sonoma food photography | Canneti Roadhouse

Chef Francesco Torre | Canneti Roadhouse | Sonoma County Food Photographer

I recently had the privilege of photographing Chef Francesco Torre, owner and chef of Canneti Roadhouse in Forestville, Sonoma County, California. Chef Torre taught an excellent cooking class for Fresh Starts Chef Events, called A Taste of Tuscany, to support Homeward Bound, a homeless shelter in Marin County providing food, shelter and job training for those in need.

Fresh Starts Chef Events | Marin County Food Photography

Chef Francesco Torre was executive chef at Fish in Sausalito before opening his own restaurant. He was also Executive Chef for Tra Vigne Restaurant in Saint Helena, Napa Valley, and Verace Restaurant in Long Island, New York. Chef Torre presented such a fun and engaging class, sharing many great stories of how he became interested in cooking from the time he was a young boy, watching his grandmother cook in Italy. It’s always nice to both laugh and learn over delicious food!

Chef Franceso Torre Canneti Roadhouse

The menu of the evening consisted of a four-course tuscan meal, beginning with Ricotta and Mascarpone Dip with Chives and Rosemary Crisps (which was one of those dips that I would gladly lick off the plate if no one was looking)!

Chef Francesco Torre

The crisp was followed by Potato and Chestnut Gnocchi with Pancetta, Porcini Mushrooms and Pecorino Cheese — I loved the savoury flavour of the pancetta and mushrooms — so good!

Gnocchi with Pancetta and Porcini Mushrooms | Neely Wang Photography

Handmade Gnocchi | Neely Wang Photography

The main course was Crispy Skin Rainbow Trout, Black Rice with Butternut Squash and Chickpea Crepes.

Canneti Roadhouse | Neely Wang Sonoma County Food Photography

My fish was cooked perfectly with a lightly crusted skin (my favorite part), and the sweet butternut squash made the perfect accompaniment to the fish.

Canneti Roadhouse | Neely Wang Food Photography

Wine expert, Ziggy the Wine Gal, joined Chef Torre in presenting the wine pairings for the evening, which were generously donated by Benziger Family Winery. I’ve taken a tour at Benziger Winery before and highly recommend it if you’re ever in Sonoma.

Ziggy the Wine Gal and Chef Francesco Torre | Neely Wang Photography

Benziger Wines | Neely Wang Food Photography

For dessert, the culinary students made a delicious Homemade Chocolate Mousse Cup with Sugar Crisp Cookie.

Fresh Starts Chef Events | Neely Wang Food Photography

One of my favorite parts of these events is sneaking into the kitchen and catching the action as the other chefs and culinary students prepare and plate the meals for service. There is such an exciting energy in the kitchen that I just love.

Marin County Food Photography | Neely Wang

Fresh Starts Culinary Academy | Neely Wang Food Photography

I look forward to the next chef event later in February with Marvin Blandon of the Novato Fire Department, who was named California’s Best Firehouse Chef. I’ve heard that some of the best chefs are firefighters — I’ll be sure to fill you in next month!


  1. What a fun event, Neely! I think I could have been content feasting on the Ricotta and Mascarpone Dip with Chives and Rosemary Crisps the entire afternoon. :) Indoor photography can be so challenging. I’m curious, did you use an external flash in any of these images?

    • Yes, it was really fun and that dip was simply delicious! I totally agree that indoor photography can be difficult, especially when it is in the evening and the lights are dimmed. In this venue, the lighting above the chefs is very “yellow,” so I do try to adjust the temperature a bit in post, especially for skin tone and food. I did not use an external flash and rarely do — I just don’t like the look of flash and end up raising my ISO instead. Sometimes I use some noise reduction in Lightroom if my ISO is too high. I rather get the shot and have a bit of noise than miss the shot or get motion blur. I know some people love flash and create really great images with flash, but I tend to avoid flash. Hope that helps!

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