In Memoriam: Robert Parente
This week we joined South Florida in saying goodbye to Robert Parente: our dear friend, edible South Florida staff photographer and ambassador extraordinaire, and all-around good guy. His edible bio called him an "award-winning photographer, communications consultant, fine home cook." Sometimes we threw in "connoisseur of soup" or fried chicken guru, but he pretty much liked any good food or drink, whether a backyard mango, a crusty loaf of bread, a fine Amarone. No one knew South Florida better – its back roads, buildings and all their incarnations, holes-in-the-walls where you could always get a good, cheap pan con lechon. And no one loved it more, or cared so much about making South Florida's present and future better.
One of the most memorable photo shoots was our summer 2010 mango issue with the coverline "How Do You Eat a Mango?" South Floridians know the answer – in the bathtub – so top mango expert Dr. Richard Campbell demonstrated this technique for us.
Over the past seven years, Robert snapped all sorts of subjects for us: dim sum and desserts, tropical fruits and farms, food trucks and festivals. But it was the people behind the foods – the beekeepers, cookie bakers, jerky dryers, ice cream makers, spirit distillers, coffee roasters, gazpacho gurus, picklers and preservers – he captured so memorably in the pages of edible South Florida. His kind, gentle approach put these artisans at ease. Some gave up lucrative careers to pursue their passion. Robert's portraits make you believe in them and their spirit.
We deeply miss his art, his tireless cheerleading and his wonderful sense of humor. A scholarship fund for film students has been set up in his name here.
Here are some shots of, and by, Robert.