Ownership of a garment hanger company may be Bert Spitz’s profession, but food is his passion. He is a personal chef and regularly posts to his food blog Phoodographs and Finds (phoodographsandfinds.blogspot.com), which allows him to combine his intense interests in the culinary and photographic arts. Recent blog postings had Spitz waxing rhapsodic about his homemade potato salad made with dill pickle, a summer Broadway market and tasting expeditions he made out to an old-fashioned East Hampton ice cream/hamburger shop called Sip ‘n Soda and the Water Mill location of burrito joint Sabrosa Mexican Grill. But his love of restaurant culture, chefs and cooking date back to when he was growing up in Los Angeles back in 1955, when his parents would take the family to eat at the Piccadilly Restaurant, where the captain would allow the young Spitz to prepare the Caesar salad tableside. Fast forward to the early 1990s, when the Great Neck native decided to explore being a personal chef while still holding on to his regular weekday job. It quickly evolved into more than just preparing meals for paying clients.
“It started as a personal chef interest and I joined the USPCA (United States Personal Chef Association) in 1993 under my corporate name of BetsaPasta PCS. I cooked at clients’ homes and left them with proper freezing and thawing instructions,” he explained. “In one instance, a client asked me if she invited friends over, would I cook dinner for all of them and teach them how to prepare each dish? It turned out that I got busy doing small dinners for this client, her friends and others and the personal chef service then became a thing of the past. It was more fun to cook and give lessons.”
Spitz has been blogging since September 2010, with an estimated 95 percent of his entries centering on a Long Island destination. The personal writing style gibes well with his photographic eye and as an added bonus, he includes some of his many favorite recipes, including his flank steak Ragu recipe that helped him make it through the first round of the Gordon Ramsay show MasterChef.
“I know a lot about photography and photo composition. [For me], nice simple photos make a blog or book interesting, colorful and fun,” he said. “Check out the succulent entry from June. The pics are fabulous, if I do say so myself. I’ve had folks call me to thank me for letting them know about this short-term, summer Broadway market. Makes me feel like I’ve reached people and am spreading some cheer…not to mention good taste…pun intended.”
While newspaper reviews help plant the seed for where Spitz will be taking his palate, word-of-mouth from friends whose food tastes he respects are far more important. It also fits with Spitz’s desire to share the discoveries he’s made during his travels in the most glass half-full kind of way.
“Phoodographs is all about my food photos…and Finds is all about cool places to visit off the beaten path and more effective ways to navigate them for optimum enjoyment,” he said. I write nothing negative about any restaurant. It’s all about my own experience and if it’s good, I’ll tell people about the specific dishes I/we enjoyed.”
Visit www.phoodographsandfinds.blogspot.com to read Bert Spitz’s food blog.