I’ve been enjoying Chef Peter Schott’s culinary expertise for some time now whenever I am the The Lodge at Woodloch for a meal. Some of my favorites include the beef tenderloin or the Thai curry shrimp for lunch and the marinated lamb for dinner. So it was with great delight when I was asked to create a lifestyle portrait of “Chef” as he is often called by everyone at this top destination spa that is located in the Poconos.
I always worry whenever I’m told something is going to be healthy for me. My immediate reaction is that the food will be bland and boring. That is not the case at this all-inclusive destination spa. Chef Peter emphasizes flavor and real-life choices. From naturally raised meats and fish to vegetarian dishes, The Lodge at Woodloch’s approach to spa cuisine and Peter’s in particular, marries the best food with enlightened healthy techniques, creating a new kind satisfying and nutritious eating experience.
One of the Spa’s basic tenet is to bring the outside inside, but I opted to bring the inside outside. With Chef’s focus on natural ingredients many of which are grown right on the property, I thought it would be nice to frame Peter in the Chef’s Garden at the front of the property.
Chef Peter grew up an athlete and at 6’5″ tall, it is not at all surprising that Chef played college basketball before exchanging the excitement of the court to the thrill of creating a magnificent dish in the kitchen. However, that posed a problem for me in the garden. I wanted to frame Chef using the garden but he stood so tall above everything. Luckily I remembered a portrait of Hugh Jackman while they were promoting his Wolverine movie. That gave me the missing ingredient to the image I wanted of Chef, who I had squat in the garden much like you would see a basketball player squat in front of the scoring table before going into the game.
As I usually do when I have to photograph someone, I used a stand-in to test for my framing and lighting. It was a quick shot with a single Quantum QFlash and a small softbox on camera right to supplement the natural light surrounding the garden so I just grabbed Michael from the bell stand. Michael is about 5’8″ so he has nothing over chef, but it got me close enough.