Every semester, Chef assigns us a class project to create a portfolio of recipes we made during the semster, with photographs. The point is to end up with something tangible you can take with you on job interviews.

My first semester, I didn’t really know what I was doing in terms of cooking or photography. As the year went on, I got better at both — a lot better. I’m now entering my senior level cooking classes, and holding myself to very high photography standards.

I asked Chef if I could bring in a bounce board and cart to keep in the back closet in the fall. He was worried they might walk off and suggested I just bring in some inexpensive foam board and throw a table cloth on the ground outside, just beyond the delivery doors, for natural light. This isn’t really any different than how I take photos at home. Using a rolling cart, I bring everything out to the back porch where I have the best lighting options in the afternoons. I lay my apron over the hot tub {seriously} so the background is neutral and you don’t see the tub, and can roll the cart around to photograph the food from different angles. Here’s my set up:

And here’s my final shot – not bad considering I’m not using any professional equipment and only the lens that came with the Nikon D40 I use:

I’m looking forward to applying this at school in the fall. I’d really like to go beyond a 3-ring binder portfolio and actually create a published cookbook.