Food52 Life

How We Survived a Photo Shoot Without Power

July 25, 2015

Yesterday, we had electricity only sometimes—but we managed to make ice cream and take pictures of it.

Our "kitchen" by one of the few working outlets

Yesterday, we arrived to a dark office with a cacophony of beeping. The buttons on our stoves were strobing to their own beat and every once in a while, the overhead lights would interject with a burst of their own spasms.

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But we had a busy day ahead (a photo shoot for forthcoming cookbook!). The show—this one, a weekday rave in our office—must go on.

Here’s a snapshot of the ridiculousness:

  • The editors had an 8:30 A.M. meeting with a guest—in the dark, where we ate cake and caramel and drank lots of coffee. Since we didn’t have any internet (did anything happen yesterday?), we took notes on the only paper we could find: envelopes.
  • After being appropriately over-caffeinated and over-sugared from our first meeting, we had a team editorial meeting. Since we were all itching to find internet, we opted to “pickle” most of the agenda items—meaning, “eh, let's talk about it next week.”
  • The majority of the editorial team and the rest of the Food52 employees escaped to find internet and light, but some of us stayed back for the photo shoot. When you do a greenmarket run for ingredients, nothing will stop us from utilizing them. And, we’re nimble, right? In the words of Art Director Alexis: "All we need is the internet, an oven, and a dream!"

These babes had to have their time in the spotlight

  • Our Test Kitchen Manager Derek was making pasta and chicken on a portable induction burner. When the outlet in the kitchen was being finicky, he moved his cooking station to a desk. All the other appliances were scattered about the office, in an effort to find any ounce of electricity.
  • Meanwhile, in order to read the recipes we were shooting, we tethered our computers to our phones to connect to internet. (We are not thinking about the amount of phone data we’ve used as a result.) Since we couldn't print the photos as we shot, we kept our fingers crossed that they were looking good.
  • Bridget stuck around, too, in order to help get electricity and internet back up. While on the phone with the electricity company, she, in full seriousness, said: “I know you have to restart the power, but we have ice cream churning.”


  • We did, indeed, make Merrill’s black raspberry ice cream around our electricity’s own plan, and since the freezer wasn’t working, decided to go for a melty shot—then gobbled up all the ice cream as quickly as possible.
  • Amazingly, we got through our entire shot list (minus one shot, but hey!). Maybe we'll do our next shoot in the woods or on a boat—just to keep ourselves on our toes.
  • After the chefs, photographer, and stylists went home, Bridget stuck around in an effort to get our internet back up (she triumphantly got our electricity back in the late afternoon!). So she made this, and deserved every sip:

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Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.