Meet Memphian no. 266 of 365, photographer, blogger and marathoner Justin Fox Burks. Here, he answers my questions about cooking, eating, his latest projects and the five things he can’t live without:
Name: Justin Fox Burks
Occupation: Professional Photographer/Sometime Blogger/Home Cooking Dreamer
Hometown: I was born in Greenwood, MS, but Memphis is my hometown.
Neighborhood: East Memphis
I’m working on: My wife and I are working on The Chubby Vegetarian cookbook for Thomas-Nelson publishing. It’ll be the print counterpart to the blog www.thechubbyvegetarian.com. We are super-excited about having a cookbook because we love to make good, healthy vegetarian food that everyone can enjoy.
The hardest part about running a marathon is: the first step. I run constantly, but it’s different when I’m training for an event. It changes the feel of every run. I run with energy and purpose for a deserving charity like St. Jude. This is my third year as a St. Jude Hero, and I look forward to that 26.2 all year long.
My favorite thing to photograph is: a delicious plate of food. I enjoy being able to see the love and work that went into each dish. I especially like being able to chat with Memphis’s talented chefs about the food they make and the food they dream of making next. Their creativity and passion inspire me so much.
The five things I couldn’t do without are: old friends, close family, good food, lots of dogs, and, well, thyme.
The last thing I cooked was: fideos with saffron-garlic broth and egg. I wish so much that I had written down that recipe. We both had second helpings — that’s when you know a dish is good.
The blog is: a great place to share ideas about unique ingredients and vegetarian food. We love hearing feedback from readers. I like to hear about someone making a recipe from the blog and really enjoying it. It’s cool to get an email from someone in Scotland telling me how much they enjoyed my chilaquiles.
The best place to be outside in Memphis is: on the Greenline or cruising the new bike lanes. I’m excited to see the city that I love moving forward with progressive civic projects. I’ve been a runner for about four years now, and I have seen my city begin to transform itself into a runner’s dream-come-true in that amount of time.
In the next five years, I hope: Memphis and Memphians prosper. Support local artists, businesses, farmers, restaurants, and record stores. Memphis is the people that you know. Support what they do.
It’s Friday night: it all centers around catching up over a good meal at home.
Most people don’t know that: my kitchen and my office are separated by about 9 steps. I’ll be editing yesterday’s photos and reducing a killer mushroom stock at the same time. (I’m pretty much always cooking.)
The secret to good food is balance: sweet, salty, spicy, acidic, and rich. Whenever I taste anything, my brain goes through this very checklist. I want to get a little of each sensation from a unique source.
I love Memphis because: it’s my home…pure and simple.