Zenfolio | Ray Toves Photography | About


"There's chicken in the fridge."


As soon as I could read I remember getting pages long letters from my Mom or Dad, left on the kitchen countertop, telling me, in great detail, what and how to cook our family's  dinner that evening.  I was the oldest of eight kids (still am) and with that many mouths to feed both of my parents had to work; both also had long commutes and wouldn't get home until well after we kids had already returned home from school.  At first I resented it but eventually grew to enjoy cooking.  I understood the importance of it for my family but I also enjoyed the sense of accomplishment when my family liked what I cooked.


By the time I was in my early teens the notes would be very short; something like "there's chicken in the fridge".


My love of cooking took an even stronger turn when I got into gardening, also at a young age.  There is something magical about growing something then being able to cook and eat it.


Fast forward to today, past the "illegal" kitchen in my dorm room at the U.S. Naval Academy, past the sometimes hilarious first attempts cooking ingredients I was unfamiliar with; past the Sunday brunches and mid-week dinner parties; past making the decision to leave a career in tech marketing and attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York; past participating in a "once in a lifetime opportunity" assisting a guest chef at the James Beard House; past cooking in high-end restaurants in Park City (UT), Hyde Park (NY), and St. Simons Island (GA); past opening two fast-casual restaurants in Jacksonville (FL), I now live in Sarasota (FL) working as a professional food photographer and food business entrepreneur.


A chef and a photographer are really not that different. They both work behind the scenes using raw ingredients to create something memorable.


December 2014 I decided to combine my two passions, cooking and photography, and start a photography business focusing on food. I am a classically trained chef but a self-taught photographer.  In January 2015 I started a small food company making sauces, beverages and condiments that I've made for myself and family and friends for years; it's still a work in progress.


January 2016 I started an Instagram feed (@whatscookingat_rays) for my photography business.  You will see photos from my website and many more.  Since starting this website and my Instagram feed I have received numerous requests for recipes so I decided in Sept. 2016 to create a blog to share the detailed recipes for my food photographs; to make it easy for those interested to download the recipes at their convenience.  it will take some time but I intend to post all the recipes for the food you see in my photos.  My food blog is www.whatscookingatrays.com; you can see a link to it in the top border of this website.


Thank you once again for your interest in my work!


Ray Toves