Danish photographer Anders Schønnemann captures beautiful photos of food around the globe (with am emphasis on the Nordics) and has worked with brands like West Elm and Mandarin Oriental to present us with appetizing lifestyle photos. Over the years he’s traveled far and wide for work and pleasure, sampling some of the best restaurants, so I had to ask him which place he is fondest of when it comes to dining. Here’s where he likes to travel for food.
Destination: New York
What flavors/spices/textures define the cuisine of this place?
Anders Schønnemann: What I really like about New York is the diversity in flavors rather than just one flavor or texture. New York to me has such a nice variety of cuisines. I could have picked a place like Morocco or Cape Town where they have more specific types of food but I like how New York has cuisines from all over the world in a melting pot. I usually go for work so I mostly stay in Manhattan, but love to explore Brooklyn and Queens. I recently discovered Lilia where they make amazing handmade pasta and it tastes as good in Italy. One of the things I realized is that in order to survive in New York as a restaurant is that you just really need to make amazing food. I like going to high-end restaurants but I think a lot of mid-level and farm to table restaurants. They can be as satisfying as going to an Eleven Madison.
What’s a can’t-miss dish in New York? What’s in it?
I always go to Via Carota and have their cacio e pepe, a simple pasta dish made with pecorino and pepper. I’ve been going since the place opened and it’s not something fancy or high-end but it’s really well-made by people who really care about food.
Where do you like to go to eat and why?
Well clearly, Via Carota is one of my favorites. They change the menu quite often but they have one olive dish in which they deep fry the olives and serve them with a salad sprinkled with grated parmesan. I love that dish. They also have amazing seasonal dishes there, like asparagus with poached eggs. For me, things don’t need to be complicated. Through my job I travel all the time and get to eat amazing food. I’ve been to Noma a few times to photograph and obviously the place is mind-blowing, with a level skill I have the deepest respect for. On the other hand, I think it’s amazing to make dishes out of three to four ingredients. I also can’t afford to eat at high-end restaurants my entire life [laughs]. I like the contrast.
I really enjoy Estela a lot as well. It’s not a new kid on the block but I think that they’re always doing really great stuff there and I like that they invite new chefs into the kitchen. That’s one place I always go to back to.
Another place I adore is Cosme, the interiors are so beautiful. I like that the chef is a woman and I used to go to her place in Mexico City. It might be in my head but the food has this female touch that I really like. It’s some of the best food I’ve had in a very long time, the waiters are friendly and make you feel special. I felt really well taken care of.
I also love the corn on the cob at Café Habana. I like going there late for a margarita and eating something there, the crowd is always really good.
Have you brought any flavors/dishes back with you and incorporated them into your own recipes? If so, which ones?
At Estela they make this summer squash where they slice it very thin while it’s raw and then douse the slices in herbs and a vinaigrette of honey and lime. It’s super beautiful and fresh. That’s something I made back home — so simple and the yellow summer squash looks beautiful.
What’s your favorite food memory of this New York?
I’ve had so many great food experiences but if I had to select one specific dinner that stands out it would be the one I had with my lovely wife at Chef Ronny Emborg’s restaurant Atera. It has only 18 seatings in an open kitchen shaped like a horseshoe which makes the experience very intimate. The food, the service, and the wine made this a very memorable dinner.