Randi Baird has just completed photographing her third cookbook, “Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Sheet Pan, or Skillet” with Ellie Krieger, PBS and former Food Network host, bestselling cookbook author, James Beard awardwinner, and nutritionist. “I’ve been following her for years,” Baird said of Krieger. “I have always loved her nutritional approach to food.” A mutual friend introduced Baird’s work to Krieger through Susie Middleton’s 2017 cookbook, “Simple Green Suppers.”
While making plans for the cookbook, Krieger, not the publisher, chose the photographer, and she and Baird hit it off. For one intense and thrilling week in New York City, Randi was deeply involved in helping plan the design of color schemes for the book. She worked closely with Krieger and a food and prop stylist to create the look of “Whole in One.”
“It was a different caliber than the other books I have worked on; it was really exciting,” Baird says. She said the process was amazing, producing beautiful, colorful, simple food.
“I also love her philosophy of ‘Usually, Sometimes, and Rarely,’ meaning ‘usually use this, sometimes use that, and rarely use this,’” Baird said. “Whole in One” features 125 recipes that are all made in one vessel — a pot, sheet pan, or skillet, so this book is for everyday cooks, busy working families who want simple, beautiful, and healthy food.
Baird’s career began right out of college when she worked as a Greenpeace photographer for eight years in San Francisco. Though it was a freelance position, they sent her on expeditions on their Rainbow Warrior ship that took her as far away as Tahiti. That experience is where Baird found how her photography can educate and promote social change; it has become one of the ways she likes to give back.
While living on the West Coast, she got together with her now husband, Philippe Jordi, who was actually part of her group of friends at Syracuse University, where she graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree. The couple moved to the Vineyard in 1995, and almost 25 years later, Baird’s creative dream continues.
Besides her most recent project, Baird is living a full and exciting life these days, shooting for local magazines like Edible Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, and Vineyard Style, and also shooting weddings, as well as professional and family portraits. She has also been on the board of Island Grown Initiative for the past 13 years, to which she attributes her food activism. Baird is a wife and a devoted mom of two mostly grown boys. She is passionate about the Island, the ocean, and the planet.
Her photography has always been filled with vibrant color, and this latest book is no exception. “Everything is edible; we ate everything we made,” Baird laughs.
Baird was able to bring her considerable skills to the table in helping to set the tone for “Whole in One.”
“Hachette, the publisher, commissioned RBP [Randi Baird Photography] to produce the cover. This allowed me to bring in my portraiture, lighting, and composition skills to create an atmosphere and environment to feature Ellie as a welcome invitation to the reader. I wanted the cover to represent Ellie’s easygoing personality, her accessible approach to cooking, and how she strikes a balance between healthy and delicious,” Baird explained.
What’s next for this creative dynamo?
“Well, my kids are out of the house now, so the world is my oyster, and I love collaboration and learning.”
This winter Randi will head to New Zealand with her family for the holidays, then she and her camera will head off for a few months exploring and soaking in more life on the coast of a new shore.
“Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Sheet Pan, or Skillet” is available at Bunch of Grapes bookstore and online.