Last week I had the opportunity to catch up with and shoot the second member of the Bytown Chefs Collective (BCC), Kyle Proulx, Head Chef at Lowertown Brewery.
I met up with Kyle at his new restaurant, Lowertown Brewery, in the uber-busy Byward Market in downtown Ottawa. Lowertown Brewery is the latest addition to the Ontario craft beer scene, which has really become a major part of Ottawa. Literally working around the corner from his friend and Bytown Chefs Collective partner Paul Dubeau (my first shoot in the series), Kyle’s restaurant and working style posed a stark contrast to Paul’s, which I think (and hope) help makes this series an interesting one.
In my first shoot at Stella, Paul’s kitchen was exactly what I imagined a restaurant kitchen to be – compact; efficient; hidden from view; and with the head chef at the centre of the action, calling orders and plating the dishes. Kyle’s kitchen however, was an enormous open concept; and set up so that Kyle faced the cook team, called out the orders, made finishing touches to the plates, and summoned the servers. Think of a quarterback at the line and you’ll get the gist.
Kyle has an intensity that I don’t see in very many people. Many people at my age and younger seem to take life for granted and demand the riches without working for it. Kyle does not appear to be that type of young professional. As we talked and walked through the Market, I learned a bit about his background and how he got to where he is today. I can only imagine that to succeed in the restaurant industry you have to have your game face on at all times. You have to be aware of what’s going on around you, and you have to find ways to set yourself apart, especially in a densely populated restaurant location such as the Market in Ottawa. With smart phones tucked into the front pockets of their aprons, Kyle and the other members of the BCC show just how important social media and engagement are to their businesses. Without missing a step, these guys can prepare a dish while simultaneously sharing posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Having said all that, Kyle has a great personality and a great gift for gab. He knows how to work hard, have fun, and entertain, and I look forward to seeing him in action with the Bytown Chefs Collective later this year. For now, here are two galleries from the shoot…
Beautiful shots! A nice insight into his life, and some lovely casual images too! 🙂
Thanks so much.
Oh wow .. Great shots! Kyle has an amazing smile ..
Thanks Julie, and yes, I agree about his smile. So natural.
Simply amazing portraits Shane.
Thanks Edith! I’m really having fun with this project.
Lots of great shots. The portraits are great and the contextual / environmental shots are even better.
Thanks so much! I’m really having fun with these guys. Next up is the butcher so that should be a really fun shoot.
Nice series. I like that you are showing both bw and color.
Thanks Luis, some images work better in colour, and some work better in b/w… and I like the variety. Glad you’re liking the series.
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I love the Bytown Market – now I have another place to check out the next time I visit! Great photos – thanks for sharing them!
Thanks for the kind words Fiona, and thanks for stopping by my blog. I took Industrial Relations and HR in university so I’ll be following your blog from now on 🙂
Hey, great shots you got there! I like your writing style. 🙂
Thank you very much! And thanks for stopping by. There are five more parts to the series, so stay tuned if you’re interested.
Sure I will..thanks for letting me know
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very cool, well done 🙂
Thank you so much.
Amazing portraits … I’d like to See more about (the change of ?) hierarchical relations in these places.
Thanks for the comment about the portraits. Would you mind clarifying the second part of your comment though?
When I was a student at university, I used to work in a kitchen myself. Even when looking back, the social structure of this kitchen (and later others I heard of) seemed hierarchical to a degree that they showed complete disrespect for some of the groups involved: dishwashers, unlearned cooks helping, women/waitresses. There was also a clear sense of rascism involved – with coloured people standing at the bottom of this system.
I am not saying that hierarchical work systems cannot be respectful or that there aren’t areas where hierarchical organization isn’t necessary – restaurant kitchens could be such a place.
That is the background of my curiosity: did things change in that special area of interest that you are documenting? Do we see the social structure of thise workplaces that you are portraiing? Do you want us to see it or should er concentrate in other aspects?
when I was a student at the University of Freiburg I used to work in a kitchen. Then and later professional kitchens seemed like THE place for experiencing old-style hierarchical workplace organization, disrespectful treatment of women (and younger people) and rascism (if you were coloured the place to be was dish-washing, nothing else). I was just asking myself, if thing changed in those workplaces, too? If Chefs are able to organize their cooking in a way that is more respectful to their co-workers?
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good job 🙂
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Congrats. on being Freshly Pressed…again!
Thanks! I’m obviously quite surprised about it, but I’ll take the temporary ego boost 🙂
Nice shots! Great work! 🙂
Thanks very much… and thanks for stopping by. If you’re interested, stay tuned because I’ve got five more parts to the series coming out over the next while.
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Your art is amazing! What got you interesting in shooting this type of art?
Thank you. It’s a passion of mine, and it’s important to shoot what you’re passionate about.
WOW! These are really great shots! I love the natural ones as well as the posing photography! Great job!
Thank you so, so much! I really appreciate that. My main goal was to make the chefs happy with the images, and I think I’ve managed to please them as well as others… so I’m over the moon.
you are absolutely amazing at shots. Keep up the work
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Great shots. Great read!
Thanks Cynthia, I’m glad you liked the post. I’ve got four left in the series so stay tuned if you’re interested.
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this guy so cute ,and the photo is pretty
Thank you, I’m sure he’ll appreciate your comment.
really appreciated one…
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Wonderful portraits, but also some fabulous sequencing here, Shane – really like the whole post as an entirety… Looking forward to seeing the follow-ups! 🙂 Kat
Hey Kat, always great to chat with you! Thanks for the ego boost too 😉 I’ll be hooking up with the next chef this week, so you’ll see a new post early next week.
Cool portraits! 🙂
The photographs look amazing! I really enjoyed reading about the chef and how he makes food and still stays on top of social media.
Latest Post: Took My Breath Away – Photography
Thanks Thays! I really appreciate the comment and thank you for stopping by my blog. Over the next little while I’ll be writing about four more chefs as part of this series, so please come back to see them.
I will for sure stop by. Hope you have a great week!
Thanks, and you as well.
Nice set of portraits—my favorite kinds, mostly candid. He has a great smile. Glad you caught it—much better than his stern look with his arms folded. That’s a little pet peeve of mine—seeing all these people posing for the camera, looking down at you with their arms folded with a smug look on their faces. Still, it’s a nice set. And thank you for stopping by and liking my Photo Challenge and leaving your nice comment. 🙂
Lovely images. I particularly like the write up and the black and white images.
Thank you for stopping by. The lighting in these restaurants is so low and varied so black and white work well. I’ve been thinking of writing a post on how I processed the dimly lit images.
Simply fantastic. Amazing shots.
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Loved the pics shows everything that goes in a kitchen
Cool & very interesting series!!!
Thank you very much. I’m having a lot of fun creating the series.