Paulée Restaurant

To keep the art fresh, I’m always challenging myself to find interesting ways to make environmental portraits. Here, with sommelier Scott Minge, I was exploring the contrast between the shimmering glassware and his rugged good looks. Same with the food dish: the delicacy of the food is magnified by the rough textures of the wood beneath.Portrait of Paulee Restaurant sommelier, Scott Minge alongside chef Shawn Temple's inspired cauliflower dish.

Portland Food Adventures at Imperial Restaurant

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This is one of those evenings when the perks of being a food photographer are obvious. Chris Angelus, who runs Portland Food Adventures, asked John to photograph the most recent event at Imperial Restaurant. This was my first time with Portland Food Adventures and it was a fantastic time. The event is designed not only around the food (which was outstanding, of course), but about getting to know the Chef and the winemaker. Each of the 5 courses was paired with a Grochau Cellers wine. I had a fabulous time and it seemed to me that everyone in the room did as well. You can read the official recap of the evening here by writer Wendy Bumgardner.

I’ll be telling my foodie friends about what a great time I had. You can learn more about Portland Dining Adventures at their website.

17 food dishes in 3 days

Travel Portland sent us a fun assignment: shoot a whole bunch of plated food for the Portland Dining Month website. It was fun to meet some new people, see some old friends and check out what restaurants are planning for their special Dining Month menus. This project was a good test of my skill to make each photo unique and also capture the vibe of the restaurant. Projects like this remind me how unique and lively the restaurant community is in Portland.


Paulée Restaurant in Dundee

Paulee Restaurant Chef Daniel Mondok at work in the open kitchenA few weeks ago, John Valls photographed an opening event at the new Paulée Restaurant in Dundee where former Sel-Gris perfectionist Daniel Mondok has teamed with wine expert Brandon Tebb. The gorgeous interiors create a living stage for the diners to experience a world-class food and wine experience. Here’s a few photographs from the opening event.

New images: Oven and Shaker

Recently Oven and Shaker needed new images for their restaurant launch. I had the pleasure of working with Cathy Whims, who also owns Nostrana. Cathy and I share great synergy: her approach to food is a great fit with my style of photography. Shooting with her is a fantastically satisfying experience. Over several days we did portraits, food and interiors. These are a few of my favorites.

I’ve got three portfolios on my main website, and one of them is called “Dark”. It’s funny, that’s where many of my favorite images live. Sure I’ve got my sunny side, but often it’s the gritty, moody work that resonates with me. I think of few of these might migrate the the “Dark” section.

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Gregory Gourdet at Saucebox


This is Chef Gregory Gourdet at Saucebox. He is super professional, very mellow, and a lot of fun.  We had finished shooting a couple of dishes like this halibut when it came time for the portrait. He went off to check himself over, fluff the hairdo & on the insistence of his coworkers, toughen up his look by cutting off the sleeves of his uniform shirt!  I loved it, found it a great reminder that even when you’re at the top of your game you can still have a playful attitude.

Cheap Eats for Food & Wine: The Helvetia Tavern


A hamburger at the Helvetia Tavern is practically as big as your head. You’ve got to commit to get through the entire burger plus fries. It’s the massive burgers along with great beer that makes this quirky spot popular with locals and cyclists looking for a major refueling. Food and Wine Magazine was writing about chef’s favorite cheap eats, so they sent me out to illustrate the piece. And yeah, the burger was killer!