You read them here, now find out who the hell they are: We give you the diverse group of men and women who cover the local food and drink scene for you on SFoodie.
How many times have you vowed you would cast off your stifling cubicle life, so you could start that home Twinkie business or carve miniature artisan canoes? Yep, you had big ideas, and then you went back to the office because lunch was over. Well Albert Law is living your dream. Unhappy with the desk job he'd had for 15 years, he recently cast off the shackles of full-time employment to pursue his passion: photography. Over dishes of (phenomenal) chicken noodle pho at Turtle Tower, Albert told me more about his long and wind-y path.
Jesse: What was your desk job?
Albert: As soon as I graduated from college, I became an architect, but it didn't take long to realize it wasn't the work I had planned to do. All the big ideas I had in school came down to making little lines and marks on paper. Architecture was like any other desk job. Most of my classmates didn't stay with it longer than two years.
What were your first steps towards a new career?
This is a long story; are you sure you want to hear it? [laughs] Well, I used to work over in Ghirardelli Square, but every day I would walk all the way to Blue Bottle Coffee in the Ferry Building. It was a half-hour walk, but totally worth it for their amazing soy cappuccinos. Then about 18 months ago, DeLise Café opened near my workplace, and they had a soy cappuccino to rival Blue Bottle. It became my new favorite haunt, and I got to know the owners pretty well. I decided to intern with them for awhile, learning about baking and making ice cream.
How did it go?
It was great. I did it for three or four months, going to DeLise after work and staying really late. I picked up a lot of knowledge about the precision and care that goes into baking, even though I ultimately decided not to pursue a kitchen career. Around that time I started to really get into photography.
Tell me more about that.
Well I got a decent camera and was really starting to enjoy it, but my big break came last September, on my birthday. My fiancée had made reservations at Benu, and she also arranged a quick visit to the kitchen. When I got back there, I saw Corey Lee and realized it was time for my five-second elevator pitch: “Hi Corey, really big fan, I'm an aspiring photographer and I'd love to be able to spend a whole day in your kitchen taking pictures of everything.” A month later, I got an e-mail that I should come do it. I immediately spent $3,000 to upgrade my camera equipment. When opportunity knocks!