I met Andrew Scrivani through our mutual friends Gail Schoenberg and her husband/partner Rich Eldert. Gail has a marvelous way connecting interesting people to people. Part of the art of Public Relations is that genuine talent in recognizing this art.
Also at the table was Pichet Ong who is a world- renowned pastry chef.
We dined at the restaurant named the Orange Squirrel in New Jersey.
Andrew and I hit it off immediately and we discussed photography, light and food throughout our meal. We kept in touch after our repast- something that is often difficult with highly divergent schedules and work demands. It was almost a year until I saw Andrew again after trading some emails back and forth.
Andrew is also a freelance photographer for the New York Times.
My writing has progressed through the kindness of Joy E. Stocke, my editor at Wild River Review. Then, a fortuitous meeting took place a couple weeks ago. Andrew and I bumped into each other at a retail store out here in NJ. I asked him if he would entertain a conversation about the Times, my writing and the project that will follow (just below) named the Five Questions.
Andrew is a kind and generous, gentleman. He took me out to lunch in NYC to hash out some ideas, get to know each other- and share a meal at Schiller’s on the Lower East Side.
It was here that I asked him to participate in my project for Wild River Review/Wild Table. Without further delay, may I present Andrew Scrivani!
WRR: Where are you from?
I am a life long New Yorker. I grew up on the North Shore of Staten Island and have lived most of my adult life in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Some of my family goes back 3 generations on Staten Island, proudly before the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was built and the population increased five fold. The not-so-politically- correct moniker the bridge wore as I was growing up was “The Guinea Gang Plank”. The only place where there are more people of Italian descent per capita in the world is Italy.
WRR: Who taught you to cook? Mother? Father? Grandparents?
My main influence in the kitchen was my maternal great-grandmother. She was from Cefalu, Sicily and is the person I dedicated my blog to. In smaller roles were my maternal grandmother who taught me how to bake and my mother who I learned all of the basics from. A bit later on, when I ate vegetarian, my father’s younger brother taught me a bit about eating and cooking that way.
WRR: What are your earliest memories of food?
My first kitchen memory was a traumatic one. My grandmother was baking cookies for me because I was upset that my parents had left me and went on vacation when I was about 3. I climbed up to the counter and put my entire hand on a searing hot cookie sheet. I learned a few valuable lessons there, one, that hot cookie sheets are very, very dangerous…and two, that sympathy cookies had a very powerful effect on my recovery. It was then that I started to realize how food could affect mood and memory.
WRR: What do you have in your freezer right now?
Most notably, I have a large roll of pigskin that I plan to make a bresaola with and put in a big pot of my grandmother’s Sunday Sauce. I also have 3 bottles of 8 year-old Haitian Rhum Barbancourt Reserve Speciale that my friend David brings home for me whenever he visits his in-laws there.
WRR: Any cocktail ingredients in your fridge? Do you cure your own cherries?
I have do have some simple syrup and a jar of maraschino cherries that I cured for a photo shoot a little while ago.
When I was a kid my great-grandmother would grow fresh basil on the side of my grandfather’s house. In the spring, I would play in the yard with my brother and the air was warm and filled with the vibrant scent of the basil. It reminds me of my grandfather, who I was named after and was extremely close to. He died when I was 13 and I think about him a lot. That smell brings me right back to that house every time.
WRR: If you could be anywhere in the world at this very moment, where would that be and why?
In the South of France. I go there in my mind so often. I have such beautiful memories of Nice and Aix en Provence with my family. The light, the smells and the sea all got into my soul. I’ve been to so many enchanting places but it’s there that I wish I could snap my fingers and be there anytime I wanted.
WRR: Social media brought us together… (thank you!!!!) Do you use a Smart Phone? Twitter? (will need link) Facebook? (will need link) LinkedIN? Anything you want to say about the Real Time Internet and how it’s helped your career?
I am a tech junkie. I use a smartphone, a tablet, my laptop and anything else wired or unwired to communicate with people. I blog (makingsundaysauce.com), I am on Twitter (@andrewscrivani), on Facebook (Facebook.com/andrewscrivani), Instagram and to a smaller degree Linked In. I would have to say that social media has been a definitive game changer for photographers. Gone are the days where the only way you could get an editor’s attention was to send a post card or request a meeting. Now, through all of these outlets you can not only showcase your work but also make personal connections with the people who may want to hire you. They can see more than the work, they can see a bit more of your personality. I think it has helped me greatly because I am essentially a social person and like to get to know people. Social media has provided a gateway for more actual personal interaction. It has been a great icebreaker for me.
Thank you Andrew for your enlightening comments and powerful imagery. Cheers! wb