Flavors of the Month
All sorts of questions flooded my brain as I flipped through the new Passion Food Hospitality calendar that came through the mail the other day:
Is this the kind of insider joke that no outsider ought to be privy to? Or just one of those bizarre miscalculations of the power of a brand?
Are the homoerotic overtones intended? Or are the makers of the calendar blind to the implications of the bathhouse/frathouse theme?
Whatever the case, the homemade, black-and-white calendar, the group's third, is as profoundly gutsy as the crafted-for-the-masses exotica at Ceiba, TenPenh, DC Coast and Acadiana isn't — a rare bit of gambling from a group that generally plays it safe.
Each month features a different cook from one of the group's four different restaurants. The men strike a variety of poses — one rocks his bare abs, one stirs a pot in his boxers, one flashes his bare, baroquely tattooed biceps like an aging Marine. Taken singly, the pictures can be amusing, or tender, or revealing. Taken together, it's hard not to come away thinking that Passion Food is just a little bit in thrall to the male gaze.
Three months, in particular, are bound to linger in the mind long after the page has been turned.
April is a blurry shot of Brandt Tesky, a sous chef at Acadiana, standing in the shower and glancing downward — a picture that plays simultaneously on the memory of the shower scene from "Psycho" and that big, sweaty guy down at the gym who takes an awful long time under the spray.
October shows Anthony Piscioneri, another sous chef at Acadiana, in a chiarascuro-thick shot that reveals his naked upper body and a James Dean expression as he chugs a brew and gazes upon a picture of what looks like Pearl Buck.
A turn of the page brings Mr. November, Manuel Flores, the sous chef at Ceiba, sitting naked in the dark in a barco-lounger, clutching a bottle of beer between his legs.
What's the meaning of all this? Who knows? But the photography is pro, and the pages are slick and full of heft. We would say "Bravo," but perhaps we've already said too much on that score.
Share your thoughts and questions on the calender here with Todd during his weekly Tuesday 11:00 am chat.