Yossy Arefi uses nature as her baking guide year-round.
In her cookbook, Sweeter off the Vine (Ten Speed Press) and her award-winning food blog, Apt. 2B Baking Co., the photographer, stylist, and food blogger demonstrates how to utilize the freshest ingredients available. Here, we chat with Yossy, who formerly worked as the baker and cake decorator at New York City’s Alice’s Tea Cup on the Upper East Side, about her passions for baking and photography and how she combined the two with her blog.
Has it always been important to you to document the food you make?
Yossi Arefi: I’ve always had an interest in photography. It was something I had done as a hobby since high school when growing up in Seattle, Washington. Before I moved to New York City in 2007, I didn’t know food photography and food styling could be a job, or that it was an industry I could get into. When blogging became popular, I realized I could combine my love for photography and my love for baking. Towards the end of my time working in the restaurant industry in 2010, I started my blog Apt. 2B Baking Co., and began getting offers for photography or recipe-related freelance work. That allowed me to be able to leave the restaurant in 2012, and switch gears into a different career path.
How does taking pictures of food differ from photographing other subjects for you?
YA: For me, still life and food are very calming to photograph because I can take my time to adjust to the light and find the perfect angle. When I am shooting moving subjects or people, those perfect moments happen quickly and are gone in a flash. With food, I have time to stop, think, and conceptualize—unless it’s something time sensitive like ice cream. Then I have to be ready to go as soon as it’s scooped!
What is your favorite spring ingredient to bake with?
YA: Rhubarb. It has a naturally tart flavor that is really tasty with vanilla, ginger, and all kinds of citrus flavors.