The 2010 CHOW 13

The 2010 CHOW 13
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ILLUSTRATION ZOHAR LAZAR

CHRISTOPHER HIRSHEIMER

Food editor and photographer, Canal House

For merging the cookbook with the magazine. When Christopher Hirsheimer helped start Saveur magazine in 1996, food photography was all about making things look perfect. Hirsheimer—a former chef—took photos for the magazine, ditching the tweezers and glue and using natural light. Crumbs, spills—things formerly considered flaws—were left alone. "I'd start eating the food and put the fork back and take a picture," she remembers. Now, the messy look is status quo. Hirsheimer also took the photographs for important cookbooks, including Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis's The Gift of Southern Cooking and Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday.

She's innovating again with her newest venture, Canal House. Convinced people were intimidated by 200-page cookbooks, Hirsheimer and collaborator Melissa Hamilton started this quarterly, subscription-based series focused on one season at a time. Not really a cookbook, not really a magazine, Canal House Cooking is sort of a handbook for how you should live your life for the next three months, with entirely attainable, beautiful recipes all written in a smart, down-to-earth voice.

What's one of your favorite pictures you've ever taken?
I took a picture in Sicily once. It was this beautiful gelato. The thing is, nobody would have wanted to take this picture, because it was dripping off the sides. When I first started food styling, they wanted to stop everything and make it look like a woman who's very made up with perfect hair. But it's not as sensual. I always think that food—you get it to a point where it's just about to go downhill. That's very interesting. Catching the thing at its moment.

What's a typical day like for you?
Beautiful, because I'm no longer commuting into the city. I pull on the clothes lying by the side of the bed, put a leash on my little doggy, grab a cup of coffee, and drive down the beautiful road to the studio. It's an old warehouse building on the second floor with French doors that look out over the canal. We're either shooting something or writing or designing. We cook lunch for each other every day. In the winter we build a fire. [Founding Saveur editor] Colman Andrews makes us music mixes, and we listen to them all day. On our website, you can go and get what we've been listening to.

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