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Huge Galdones is a Chicago-based food and lifestyle photographer with such notable clients as Top Chef Stephanie Izard, Tony Mantuano and Rick Bayless. But it’s the career that almost wasn’t. While earning a PhD in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Huge found himself becoming increasingly interested in photography and cooking, constantly snapping food photos with his iPhone. After buying a “decent” camera, he made the leap to his true passion—and never looked back. Today, national clients keep him traveling and capturing events like Aspen Food & Wine Festival and Cochon555 Tour, as well as the Four Seasons Hotel Brand and Fiji Water. When Huge isn’t working, he is home cooking with his wife Rachel and two kids, Callan and Nora.


the power of garnish

It’s always great having fresh herbs handy. Whether chopped up or de-stemmed, a little color can go a long way. I also like the use of non-vegetable garnishes (croutons for instance) that may not contribute to the color, but rather elevate the dish's texture.

offsetting color

offsetting the color

If you’re creating your own plate to shoot, choose colors that offset other colors. If you have a yellow, find a green. If you have a green, find a red. It’s all about balance.

the right light

the right light

Try a light that’s behind the subject. Most think you have to have a light on your subject, but I like to use indirect light. When using the flash, you lose a lot of information and dimension.

Q & A

which Mariano’s do you shop?

I shop Mariano's Ravenswood.

when did you start getting into photography?

When I bought my first ‘semi-professional’ SLR camera in 2007, I was bitten by the photo bug and haven’t looked back.

what is it about your photography that attracts clients?

With such a diverse client base, it’s a little hard to answer this. But I like to think that my workflow and efficiency speak for themselves. I try to get what I (and they) need without belaboring it. I don’t usually spend hours shooting the same dish or person.

who is someone you look up to in the photography world?

There are so many talented photographers who inspire me. Penny De Los Santos comes to mind; I’m envious of her job and admire how she sees and captures the world of food through her lens.

do you have a favorite food to photograph?

I certainly don’t discriminate. I enjoy making images of foods that are small (caviar, for instance) but through macro photography, transform them into more grandiose subjects.

what elements are key to a perfect shot, or perfect plate?

I think a lot goes into making a shot look, dare I say “perfect.” Visually, I think it’s all about balance…colors, quantities, shapes/geometries, lighting, etc. But at the end of the day, no matter how the food may look, I feel a dish has to taste good. Period.

you cover a lot of events. Which one is at the top of your list?

The FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen is, in my eye, THE food event. I’ve been lucky enough to document it for several years now and love every minute of it.

outside of food, what other subject(s) do you like to shoot?

I’m equally passionate about photographing people and the stories that underlie the dishes. I feel there are so many stories to tell beyond the dish itself.

why do you shop Mariano’s?

Mariano's is a one-stop shop for everything my family and I need. It’s close, convenient and of higher quality. Not to mention, the International Food Aisle is pretty awesome.

what are a couple quick things you typically grab from Mariano’s?

Lots of seafood and raw protein from the butcher’s case. Dairy products for the kids… and the fried chicken!

do you, like so many on Pinterest FB and Instagram, ever find yourself snapping shots of restaurant foods?

100% guilty! That’s pretty much how I started doing what I do. If something catches my eye visually or impresses me flavor-wise, you will likely find me shooting (and Instagramming) it with my iPhone in hand.

Kiki Luthringshausen

meet your host

Kiki Luthringshausen is a reformed interior designer of 15 years who fell into her dream job in 2010 as an Epicurean Entertainer. Prior to her big career change, Kiki was a lifestyle expert and writer for local publications and a contributor for live news segments for local affiliates ABC, NBC, WGN and CBS. She is now the official ambassador of Mariano’s and can be seen hosting culinary events around town. As a freelance food and lifestyle writer, she’s also the author behind the popular food blog Beauty and Her Feast. Entrenched in the food industry, Kiki frequents the city’s hottest restaurants while clinking glasses with the most sought after chefs. It’s why she’s the perfect host for Mariano’s Tastemaker series.

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