Behind the Scenes at Chef Michael Schwartz's Cookbook Photo Shoot

I arrived at the Wynwood studio of Miami artist Betty Rosado shortly after lunch one afternoon last week. The beautiful two-story home with wood floors, high ceilings, and lots of sunlight was the site of the weeklong photo shoot for chef Michael Schwartz's cookbook, due out in 2011.

Upstairs, Chef Schwartz greeted me. The steamed mussels had just been photographed, and it was time to prepare for the short rib. Thumbnails of already-shot dishes, broken down by category, hung on one wall. Plates, pots, trays, bowls, place mats, kitchen towels, and any other table prop imaginable lay inside plastic bins or atop tables in one corner of the room. Near a trio of windows facing the street, a rustic wooden table was the setting for the dishes, which arrived from the downstairs kitchen following a detailed shot schedule. The food was real -- genuine -- with minimal styling and nothing added for sheen.

As photographer Ben Fink, prop stylist Rudolph Kohn, and Schwartz worked on each shot, the chef's daughter, Ella, and Rosado roamed the room taking behind-the-scene shots. Schwartz's co-writer, Joann Cianciulli, worked on her laptop while the chef's assistant and brand manager, Jackie Sayet, blogged about the shoot. At around midafternoon, the folks from Latin Burger & Taco Truck stopped by with some food for the group -- not that there was a lack of food in the house. After each dish was shot, everyone dug in. It was a busy scene, but a fun one.

Here's the afternoon in pictures.

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