Chef Benjamin Brignola - A Triple Threat

                                                                         

It's not every day that we meet someone who is a Professional Photographer, a Personal Trainer, and just happens to dabble in cooking as a trained Professional Chef.

Benjamin Brignola has been able to effectively marry his professional skills together into a successful business that services everyone from your average Joe (or Jane), to the Professional Athlete.

He's got a pretty impressive social media footprint, so you can definitely follow him on any of his accounts here:

Twitter: @Foodie_Photog

Instagram: @Foodie_Photog

Instagram:  @TheUniquePhysique

Facebook:  /FoodiePhotog

Facebook:  /Ben.Brignola

Flickr:  Foodie_Photog

Website:  www.benjaminbrignolaphotography.com

Although his primary focus these days is in Fitness Photography, with such a diverse professional background, we just HAD to learn more about Chef Benjamin Brignola and introduce him to all of you.

EC: Hi Benjamin!  We're so excited to learn more about you. Let's start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself.

BB: My name is Benjamin Brignola, I am 38 yrs old, I grew up in Easton PA, Moved to San Francisco in 2010 then moved to Dallas in 2013. I am a Professional Chef.  I have been cooking for close to 20 years. I'm a Professional Freelance Fitness Photographer, a Certified Personal Trainer and I'm also a Managing Director with IDLife 

EC:  You have a very unique combination of skills in fitness, cooking and photography. Tell us how you were able to successfully marry your skills in your current professional career. 

BB: While I was in Culinary School, I started working as a Personal Trainer. Throughout the years I always kept my fitness training up to date. I would use my knowledge as a Chef to help my clients understand healthy cooking. Photography came into play about 6 years ago as a hobby. I grew up in a family where we would develop film on our basement. My Father, Dominic Brignola Jr. did Photography on the side as well. When I moved to Dallas, I decided I wanted to do this full time but as I found out, things do take time and I still cook for private clients. 

EC: Why did you initially pursue a career as a Chef? 

BB: I started young, cooking at home with my family. When I graduated from High School, I started bartending and cooking at a bar in Easton. When I went to college I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I worked in restaurants while in college for extra money. I loved cooking and the feeling of family while on the line, so I decided to get my Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Management Degree from Penn State and then ultimately go to The Art Institute of Philadelphia for my Associates in Culinary Arts. 

EC: Whats the reason you pivoted and focused on Photography and/or Personal Training instead?

BB: I decided to move my focus to photography because I just needed a break from the restaurant life. I love working with people and I found I was pretty good at photography. 

EC: What foods will you absolutely not eat?

BB: There are some Asian delicacies I wouldn’t eat. They eat some crazy things. 

                                                                         Photo Credit:  Benjamin Brignola

EC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

BB: Well,  I hope I’m married but only God know’s that. Career wise, I will be one of the top photographers in the country for Fitness. I will also be on air teaching healthy cooking. 10 years, I will almost be 50 years old. Oh wow that’s crazy to think about. Have a family. 

EC: What is your favorite cheat meal? 

BB: Hmm My favorite meal is PBJ. Natural PB or Almond Butter, fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries topped with raw honey on Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  And I love Breakfast foods. Pancakes with Coconut oil and agave blueberry syrup. 

EC:  What is one of your proudest achievements as a Chef?

BB: I auditioned for Hells Kitchen. Made it to the second round of auditions. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough drama in my life for TV. I also was told in my interview that I was the only one in the casting class who answered all the food related questions correctly. At least I know I was smarter than the one who won. 

EC: What is one of your proudest achievements as a Photographer?

BB: Getting the cover of Smoke Magazine. The cover was of Race Car Legend Mario Andretti.

EC: If you could meet anyone in history, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

BB: My Grandfather Brignola.  He was a brilliant inventor with a 7th grade education but as he got older, he got Alzheimer's and I was only 6 years old. So I never really had time to spend with him getting to know him.  I would ask him all about his life. 

EC: f you could describe your life with one song. What song would it be and why? 

BB:  Don’t Stop Believing by Journey.  I would say this song, because my life hasn’t been easy, yet I have never lost hope and faith. 

EC: Why did you decide to choose a career in physical fitness?

BB: I love working with people, seeing them grow, find confidence and excel in life. 

EC: What restaurant are you most excited to dine at? 

BB: That’s a tough question. I would say Belotti Ristorante e Bottega because Chef Michelle Belotti is an amazing young Chef who showcases true Italian ingredients which shine on their own. His food is amazing. 

EC: What is one thing on your bucket list?

BB: Tour Europe for a year trying all of the amazing restaurants. 

EC: What is your go-­to beverage of choice when you are at a bar?

BB: Vodka and fresh grapefruit because it’s the only way I can Drink vodka. 

EC: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not cooking,working out, or at a shoot?

BB: I love movies, spending time with my family, serving at my church and growing my IDLife business. 

EC: What advice would you give anyone that is looking to pursue a career as a chef, a personal trainer, or a photographer?

BB: For a Chef­, take the money you will spend on Culinary school and go over to Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc. and stage at some of the best restaurants. For a trainer,­ learn as much as you can. Use your common sense with working with clients. For photography­, be original, be unique.