Clay Williams photographs food, drinks, and the people and places that define food culture. Over the last 15 years his adventures have taken him on road trips through Argentina and South Louisiana. They have found him hanging off the back of food trucks from Paris to The Bronx. He has sweat it out in tight kitchens with Michelin-starred chefs and wandered through fields of livestock with butchers and chefs seeking the origins of the meat and produce they purvey. And in the last two years, he's documented how the pandemic has impacted the people, restaurants, and communities throughout New York.
Most recently, Clay's work has allowed him to photograph the food and stories of James Beard Rising Star Chef Kwame Onwuachi and Gullah Matriarch Ms. Emily Meggett, whose cookbooks were released in Spring of 2022. When he's not on set shooting cookbooks, you can find him on assignment for The New York Times, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and The James Beard Foundation.
In 2019, Clay co-founded Black Food Folks, a platform for professionals working in food and food media. The organization has provided a space to connect, collaborate, and share stories within the community. From 2020 through 2021, Black Food Folks hosted over 200 live conversations among members of the community and provided over $85,000 in grants to Black-run organizations in food and food media throughout the country. Most recently, Black Food Folks has launched a podcast, Black Desserts, currently in its second season.
If Clay isn't behind the camera, he might be behind the stove cooking at home or out exploring local gems around the world. He lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, with his wife, Tammi Williams, a textile artist and founder of Yarn & Whiskey.
Clay is available for assignments and projects in New York and Philadelphia, and is happy to travel further afield. He is a member of @DiversifyPhoto.
On this episode, Clay joins host Mitchell Davis and discusses the changing depiction of food in photography, the need to build trust with ones subject, and the importance of anticipating a shot and framing it before it happens (especially in the kitchen!).
Follow Clay and his work on Twitter and Instagram: @ultraclay and Clay Williams Photo on Facebook.
To see more of Clay’s work, visit: claywilliamsphoto.com
More episodes from "What's Burning"
039: Asaf "Dok" Doktor - Chef/Co-owner of Tel Aviv Restaurants: Ha’Achim, Dok & Abie
há 20 horas
59:13Born in Caesarea on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, Asaf Doktor, better known to his friends as Dok, turned his childhood love of food into a successful career as a chef, restaurateur and champion of local Israeli ingredients Along with his brother, Yotam, Dok, owns three of Tel Aviv’s most popular and interesting restaurants: Ha’Achim (“Brothers”); Abie, a seafood restaurant with an impressive 3m long wood fired grill; and Dok, a celebration of local Israeli ingredients. At Dok, all but one or two items in the entire restaurant, including at the bar, are sourced from within Israel. On this episode, Dok joins host Mitchell Davis and discusses valuing Israeli produce, celebrating seasonality, and the creativity that comes from cooking with limitations. Follow Dok and his restaurants on Instagram: @asafdok, @haachim_restaurant, @makolet.Haachim, @abie.restaurant, and @dok.restaurant. To learn more about Ha’achim, visit: https://www.haachim.co.il/
038: Johanna Mendelson Forman, PhD, JD - Adjunct Professor, American University’s School of International Service and Founder, Conflict Cuisine
57:14Johanna Mendelson Forman is a premier expert on gastrodiplomacy, social gastronomy and how food is central to survival and resilience in the world’s most active conflict zones. Her groundbreaking work is derived from her distinguished career as a practitioner and policymaker working with the U.S. government, the United Nations and the World Bank. She is one of the leading voices in the global Social Gastronomy Network, a movement that is helping a new generation of chefs and food activists address a wide range of issues including climate change, food waste, sustainability and global hunger. Her extensive list of professional credentials includes her ongoing roles as an adjunct professor at American University’s School of International Service and Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center, where she heads the Food Security Program. In 2015, her accomplished career in international affairs led her to create Conflict Cuisine®: An Introduction to War and Peace Around the Dinner Table – a curriculum designed to educate about food security, gastrodiplomacy and the issues she about which she is so passionate. The creation of Conflict Cuisine® expanded Johanna’s work to address the relationship between food entrepreneurship, gender and inclusion. Johanna is a highly regarded expert in the specific regions of Latin America and the Caribbean, with extensive field experience in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Central America Colombia and Brazil. As such, she is frequently featured by national media including the Wall Street Journal, NPR and CNN. She has also authored a number of opinion pieces in prominent publications, most recently The Hill (February 2021). She holds a JD from Washington College of Law at American University, a PhD in Latin American History from Washington University, St. Louis, and a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens College. In 2017, she helped launch the Livelihoods In Food Entrepreneurship Project (LIFE), a consortium of organizations under the Center for Private and International Enterprise. This program, which is supported by the U.S. State Department, aids Syrian refugees and Turks using food entrepreneurship as a tool for social integration. In 2019, she co-edited the LIFE Project cookbook of recipes contributed by refugees, The Cuisines of Life: Stories and Recipes of the New Food Entrepreneurs of Turkey. On this episode, Johanna joins host Mitchell Davis and provides us an understanding of gastrodiplomacy, explores social gastronomy and offers perspective on the paradoxical power food has to both create and resolve conflicts.
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037: Sean Sherman - Founder/CEO, The Sioux Chef; Founder/Senior Director of Vision & Strategic Partnerships, NĀTIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems); and Co-Owner, Owamni by The Sioux Chef
52:56A member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, Chef Sean Sherman was born and raised in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Cooking in kitchens across the United States and Mexico for over 30 years, Chef Sean is renowned nationally and internationally in the culinary movement of Indigenous foods. His primary focus is the revitalization and evolution of Indigenous foods systems throughout North America. His extensive studies on the foundations of Indigenous food systems have led to his deep understanding of what is needed to showcase Native American cuisine in today's world. In 2014, Chef Sean opened the business, The Sioux Chef, designed to provide catering and food education in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. He and his business partner, Dana Thompson, also designed and opened the Tatanka Truck, which featured 100% pre-contact foods of the Dakota and Minnesota territories. In October 2017, Sean and his team presented the first decolonized dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in Manhattan. His first book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, received the James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook for 2018 and was chosen one of the top ten cookbooks of 2017 by the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Smithsonian magazine. That same year, Chef Sean was selected as a Bush Fellow and received the 2019 Leadership Award from the James Beard Foundation. Chef Sean currently serves on the leadership committee of the James Beard Foundation Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans and was recently awarded The Ashoka Fellowship. In July 2021, Chef Sean and his partner Dana opened Owamni by The Sioux Chef, Minnesota’s first full service Indigenous restaurant, featuring healthy Indigenous food and drinks. Owamni received the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in June 2022. The Sioux Chef team continues with their mission to help educate and make Indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible through their non-profit arm, North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NĀTIFS) and the accompanying Indigenous Food Lab professional Indigenous kitchen and training center. Working to address the economic and health crises affecting Native communities by re-establishing Native foodways, NĀTIFS imagines a new North American food system that generates wealth and improves health in Native communities through food-related enterprises. On this episode, Sean joins host Mitchell Davis and discusses preserving culinary traditions of Native American communities, advocating for Indigenous food systems globally, and navigating cultural appropriation in the 21st century.
036: Glenn Roberts - Founder and Lead Sensory Researcher, Anson Mills
1:10:17Glenn Roberts founded Anson Mills in 1998 in Charleston, South Carolina, to rematriate lost foods of the 18th and 19th century Southern Pantry. Today, Anson Mills grows and produces artisan organic landrace grain, legume, and oil seed ingredients for chefs and home cooks worldwide and provides culinary research support for pastry chefs, bakers, brewers, and distillers through Anson Mills Research Lab. Anson Mills provides pro bono seed biosecurity for the growing community of Southern organic place based identity preserved landrace crop farmers. Glenn is a recipient of the USA Artisan of the Year and National Pathfinder Awards and a founding member of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. On this episode, Glenn joins host Mitchell Davis and offers a modern take on ancient grains, describes how geography-agriculture-history inform cuisine, and highlights the flavor of biosecurity. Follow Glenn on Twitter and Instagram: @ansonmills and on TikTok: @anson_mills. For more on Glenn and Anson Mills, visit: ansonmills.com. Plus, for more on his work and the field, visit: https://www.ars.usda.gov/southeast-area/stuttgart-ar/dale-bumpers-national-rice-research-center/
035: Marjon Andesha - Founder & Executive Chef, Nolu’s
52:10Marjon Andesha’s culinary journey started at a young age. Born in Colorado and raised in California in a traditional Afghani home, Marjon grew up embracing diverse cultures and traditions. Marjon’s parents built and ran many restaurants and this made food a core part of Marjon’s soul and upbringing. She grew up learning from her mother’s love for food and from her father’s commitment to serve people with a great food experience. She learned and believed that love for food must be coupled with a passion to serve people. In 2004, Marjon moved to Abu Dhabi with her family. She began cooking at home and entertaining her friends and family with her delicious meals. Her friends advised her to open a restaurant and share her passion with the people of Abu Dhabi. In 2011, Marjon opened Nolu’s – named after her son Noah and daughter Lujayn. Nolu’s is a concept that fuses Marjon’s Afghani earth roots with California’s palates of health and color. In 12 years, Nolu’s has grown to become one of the most admired brands with many people in the UAE and across the region coming to try it. The concept also provides healthy to go offerings, wellness meal plans, and catering that have been proven successful in the business community. Since opening, Nolu’s has won many awards as a top restaurant and became a favorite destination for the UAE leaders, VIP’s and world dignitaries. With this success, Nolu’s has expanded across Abu Dhabi into Dubai with 10 concepts around the region. Having lived in the region for 18 years and counting her experience and background makes her a vital asset to the culinary scene. On this episode, Marjon joins host Mitchell Davis to share her journey as a female restaurateur in the Emirates, to highlight the UAE’s expanding food scene, and to celebrate the kaleidoscope of flavors found in Afghan cuisine. Follow Marjon and Nolu’s on Instagram @marjons_experiences @marjon.andesha and @nolusrestaurants and Facebook @nolusrestaurants For more on Marjon and Nolu’s, visit https://www.nolusrestaurants.com/
034: Paul Hobbs - Winemaker
1:01:05Paul Hobbs is a world-renowned winemaker. In 2013, Forbes Magazine referred to Hobbs as “The Steve Jobs of Wine”. He has been twice named “Wine Personality of the Year” by Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate. Over his 40+ year career, Hobbs has received more than ten 100-point scores across his portfolio—a rare feat that places him in the top echelon of the world’s winemakers. He graduated from Newfane in 1971, earned his BS in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame in 1975, and MS in Viticulture & Enology from the University of California, Davis in 1978. Regarded as an international visionary for his accomplishments in the vineyard and winery, Hobbs combines his childhood roots on the family farm in Western New York with an innovative scientific approach to refine the art of winemaking. He is recognized across the globe for breaking with tradition and forging new paths in the pursuit of excellence; both in stewardship of the land, and the crafting of wines that represent the purist concept of place – leading the way in the early 90’s as a pioneer of site-specific, vineyard designate wines. Robert Parker notes that “Paul Hobbs is like a good truffle-hunting dog when it comes to finding great vineyards.” In 1979, he was appointed a member of the inaugural Opus One winemaking team joint venture between Robert Mondavi / Mouton Rothschild of Bordeaux. Later, a first trip to Argentina in 1988 marked the beginning of what today has become a highly consequential South American winemaking career. Prominently featured in Ian Mount’s “The Vineyard at the End of the World: Maverick Winemakers and the Rebirth of Malbec,” Hobbs is recognized for his legendary status as the pioneer winemaker who played the leading role in launching the variety’s rise to fame. Today, Hobbs is owner and vintner for eight wineries around the world: Paul Hobbs, Crossbarn, and HOBBS (California), Hillick & Hobbs (Finger Lakes, New York), Viña Cobos (Argentina), Crocus (Cahors, France), Yacoubian-Hobbs (Armenia), and Alvaredos-Hobbs (Galicia, Spain). On this episode, Paul joins host Mitchell Davis to explain terroir, share life lessons learned from winemaking, and discuss finding integrity in the way food is grown. Follow Paul Hobbs and his wineries on Instagram @phwinery, @hillickandhobbs, @crossbarnwinery and Facebook @phwinery, @hillickandhobbs, @crossbarnwine and Twitter @crossbarnwinery. For more on Paul and his wines, visit https://www.paulhobbswines.com/
033: Fruition Chocolate Works - Dahlia Graham – Co-Founder / CEO & Bryan Graham – Founder / Creative Director
1:04:43Dahlia Graham – Co-Founder / CEO, Fruition Chocolate Works Dahlia Graham is the Co-Founder and CEO of Fruition Chocolate Works, an award-winning bean to bar chocolate maker in New York's Hudson Valley that has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Bon Appetit. With her husband Bryan Graham, she sources transparent, high-quality cocoa beans, which are then carefully crafted into dark, milk, and white chocolate bars and confections. Dahlia holds a B.S. in Human Development with a minor in Spanish and International Studies from Binghamton University, and a Masters in Teaching from Pace University. She is a Teach for America Alumna, and previously held the role of Director of Educational Programs at REACT to FILM in NYC. She also founded Corazón de Dahlia, a nonprofit organization that provided education and community development to impoverished, marginalized Peruvian children and families for 10 years. Bryan Graham – Founder / Creative Director, Fruition Chocolate Works Bryan Graham is the Founder of Fruition Chocolate Works and Confectionery. From a very young age, Bryan has been passionate about chocolate, pastry and food of all types. Bryan attributes his interest in the field of baking and pastry to his grandmother, an outstanding baker. During visits to her farm in upstate New York, Bryan learned how to pick perfectly ripe ingredients and transform them into pies, cakes, jams and jellies. At the age of 16, Bryan began an in depth study through a high school mentor program where he became an apprentice at the renowned Bear Café in Woodstock, New York. Within the first week of working beside Executive Pastry Chef Heather Haviland, Bryan confirmed his love for pastry. After showing commitment to the craft and dedication to the restaurant, Bryan was offered a permanent position as an assistant to the baker and Pastry Chef. At age 18, after graduating high school, he took over that role. Five years later, Bryan decided to continue with a formal education at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He completed his externship at Jacques Torres Chocolates in NYC. However, it wasn't until Bryan made a tiny batch of chocolate from bean to bar with Chef Peter Greweling that an interest in the history and science of chocolate and confectionery was sparked. Since, Bryan has educated himself on the science, technique, and craft of chocolate. In 2013, Bryan was named Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professional Magazine. He and his team continue to be recognized with a multitude of awards including Good Food Awards, Academy of Chocolate Awards, and International Chocolate Awards. On this episode, Dahlia and Bryan join host Mitchell Davis and discuss Cacao’s long journey from bean to bar, the temperamental nature of chocolate, and why every small business should find a bookkeeper they can trust. Follow Fruition Chocolate Works on Twitter: @TasteFruition, Instagram: @fruitionchocolate and Facebook: @FruitionChocolate For more on Fruition Chocolate Works, visit fruitionchocolateworks.com
032: Gail Simmons - Food Expert, TV Host & Author
1:02:37Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Since the show’s inception in 2006, she has lent her expertise as a permanent judge on BRAVO’s Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series Top Chef, now entering its 20th anniversary season. She was most recently a co-host of The Good Dish, the daily syndicated series offering delicious recipes, real-life wisdom, and conversations on the topics of the day, and was formerly host of Top Chef Amateurs, as well as Iron Chef Canada. From 2004 to 2019, Gail served as special projects director at FOOD & WINE. In February 2012, she published her first book, Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater. Her first cookbook, Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, was released in October 2017. Nominated for an IACP award for best general cookbook, it features recipes inspired by Gail’s world travels—all made with accessible ingredients and with smart, simple techniques for successful family meals and easy entertaining. Gail frequently appears on other daytime television shows such as TODAY on NBC, Rachael Ray and The Talk, and was named the #1 Reality TV Judge in America by The New York Post. She is the co-founder of Bumble Pie Productions, and the newest Global Ambassador for Children in Conflict, an international organization committed to protecting, educating and providing critical aid for the world's most vulnerable children affected by war. Gail sits on the board of several other nonprofit organizations and philanthropic endeavors, including City Harvest and Hot Bread Kitchen. She currently lives in New York City with her husband, Jeremy and their two children, Dahlia and Kole. On this episode, Gail joins host Mitchell Davis and discusses what it takes to stand out on Top Chef, the democratization of restaurants, and the importance of being treated with respect in the kitchen. Follow Gail on Instagram @gailsimmonseats, Facebook Gail Simmons and Twitter @gailsimmons. For more on Gail and her work, visit: https://gailsimmons.com/
031: Ivan Orkin - Famed Japan Expert & Restaurateur
1:01:31Ivan’s journey began with a dishwashing job at a sushi bar when he was 15. He discovered a culture and cuisine that would shape the rest of his life. Upon graduating high school, Ivan decided to major in Japanese language and literature at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After graduating, Ivan immediately moved to Japan to teach English and he quickly cemented his love of everything Japanese. He returned to the US in 1990 and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, and began his culinary training. Upon graduation from the CIA, and stints at Mesa Grill, Lutece, and Restaurant Associates, Ivan returned to Tokyo to live in the country that he fell in love with. He had still never given thought to combining his love for cooking and Japan, but that was soon to change. Ivan was anxious to start a food-related business in Japan but was unsure of which direction to take. He thought about opening a cooking school, a sandwich shop, even a pizzeria. It was his wife’s suggestion that he open a ramen shop. This move seemed destined for failure in a country where ramen enjoys a cult-like status. Incredibly, Ivan not only succeeded but became one of the top ramen shops in Tokyo, an unheard of accomplishment for a foreigner. In 2010 a second shop, Ivan Ramen Plus, was opened. In 2012, Ivan returned to NY with the hopes of opening a business back home, while continuing to operate his two shops in Tokyo. In the meantime, his cookbook "Ivan Ramen" was published. His first venture in the US, Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, opened at the Gotham West Market on 600 11th Avenue in November of 2013 to huge crowds and critical acclaim. Soon after, his US flagship, Ivan Ramen opened at 25 Clinton Street on New York’s Lower East Side. Although only Ivan Ramen remains open, it continues to enjoy critical acclaim and has been mentioned in countless magazines, websites, blogs, and television programs. Ivan is widely recognized as the American authority on ramen and all things Japanese. His effortless crossover from American to Japanese cultures has given him a distinct advantage. He speaks fluent Japanese and has a deep understanding of the culture which allows him to present a product that appeals to both Japanese and American audiences. In February of 2017 Ivan was featured in the hit NETFLIX series CHEF'S TABLE, instantly vaulting him into the company of some of the world’s great chefs and restaurateurs. This honor has driven even more fans of ramen to his restaurant, where he continues to serve them his uniquely "Ivan" cuisine. On this episode, Ivan joins host Mitchell Davis and discusses how as an American he became a ramen sensation in Japan, finding wonderful inspiration from horrible restaurants, and why it’s important to have razor sharp knives. Follow Ivan on Facebook @ivanramen, Instagram @ramenjunkie and Twitter @IvanRamenNYC. Get your copies of Ivan’s books: Ivan Ramen Cookbook and The Gaijin Cookbook For more on Ivan and his work, visit: www.ivanramen.com
030: Naama Shefi - Founder & Executive Director of Jewish Food Society and Asif: Culinary Institute of Israel
1:06:48Naama Shefi is a kibbutznik and New Yorker, whose work sits at the intersection of food, culture, community building, and art. In 2017, she founded the Jewish Food Society, which preserves and celebrates Jewish culinary heritage through a digital recipe archive and dynamic events. In the summer of 2021, she launched Asif: Culinary Institute of Israel, a center in Tel Aviv dedicated to exploring the diverse and creative food culture of Israel. Previously, Naama curated programs promoting Israeli and Jewish culinary culture through the hit pop-up The Kubbeh Project and the Israeli Consulate in New York. She also immersed herself in start-up culture as the marketing director of EatWith, which hosts pop-ups in 160 cities. Food, Naama believes, is one of the most profound ways to build community. On this episode, Naama joins host Mitchell Davis and discusses Israel’s diverse food traditions, preserving Jewish culinary heritage, and why rugelach are just as exciting as croissants. Follow Naama on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn @naamashefi. Follow the Jewish Food Society on Facebook and Instagram @jewishfoodsociety & Asif on Facebook and Instagram @asif.tlv. For more on Naama and her work, visit: Asif.org & Jewishfoodsociety.org.