Gjelina’s Moveable Feast of Photos (2008)
"I was always on the hunt for shots I thought would be interesting for the menu."
By Robert Schwan
“Robert Schwan is a Managing Partner, and the founding General Manager of Gjelina. While Roberts' many talents and interests have meant that he has reduced his time with us in the space, his presence is very much felt with every menu that hits the floor throughout the day. I am fortunate enough to benefit from his support, advice, his art work in my home, and his creation of bags and tee shirts at Gjusta Goods.”
— Shelley Armistead, Partner/Gjelina Group CEO
From the beginning in 2008, Gjelina always felt like an art project. Every detail, from the food to the architectural design, to every glass and fork that would be used was thoroughly vetted. One of those details was the look and feel of the menu. We were working with graphic artist David Irvin and he showed us paper from journals he had saved from his college days because he thought it would make a good background for the menu. We agreed.
The menu would change daily depending on the farmers market and seasonality, and the idea was that the photos on the menu would change as well. When the question arose as to where the photos would be sourced from, Fran knew I liked taking pictures and said, “Robert can take them,” and that was that.
At first the shots were primarily focused on our Venice neighborhood and the birth of Gjelina. With the menu changing twice daily, we needed a lot of pictures so everywhere I traveled in and out of the city and country, I was always on the hunt for shots I thought would be interesting for the menu. I was lucky to have a family that indulged the many stops along the way while I took pictures.
As time went on, we discovered many talented artists amongst the ranks of our staff. Their photos and photos of their artworks became included in the rotation.
I think of the menu photos as a ‘moveable feast’; a unique touch that contributes to who we are.