I already showed you the behind the scenes photos last week, and many of you have probably already been over to Jess's webspace to see the final results, but for those of you who haven't, or for those of you who easily forget, then you're in for a real treat on this stormy Monday morning.
Last weekend I joined Jessica Kemp - CHEF! (and a small army of helping hands - Tyler, Ashley, Anne) in Whittier for another Your Best Friend dinner at the mercurial hand of Mrs. Kemp. The mission was improbable and appropriately far-reaching for an artistic mind like Jess's: 10 courses paired with her top ten songs of 2009. The real kicker was that she'd be serving this masterpiece to her largest dining group yet: 8 people. So if you're keeping track, that's 80 plates to prepare, 80 dishes to serve, 80 individual masterpieces to recreate, without 80 hours to do so.
I'll spare you the suspense because by now the jig is certainly up: It went off with nary a hitch and more than one person compared Jess's food to having a religious experience. Direct quotes from the dining room, people! I can't make this stuff up!
The day before the dinner, we met up to do a dry run of all ten courses as well as shoot those courses for Jess's website. She goes into more detail about this, but Jess and I are artistic soulmates when it comes to collaborations. We're about as different as different can be when it comes to the kind of art we create, but I've yet to meet anyone with whom I collaborate with more fruitfulness than Jessica NelsonKemp. With us, the ideas are constant and the results are varied but no less consistent in execution. Basically, she and I are an unstoppable force when it comes to creative endeavors. And from this springs our best collaboration to date: Food + photography.
It was a 15-hour day, but with Jess's food, and with the patient help (and more creative inspiration) from Tyler, Ashley, and Anne, we were able to shoot all ten courses. Without further ado, here are the photos along with the songs they appeared with. For full descriptions of what's on the plate, you'll have to head over to Jess's website (hint: Do it. Now. It's worth it if only to salivate over the bacon-date-chipotle sausage she made from SCRATCH).
#10: YACHT - Ring The Bell
#4: Neko Case - I'm An Animal (this was my favorite course, by the way. Anne
brought yellow limes with her from Ontario and they made the dish. Fantastic.)
#1: Dirty Projectors - Useful Chamber