For my boyfriend Jesse’s birthday this year, he had a dinner party with fifteen friends. But it wasn’t any dinner party– it was a privately catered event with Luca and Bri from MasterChef! If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll know that Luca is the lovable Italian guy who won the whole thing, and Bri is the vegetarian chef who was one of the favorite runner-ups. The two of them stayed all night, dishing on the behind-the-scenes drama of the show and hanging out with all us. Pretty darn cool, and absolutely in keeping with Jesse’s foodie ways.
I flew in to New York to be a part of the celebrations, and of course I snapped lots of photos of the event. I also pitched in with decor, including these handwritten menus.
Our friends Jessica & Rob graciously hosted the event at their gorgeous Brooklyn loft, and Jessica wrote out this nice chalkboard menu too. Jesse got to wear Luca’s MasterChef apron from the show.
I got fresh flowers from Whole Foods and made sure were more wild and quirky than girly. I couldn’t resist the (out of season) white peonies though. I also hand-calligraphed name tags too. Can’t leave behind my wedding-photographer ways.
Prep work in the kitchen!
Mix and mingle!
Bri was responsible for the dessert– chocolate pot de creme. It was so cold outside that day that we just put them outside on the back patio to chill during the other courses.
Luca and Bri did a hands-on demonstration of how to make fresh pasta using this spiffy hand crank machine.
Jesse got to jump in and attempt some ravioli himself.
This is an analogy between waking up in the morning and stretching pasta.
Yifan was playing teacher’s pet and even found a way to throw PV=nRT into the conversation.
The many expressions of Jesse.
Course one! Butternut squash and amaretto ravioli.
And soon after, course two!
Spinach mascarpone ravioli.
The entree: Luca’s winning dish that crowned him MasterChef: his braised short ribs with a tamarind balsamic glaze, mushrooms, and parsnip puree. So delicious!
And finally, Bri’s dessert, the chocolate pot de creme, which was perfectly set thanks to nature’s refrigerator.
Chantilly cream fight!
A little “happy birthday’ serenade by Brad Go and Bri!
And that’s it! Time to clean up and tell more stories. Luca’s cookbook should be coming out soon, and he’s working on getting his own restaurant too. Bri is working as a pastry chef and also doing other private gigs via Hashtag Kitchen.
Heart to hearts between Luca and Jesse.
And finally, a photo of the whole crew! Thanks, Luca & Bri! Happy Birthday (again), Jesse!
Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco but often jetsetting around the world. Follow her on facebook for more photography and travel adventures.