Discover the Hands Behind Nik Sharma’s Food Photography

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Nik Sharma, a molecular biologist-turned-food photographer, had dreamed of becoming a chef since he was a child. But his mother warned him of a life spent “in a cold room, peeling onions.”

Still, the 35-year-old Indian immigrant who now calls Oakland home, saw things differently. Consumed by the creativity and art of cooking, in 2011 he began to photograph culinary inspirations he created in his kitchen.

From masala chai gingersnaps to tandoori chicken melts, his novel recipes often fuse Indian and Western cuisine, and the arresting images he renders of his creations usually include his own hands.

"When I first started, there was no one of color out there in food photography, at least who I knew of," Sharma told KQED Arts. "We really never see the people behind the stoves, cooking, cutting vegetables, and putting things together for us, who come from every walk of life. I hope that my work brings them into to focus."

Sharma has captured a passionate foodie audience with his blog “A Brown Table,” fueled by his more than 27,000 followers on Instagram. In 2015, he was a Saveur Best Food Photography Finalist, and also recognized by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for Best Photo-based Culinary Blog. - Kelly Whalen