A family photo shoot with Birgitte Brondsted

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I’m so excited to share the photographs from a recent family portrait session. It’s rare that I post photographs of myself. I prefer to hide behind the other side of the lens, I feel more comfortable photographing other people. But I realise, as I make connections with people online, on instagram, through my cookbooks and blog, that it’s nice to put a face to the name and the voice.

And I want to say hello.

I’ve had the luck of having many talented, dear photographer friends take photos of me and my family, including my sister. For this recent shoot, I reached out to a fellow Florence-based expat, Danish photographer Birgitte Brondsted, whose work I have always admired.

Although the aim of the shoot was to have a few photographs I could use to update my blog and social media with, I wanted to include my family in these photographs because they are such a large part of my work. Marco is the ‘experimental’ cook, the one trying to cure his own bottarga and who loves all the technical details behind the sizzle of a steak or the perfect rise when baking bread. It may be because of all the years of working in fine dining restaurants or all the hours he spends watching Chef Steps. Marco, although behind the scenes, has done so much to inspire and support and help me cook, while also teaching me about wine and keeping my glass topped up (he is a sommelier after all). Many of the dishes photographed in my cookbooks were ones he offered to cook. But well before I began writing cookbooks, though, he has always been there, behind the scenes.

And now, even our daughter is a huge help in the kitchen too, particularly when some kind of dough is concerned. She’s been by my side since day one of my cookbook writing career, literally, and has made her mark throughout both my cookbooks!

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We started with some photographs in our tiny kitchen (which you can read a bit more about on Wall Street Journal’s In My Kitchen interview), renovated with an equally tiny budget but a lot of love, doing something we would usually cook together — pizza, a basic recipe that I have used in both my cookbooks, Florentine and Acquacotta. Then we took our pizzette down to the abandoned and overgrown olive grove that we live next to — along with a neighbour’s Jack Russell, Nutella, who lives in our house during the day while the neighbour is at work — for an impromptu picnic.

I loved that we were able to be at home, offering a peek at where we live in the hills of Florence — a humble apartment in a beautiful gem of a neighbourhood, Settignano.

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Photographs by Birgitte Brondsted in Florence.

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