The premiere edition of Gather Journal takes the word “float” as its theme. From floating in salty ocean water with the sun beating down on our bellies, to meals so fresh and bright they have a certain buoyancy about them, it’s a word that evokes pure summer. And the recipes we conceived to conjure up float on the plate are designed to mimic the word’s inherent sense of lightness, of airiness, of utter ease. We also explore salt, one of cooking’s most essential, and naturally floaty, ingredients; let cotton candy take on new, and unexpected, forms; and give praise to the distinctive appeal of puffy food, both haute and not. The issue is, simply put, summer, served.
Amuse bouche. There is something amusing about the term itself; the way your lips pucker up in near-provocative fashion just to utter it. And an initial provocation is precisely what an amuse bouche is; a tiny explosion of taste—a paper-thin lotus round, a briny oyster, a smear of fresh ricotta dotted with peas, a glug of ginger punch—designed to tease and open the palate for what is to come. A pretty sexy prospect, in our estimation.
The parade of small-bites teased your palate, now it’s time to tantalize it with something more substantial. Baby octopus fried to a featherweight crisp, slimly shaved asparagus threaded with a sunny egg yolk, and a bracingly clean take on gazpacho, each abides (deliciously) by the floaty standard.
Everything has been leading up to this: the meal’s feature presentation, where ingredients are granted the opportunity to shine. Plump scallops are painted with scallion oil, sinewy somen noodles are interwoven with vibrant lemongrass and juicy cockles, sliced steak earns new depth alongside caponata and a pouch of gooey burrata, and a dousing of pomegranate gives chargrilled chicken an appealingly sticky sweetness.
Noodle soup loses its cold weather reputation with the help of fresh herbs and lemongrass.
Juicy steak, cinnamon-laced caponata and creamy burrata adds up to a hearty plate.
Just as an amuse bouche is designed to open your palate in preparation for the meal that is to come, dessert should offer a, well, happy ending. Juicy summer plums are warmly poached with spices, that most classic childhood beverage, the ice cream float, gets both seasonal and boozey interpretations, and two unabashedly old-school favorites, Ile Flottante and the Jell-O mold, experience a revival. Each one, a perfect footnote.
Storied, complex, and fundamental, salt is the most familiar condiment of all. Likely because there are few dishes that don’t utilize and benefit from it in some form. Salt also happens to be the only condiment that is, inherently, floaty by nature. Besides using it as a jumping-off point for recipes—a quick pickle, a salted peanut brittle, and a salt-encrusted fish—we built a glossary devoted to breaking down a few of its myriad varieties, asked chefs to divulge their favorites, and let it inspire a bit of wanderlust.
The Brooklyn-based photographer from Newcastle Upon Tyne, England trained as a graphic designer before getting behind the lens. He has published three books (Apt. 302, Death in a Good District and Garden), and his clients include Salvatore Ferragamo, Puma and Rebecca Minkoff. See his work at willandersonphotography.com.
Photographer Winona Barton-Ballentine uses her work to explore the idea of “home”. Her clients include Urban Outfitters, Wilder Quarterly, NYLON, and Dazed and Confused. When not making beautiful images, you can find her dancing, eating or singing alongside her parents in the Roadhouse Revival Band.
Roland Bello built Anthropologie’s iconic lifestyle catalog, redesigned Real Simple magazine, and spent fifteen years as creative director for a number of luxury goods brands before pursuing a photography career. Nowadays his clients include Target, Lilly Pulitzer, GQ, Travel + Leisure and Glamour. See his work at rolandbello.com
Photographer Grant Cornett divides his time between Fort Greene, Brooklyn and a lakeside home in upstate New York. He has shot for Esquire, The New Yorker, Gastronomica and Jack Spade, among others. You can get a glimpse of his life’s goings on at thelivest1.com. See his work at grantcornett.com.
After years spent as a graphic designer and art director, Joseph De Leo shifted his focus to photography. In the ten years since, his client roster has grown to include Martha Stewart Living, Food & Wine, People magazine and Food52. He was recently nominated for a James Beard Photography Award. See his work at jdeleophoto.com.
An accomplished prop stylist, and former Domino style editor, Kim Ficaro’s clients include Anthropologie, West Elm, Town & Country, and Bon Appetit. Besides styling, she also runs a consulting service for private residences. Next year Rizzoli will publish a book on interiors she co-authored. See her work at kimficaro.com
Partners in photography and life, Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers first met while students at the Parsons School of Design. Focused primarily on food, travel, interiors and portraits, the pair’s clients include Condé Nast Traveler, Ralph Lauren, Grey Goose and Steuben, and they’ve picked up a number of SPD awards. In their spare time, Andrea shoots and writes the blog hungryghostfoodandtravel.com, while Martin has teamed up with fellow lensman William Mebane (hyersandmebane. com) for a series of projects that will exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography this summer. See the couple’s work at gentlandhyers.com.
Gary Gold has run a full-service commercial photography studio in Albany, New York for more than thirty years, a job which has seen him photographing everything from patients receiving a new heart valve to POTUS visits to modern dance performances to a F1 Gran Prix.
Writer Diego Hadis writes about food, culture and style for Swallow, Vogue.com, and The New York Times, The Moment. He is the co-editor of the book Touchable Sound: A Collection of 7-Inch Records from the USA, and was the onetime keeper of the now-shuttered food blog luxuryeats.com.
A vintage collector since childhood, Crystal Hanehan now uses those pieces as inspiration for her own work (early German holiday figurines informed her spun cotton models). She has appeared on the Martha Stewart show twice (her husband proposed on one) and her clients include John Derian in New York, Arts and Science in Tokyo, and boutiques in England, France, Korea and Australia. See her work at vintagebycrystal.com
Born in Malmö, Sweden, Marcus Nilsson first moved to New York to attend culinary school. After working as a chef, he decided to pursue a degree in photography. Since 2006, when Nilsson first started combining his passions by making food his subject, his client list has grown to include Bon Appetit, Departures, New York, Travel + Leisure and The New York Times Magazine. When he’s not shooting the avid wine collector enjoys throwing dinner parties in his East Williamsburg digs. See his work at marcusnilsson.com.
Gather’s co-recipe editor Molly Shuster started off her career in publishing at Harper Collins before changing courses completely to attend the Institute of Culinary Education. Since earning her degree she has worked as a freelance food stylist and recipe developer, dividing her time between New York and Boston.
Mexico City-born, London- based Roberto Rubalcava has been steadily pursuing a career in photography since age 22. He has shot for i-D, Vogue, and Russian Harper’s Bazaar. His photographs have been featured at London’s Viktor Wynd Gallery, Paris’s Mycroft Gallery and in the festival of fashion photography in Cannes. See his work at robertorubalcava.com.
Gather’s co-recipe editor and food stylist entered the gastronomical world after selling her East Village bar and using the proceeds to attend culinary school. She has logged time in the kitchens of a number of the city’s most esteemed restaurants and, since shifting her focus to food styling and recipe development has held staff positions at Gourmet and Williams-Sonoma Taste. Her clients include Real Simple, Whole Living, The New York Times, and M.A.C cosmetics. See her work at maggieruggiero.com.
Canada-born, Brooklyn-based Theo Vamvounakis studied photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology before embarking on a career as a prop stylist. Her clients include American Express, Anthropologie, West Elm, Estée Lauder and Bon Appetit.
Writer Stephanie Wu covers travel, food and culture as an associate editor at Town & Country. She has also contributed to Health and Esquire, and is the co-founder of MochiMag.com, an online publication for young Asian-American women.
The Brooklyn-based band led by Nathan Martinez has a foot in folk and classic Americana, and is recognized for their soul-stirring lyrics and virtuosic rock meanderings. Their second album, Behold, This Dreamer!, is out in June.