in the area.  They are no ordinary caterer and are located in no ordinary building.  Birchtree is housed in Globe Dye Works, a fascinating testament to Philadelphia’s manufacturing heydays.  Globe Dye has since been converted to a multi-tenant facility with a coffee roaster, soap company, ice cream company, and several non-profits. 

Supper Club:  an opportunity for people to taste Birchtree Catering’s ever changing menu as well as to get to know their partners.  Pretty much a night of magic with food, drinks, music and well-designed ambience.  The theme and venue change each time. 

Yards Brewing Company:  One of said partners, and one of the most well-known brewers in Philadelphia.

Great, now that we’ve gotten the basics down, I can talk about the meal. 

photo credit: Birchtree Catering

photo credit: Birchtree Catering

The night started out with drinks, live music, and a tour of the brewery.  After much revelry, guests settled down at a gorgeous table gorged with flowers and dainty little name tents.

the most immaculate table setting.  photo credit: Birchtree Catering

the most immaculate table setting.  photo credit: Birchtree Catering

We had a 5-course tasting menu, with more than a dozen beer accompaniments.  While I’m quite fond of beers, I haven’t had the opportunity to match food with drink the same way that I have with wine.  I learned a lot and came to appreciate minute flavors as the bite and sip accentuated each other.  Each course (which consisted of several mini-courses, plus palette cleansers) had its own beer friend and everything had a glorious introduction from the chef and brewer. It’s ramps, fiddlehead and pea season (which only lasts a few weeks!!) and Birchtree celebrated all of those ingredients.  You can see them pop out throughout the night.

we started with an unforgivably delicate trio of pickled ramps and cucumber salad, seafood pokē and house patē.  This was my favorite course, along with the ricotta gnudi. 

we started with an unforgivably delicate trio of pickled ramps and cucumber salad, seafood pokē and house patē.  This was my favorite course, along with the ricotta gnudi. 

There was some craziness near the end with some popcorn shortbread.  photo credit: Birchtree Catering

There was some craziness near the end with some popcorn shortbread.  photo credit: Birchtree Catering

the crowds rejoiced when they finished off with fresh floats featuring Yard’s root beer.  photo credit: Birchtree Catering

the crowds rejoiced when they finished off with fresh floats featuring Yard’s root beer.  photo credit: Birchtree Catering

um, HELL YEAH.

um, HELL YEAH.

In addition to good taste, I love that Birchtree worked so hard to source locally.  I mean down to the photographer, florist and menu designer.  Everything was memorable. 

Cheers!  Can’t wait to find out where the next Supper Club will be.

a happy moment among satisfied guests

a happy moment among satisfied guests

Community advocate, planner, lover of sustainable solid waste management and walkable cities. Diana enjoys short walks along urban waterfronts, eating food and dialogue.

 IG: dianaluwho