Cheese Composition. 

A few years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to shoot with a great art director from the McGarrah/Jesse Agency in Austin, Texas, Ryan Rhodes. These images were done for a local favorite, Central Market. I hope you like them.

They were shot on a simple white background with one light, and a little fill from a 4' x 8' white card. What made these shots pretty was the composition. The strength of the composition, in my opinion, comes from the fact that the cheeses are not forced into this arrangement with pins, wax, blocks, or any kind of objects balancing them in any way. I allowed their shapes to dictate where each wedge should go. A very natural way to compose your shots, no matter what the subjet is. Don't force it.






Soba Noodle at Tei-An, Dallas, Texas!

Most people that have never been to Texas might be inclined to think that Dallas is filled with Tex-Mex, BBQ restaurants, and steak houses.  While this is true, and we do have some of the best, Dallas is home to many varying  cuisines.  One of these, I had the pleasure of shooting this past week,  Tei-An Japanese Soba House, for FD Luxe Magazine.  Tei-An's owner Teiichi Sakurai, prepared it especially for our photo shoot, and participated in styling it so that it was picture perfect.  It was a priviledge and honor for me to meet him and to photograph his handmade soba creation. The dish is the Micro Green Soba Salad. 

The restaurant is beautifully styled and furnished, so it wasn't difficult to find a great surface for our visual story. Lighting was naturally provided by available window light coming from camera right.  I turned the table slightly at an agle so that the window would be slightly behind the center of the plate. No fill. We shot the soba as soon as Teiichi brought it out.  If you are in Dallas get the rest of the story in the next issue of FD Luxe Magazine.

Life is good!






And the winner is?


Ño! What a feeling! I still can't believe it, but it is true.  The readers and editors of chose my blog as the Best Food Photography Blog.  I was just simply content with the nomination! 

Thank you all who voted for gastroFOTOnomia!  The other finalists were amazing and if you haven't already, make sure you pay them a visit here: La Buena Vida,  Prattos e Travessas,  Not Without Salt,  SevenSpoonsSunday Suppers.

This could have never happened with out the help of my fabulous studio maven, Kristen Butler.  A multi talented lady who has encouraged and supported me through out my many projects, wether they are good ideas or not, she lets me think that they are amazing and is always willing to make them happen one way or another. And she laughs at all my jokes! And if that is not support enough, I have the help of some amazing food stylists, Erin Quon, Yvonne Clark, Jennie Kelley. Kick ass photo assistants, Roderick Peña and Brandy Laidler.  Last but not least, my amazing Ness! Wonder Woman! My Vanessa! Who puts up with my late hours at the studio and my ADD.  Who is also a Goddess in the kitchen, and in any room!

So here's to all the Kitchen Gods and Goddesses!  

Gracias y Buen Provecho!


My Fotos At Sam's Club


Best Food Photography Blog

¡Muchas gracias! To all who voted for my blog! I don't know the outcome but I am grateful for the nomination by Saveur and it's readers. Thanks for showing me some love!


Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Who doesn't like a messy peanut butter and jelly sandwhich?  I don't!  Can you belive that?  I have never liked the taste of peanut butter.  Very un-american and actually, not very Cuban of me either.  Cubans love their peanuts. Hell, we even have a very popular song devoted to the peanut vendor, "El Manisero".  But I love shooting it.


Bolsa Restaurant For FD Luxe

Last week I had the pleasure to photograph Jeff Harris' creation at Bolsa Restaurant in Oak Cliff, Texas.  I believe it is called Windy Medows Chicken.  Look for it in the next issue of FD Luxe around Dallas. And of course, taste it at Bolsa Rstaurant!

The image was captured using avilable light.  The sun high above us at 3:00 PM, shooting through the lattice work that covers their outdoor dinning area.  I had to move the table around a bit as the sun moved.  No fill. My assistant Roderick "JalaPeña" held a 4' x 4' black foam core to avoid some of the light bouncing from the floor and the street.


Torta de Palmito (Heart of Palm Casserole)

As it happens at tables all around the world, we talk about other food experiences during the meal. During lunch with our Brazilian client and art director, Ellen Marquart, she shared with us one of her favorite dishes ever, the Torta de Palmito!  Not just any Torta de Palmito, but her mom's Torta de Palmito!  Elisa Marquart! This Brazilian Kitchen Goddess has been cooking for her family almost every day for 45 years!  That does not include the time little Elisa spent learning to cook with her mom. Can this Kitchen Goddess teach Emeril Lagasse a thing or two?  I think so!  

Papá Dirceu Marquart, has been right there by her side, making sure mama is comfortable and happy in the kitchen.  Dirceu's specialty is the churrasco (Brazilian barbecue)  All this on the beautiful island of Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, where the Marquarts are from.  An island off the southern coast of Brazil, with over 40 drop dead gorgeous beaches! 

So this is what I am imagining right now: the sound of the waves, the salt in the air, the smell of chouriço, beef, pork, and chicken on dad's churrasqueira. Elisa already has the Torta de Palmito in the oven and has just served us some refreshing Suco de Maracuja (passion fruit juice) poured over ice in tall glasses,  while she hums a Julio Iglesias tune, "Recuerdos de Ypacaraí".   Um paraíso! 

I raise a glass of maracuja to Elisa!  Here's to 45 more years of memories and passion in the kitchen!

Bom apetite! 


For the rest of Ellen's story and the recipe, click here.


Jimmie Henslee

First post of the year is dedicated to our friend Jimmie Henslee. Artist, art director, designer, interior decorator, prop stylist, set decorator, historian, and rennaisance man! And a fine cook to top it all off!  Which brings us to our first Kitchen GOD for our Shoot My Dish section.  Jimmie has been wanting to do this English/French story for a while and recently we had all the right people together here in Dallas for his little foto fantasy.  So without further ado, here's Jimmie's Coq Au Vin, which was delightful to say the least.  Click here for more on Jimmie's Coq Au Vin story and recipe.  

Thank you Erin, Kristen, Jennie, Kathy, Roderick, Brandy for making it happen!  Bon apetit!

To see all of the images on this story click here.


Christmas is upon us again!

Another year flew by.  And no matter how trite you might think it is, you still can't help to feel that something in the air.  Whether it makes you happy or depressed, you feel it.  I think it's just that 'end of yet another year' feeling. We've either accomplished a lot or not much.  But you can't help to think about life, relationships, work, health. Regardless of the emotions that it might conjure up, this is where we are right now.  This is where we are meant to be. Good or bad, we earned it.  We deserved it.  Let us accept it, embrace it, and use it to keep moving forward.  To better ouselves and the lives of those around us.  

We are thankful for all of you, family and friends, who are always there for us, with us. To our sons and daughters.  To the educators that enrich our lives and those of our children.  To the new friends who have come into our lives this year.  To the art directors and clients that have trusted us with their photography needs. To an awesome support staff of PA's, assistants, photographers, stylists. To our "Shoot My Dish" contributors. Our sincere thanks to all of you! 

Wishing you much love, peace, health, prosperity, and many more years to enjoy them all!

Manny Rodriguez


The following recipes were concocted by Jennie Kelly, Kristen Butler, and Manny, as a little token of our appreciation.  Let us know what you think!



© Copyright 2010-2011, GastroFOTOnomia | ShootMyDish | Manny Rodriguez   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Click on image for recipe. 



© Copyright 2010-2011, GastroFOTOnomia | ShootMyDish | Manny Rodriguez   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Click on image for recipe. 


THE RUM RODRIGUEZ      Manny's own original creation!  A Cuban compadre of the Brandy Alexander.

© Copyright 2010-2011, GastroFOTOnomia | ShootMyDish | Manny Rodriguez   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Click on image for recipe. 


 MANNY'S NOCHE DE AMOR  or Mulled Wine Elixir

© Copyright 2010-2011, GastroFOTOnomia | ShootMyDish | Manny Rodriguez   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Click on image for recipe.