I spent a day in jail. Oh wait, that didn’t sound quite right. Let me clarify. I spent a day at jail. I was there photographing food prepared by Thomas, a nice young fellow who spends his days confined to a jail cell, but his cell is a bit different than one might imagine. For starters, he shares his cell space with his sous chef as they create signature dishes such as Southern Style Shrimp & Grits, Chicken Marsala and Filet served with fresh asparagus and mashed potatoes. All this from their confines, complete with commercial kitchen and other accoutrements you wouldn’t expect to find in a jail cell such as sharp knives, fresh ingredients and a constant stream of waitstaff picking up orders for their customers out in the dining area.
You see, Thomas isn’t an inmate, he’s the Head Chef for Battle Ground Brewery & Restaurant located in Franklin, Tennessee’s old historic jail. Yes, he literally does work in a converted jail cell that is now a commercial kitchen but he’s free to come and go as he pleases. From this odd space, still with the original steel door, come great culinary creations. The “old jail”, as everyone in Franklin refers to it, is circa 1900 and has quite a history I’m told, including sightings of inmates long gone by now. The historic building is amazing, complete with a solitary confinement down in the basement, original architectural and design details throughout. There’s even a lynching hook with trap floor which is now behind the bar where these day’s the only verdict they serve is beer on tap each night.
My crew and I spent the day with Thomas and the restaurant’s marketing design firm Spring Sprang Studio capturing a bit of the flavor and essence of what Battle Ground Brewery & Restaurant serves it’s inmates … er, uh … guests. Below are results from our food photography session.
Special thanks to Chef Thomas, Sam and Fred at Battleground and John, Carol, Karen and Jim at Spring Sprang for what was a fun assignment in a unique venue. Also, kudos to our food stylist Mary Ann as she and Thomas worked closely in preparing the food for camera. And last, but certainly not least, hats off to my first assistant Rory for his incredible strength to climb three flights of stairs with hundreds of pounds of photo gear and his keen ability to read my mind on set.
While I maintained my “don’t eat food off set” policy, I confess that I did eat Fish and Chips as our crew was treated to lunch … but not food off set. Secondly, I confess that I’ve been back to “the slammer” … Amy and I went there on a date and she can vouch for the Shrimp and Grits. Next time? Yes, cheesecake. You know me too well.
Twitter Updates @kyledreier
- Happy May Showers…and pancakes. Download the May desktop calendar here: http://t.co/RFPBNYA7Xr #food #calendar #photography
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- Just learned a new word thanks to @st8mnt ..."fangirling" ... #omg