A corn pancake with fried chicken (above) at The Peasantry in Chicago, June 21, 2012.
Chicago Food Photography: I had no idea how much I enjoyed shooting food until I started shooting restaurant reviews for The Daily. It’s a nice challenge to shoot small items, combined with big backgrounds, to create drama and make the viewer long for an early dinner.
BY BILL BRADLEY
CHICAGO – Restaurateur Alexander Brunacci is raising the bar on those paper-wrapped goodies you usually chow on the go. The Peasantry, his new restaurant in ChicagoÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Lincoln Park, capitalizes on the street cart craze with a fine-dining touch. BrunacciÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s passion seems a logical enough outcome of his previous life as a marketing VP in a suit.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe first 10 years of my corporate life was spent traveling to and living in Third World countries, from Asia to Latin America to Eastern Europe,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â the Australian-bred Brunacci told The Daily. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œOne of the things I prided myself on was finding the best street food without asking for help. I ate anything and everything, from soups to bibimbap to gyros.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Such indiscriminate gluttony once put him in a Taipei emergency room with a bacterial infection and an IV in his arm ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œtepid soupÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â but it was a minor glitch in his culinary adventures. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe doctors just rolled their eyes when I told them where IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢d eaten. DidnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t stop me from eating street food!ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Brunacci, 44, who settled in the States in 1997, always wanted to open a restaurant. It wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t until a boozy 2008 dinner with his brother, Frank ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â who did stints as the head chef at VictorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s in the New Orleans Ritz Carlton and as executive chef at the Chicago Trump TowerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Sixteen ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â that he knew it was time. He left marketing in 2009, recruited chef Joe Doren from the Trump Tower at his brotherÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s suggestion and opened the wiener outpost Franks ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“NÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ Dawgs in February 2010. It was an immediate success with DorenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s homemade sausages and indulgent toppings, from truffle mac ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢nÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ cheese to cognac-glazed pork belly. Customers lined up after the Travel ChannelÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œBizarre FoodsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and the Cooking ChannelÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œUnited Tastes of AmericaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â aired segments about Franks, whose tagline is ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œFive Star Dining on a Bun.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â … Read More
Chicago food photography: restaurant photos