Behind the Scenes: Photographing the Fire Smoke & Flavor Tour

Behind the Scenes, Fire Smoke & Flavor, Meet, Williams-Sonoma Behind the Scenes

I’ve worked for Williams-Sonoma for 14 years and I have to say the Fire Smoke & Flavor tour was one of the most memorable projects I’ve ever been part of. I met so many amazing people, ate so much great barbecue, saw such beautiful things and learned so much, all while working with a wonderfully talented crew.


Here are some of my favorite moments from the tour:


Welcome to Texas!
First stop: Lamberts, Austin
We told Lamberts we were coming with a camera crew about 30 minutes before we showed up. We came, we saw, we ate, we photographed. Lamberts welcomed us with open arms – it was an amazing kickoff to the tour. 
Williams-Sonoma’s own Jean Armstrong, Chris Sullivan and Dane Solomon enjoy a cold beer with Michael Voltaggio.
Second stop: Smitty’s Market, Lockhart, Texas

Every meal we had on the tour was delicious and fantastic, but Smitty’s presentation of food was my favorite – meat served simply in butcher paper, partnered with a few simple sides. Nothing else needed here: everything was simply delicious and simply beautiful, just as we received it.

This is the W-S crew with pitmaster John Fullilove and his mother, Nina Schmidt, from Smitty’s. We made so many amazing friends along the way! John and Nina showed us real Texas charm from the minute we walked in until the minute we left.
I was especially touched when Nina shared with me her personal, cherished family photos.
Visually, Smitty’s was amazing. The smoke hovering in the rafters, the soot on the walls, the generations-old worn wood, the treasured heirlooms…it was an art director’s dream location!
You can’t build a set that looks like that. You can’t rent props that look like that. This is the real deal.
Breakfast of champions. This was, hands down, the best breakfast I had on the shoot. We started early at Danny Edwards Blvd BBQ in Kansas City, and as soon as I could I grabbed a plate of his famous burnt ends. Of course I shot it before I ate it! That’s what I do.
I’m not the only one who takes pictures of the food before eating it.
After we wrapped our shoots at Danny Edwards Blvd BBQ and Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City, we still had a few moments of sunshine, so the crew took advantage of the beautiful light and ran up a grassy hill to grab a few shots of the Kansas City skyline.
Photographer Quentin Bacon celebrated the day with a jeans-splitting jump before heading off to Memphis.
I’m still dreaming of the ribs at Rendezvous in Memphis.
The folks at Rendezvous welcomed us, taught us, fed us, inspired us. Wonderful.
On the road, we’d heard so much about Cozy Corner in Memphis, we couldn’t not go there. We called them about two hours before we rolled in with cameras. Owner Desiree Robinson welcomed us graciously and charmed all of us.
Last stop: Wilber’s Barbecuein Goldsboro, North Carolina

What we’ve got here is fire pit paparazzi.

Paparazzi waiting to see the pigs delivered by a local butcher.
The meat locker. The Voltaggio brothers were extremely good sports. I wanted Quentin to photograph them in the meat locker with Wilber’s hogs. I’m pretty sure this was the very last shot of the entire tour…and one of my favorites. THANK YOU BRYAN & MICHAEL! From the moment we landed until this last shot, you were true professionals and fantastic to work with. Thanks for a great tour and for your tireless hunger for barbecue!
Alex Beckstead, a documentary filmmaker who shot our videos, catches a rare moment to relax with Michael Voltaggio outside of Wilber’s Barbecue.
On the plane ride home, I created a little bit of homemade Fire Smoke & Flavor fashion. I’m hoping these are going to be all the rage at this summer’s barbecue parties.

About the author: As a member of Williams-Sonoma’s art department, Lynn Chamorro spends most of her days with a camera crew, looking at food. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and learned a love of cooking from her mom, a home-economics teacher, and a love of art from her dad, an architect. These two passions collided into her dream job. When’s she not on photo shoots she likes to test out new recipes on family and friends or enjoy a simple picnic outside.

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