STEVE GEDRA OF THE BLACK SHEEP

Chef Steve Gedra of the Black Sheep in Buffalo, NY.

For a long time Steve Gedra has been my favorite chef cooking in Buffalo.

With the two restaurants he’s owned in the city alongside his wife Ellen – their former Elmwood Avenue spot Bistro Europa, and their current restaurant The Black Sheep, Steve has cemented himself as one of the most exciting figures in the Buffalo dining scene, and I’ve got a lot of reasons to appreciate what he does – some culinary, and some a little more personal.

I love the fact that his menus often reflect things that I grew up with that tend to be a little harder to find on most local menus: head cheese, pig ears and pork liver aren’t uncommon things to see when you look over the menu at The Black Sheep. A lot of these are things that remind me of meals I shared with my dad before he passed way (coincidentally – I think he would have really liked Steve’s food).

I love that he works so closely with local producers to pass on the area’s best to his customers.

I love that Steve constantly mixes it up, often inviting other local chefs into his kitchen to collaborate as part of his monthly Midnight Mass events.

I love that Steve can convert some of the pickiest eaters I know – namely my fiancée. As an avowed pork hater she gets mad if I even cook bacon in the house, but she will gladly chow down on any number of porcine goodies if Steve is serving them.

I love Ellen’s deserts – even if for some mystifying reason you don’t eat anything else on the menu, just order dessert and you’ll be happy.

And I love that when I was recovering from a really nasty surgery that kept me from working for quite some time Steve invited Erin and I to Bistro Europa for what was, at the time, the most relaxing and stress free meal we had been able to enjoy in a while – he’s a genuinely welcoming and caring person who wears his love for his customers on his sleeve.

It was amazing to finally have a chance to create this portrait of Steve in the front bar of The Black Sheep. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon before a weekday dinner kicked off, so we had some wonderful light coming in through the windows while we set up this shot and enjoyed some of the fantastic Chemex brewed coffee Steve made for us. Steve and Ellen put a lot of care into the design of the restaurant, including the intimate front bar that then opens up into the larger rear dining room, which is where we decided to photograph Steve enjoying a coffee and a few seconds of quiet prior to service.

Personal Record 11.24.2011

Personal Record is an ongoing stream of the images I make outside of my professional career. The personal images, mobile images, outtakes, and  random candid images that I take on whatever camera I happen to have handy at the time; a documentation of my day-to-day life and the things I come across that interest me visually.


Night time, out with the dogs, is a brief peaceful time in the otherwise chaotic days as of late. I am going to miss the fall weather as it starts to get colder and we progress into another of Buffalo’s famous hell-winters. Though, I am excited to be able to shoot in the snow again.


London – our friends Nick and Jason’s dog – during a recent dinner party. You may have seen Nick make appearances on my blog in the past, both in our photographic collaborations as well as in mentions of his amazing skills as a painter.


I’m getting ready to move in a few days, here is a little preview of the new house/office. It will be quite the change for me not to be living downtown after all these  years, but I cannot wait to get into it and start to build a more ideal work/live space for myself. First thing on the docket is finding a new office chair – mine broke last week resulting in me doing an olympic caliber backflip right out of it and onto my back as the balance point suddenly shifted.


Me on the morning I turned thirty.


Breakfast at Towne Restaurant, I was always fascinated by their giant sky lit back dining room – It has always seemed oddly modern for a greek diner.


 

The Paws of the beast.


For my thirtieth birthday dinner Erin surprised me by conspiring with Steven Gedra from Bistro Europa to create an amazing surprise meal for me. I think Steve is the finest chef working in Western NY these days, and this menu did not disappoint – a veritable feast of Pork and Seafood that was made even more interesting by the fact that Erin had never eaten pork or shellfish before.


Scenes from my birthday party. Starting it off with this batch of cupcakes created by my friend Jessica featuring cutouts from a recent project by Scott Gable that I made a cameo appearance in. I promise you these were very chocolatey and very delicious.

And to prove what a design nerd I am, A picture of me with Sarah, Melanie, and Meagan – full on RGB hair colors.


Right back to work with the team a few days later, on set for a small editorial piece we are working on.


A series of monitor captures taken with Instagram, I have become fascinated with taking digital images of already digital images, there is something very interesting about the various qualities of light and color that translate from device to device, not to mention the extra layers of pattern and noise that happened with this technique. I am currently collection some of the thousands of mobile images that I took over the past year to put together into a small limited edition poster for the holidays.


Working on a small personal project with Jessica (of cupcake fame) and Emaleigh earlier this week, I just cannot get enough of this last mobile image of her with her face mask on.