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in the kitchen with: william brinson

by Kristina Gill

I was first introduced to photographer William Brinson’s portfolio in the sneak peek of his and his wife Susan’s beautifully styled loft in New York. I particularly liked the painted wallpaper from the kitchen and their cute boxer! Since then, I’ve checked in on William’s work periodically via House of Brinson to see what he and Susan are cooking up. Given his love of food and refreshing photographic style, we couldn’t resist featuring one of his favorite cozy winter recipes for roasted acorn squash with apple chestnut stuffing. I find the colors, styling and use of light all quite Caravaggio-esque and very intriguing! These striking images make the food seem almost too beautiful to eat. — Kristina

About William: William is a still life and food photographer living in New York City with his wife, Susan, and boxer dog, Nero. He is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. William and Susan have a lifestyle blog, House of Brinson, which follows them through their everyday passions. William is a devout foodie, always thinking about the next meal. He enjoys photographing and cooking and collecting vintage kitchenware, specifically interesting kitchen knives.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Acorn Squash with Apple Chestnut Stuffing


  • 2 acorn squashes
  • 4 cups of 1/2-inch cubed, day-old sourdough or rustic bread
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 10–12 chestnuts roasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 green apple diced
  • 6 fresh sage leaves chopped
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 small diced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Split acorn squash in half vertically and deseed. Coat the inside cavities with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the squash face down on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.

3. You can prepare the chestnuts at the same time as the squash. Mark an “X” on the flat side of each chestnut with a sharp knife. Place the chestnuts on a baking sheet with the “X” facing up and add them to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool. After the chestnuts have cooled, peel them and give them a rough chop.

4. After removing chestnuts and acorn squash from the oven, lower temperature to 350 degrees.

5. In a pan, add the rest of the olive oil, diced onion and salt. Cook onions until slightly brown. Add the diced apple and cook until tender. Then add the brown sugar and mix until combined, being careful not to let the sugar burn. Add the chestnuts and heat through then add the vegetable stock and cook for 2 minutes until everything is nice and hot.

6. In a large bowl, combine your cooked mixture with the cubed bread. Mix gently until all the bread has absorbed the liquid. Generously salt the acorn squash then spoon the stuffing into the acorn squash halves. Return them to the oven for 20 minutes or until heated through and the tops are a bit crispy. Serve and enjoy.

Why William Chose This Recipe

I love roasting just about anything. It really brings that sense of fall into the atmosphere. At this time of year, comfort food is always on my mind. With all the varieties of squash in the winter months, it’s hard to choose which to try first. Squash is great for stuffing and they really don’t have much preparation. I also love this recipe because it’s the only time of year that you can buy fresh chestnuts in the market, and the combination with the squash works so well together. A winter squash, fresh-roasted chestnuts, apples and sage embody the fall to me. Enjoy!

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  • “Caravaggio-esque” indeed. Very sensual too. Love the photography.

    But I disagree on that it is too pretty to eat, I’ll totally eat that!

  • William’s photography is like receiving a letterpress invitation. His images are formally and classically beautiful, seductively mysterious (note the knife over the chestnuts, gleaming out of the shadows), and deeply layered with textures you long to touch and taste. They are cozy and comforting, with authenticity and a bit of nostalgia. It’s hard not to want to sit at any table he photographs.

  • I’ve had stuffing at the Brinsons’ and I can assure you
    that this recipe will be a crown pleaser. Unfortch, when you make
    it at home it probably won’t be as pretty as theirs.

  • The photos are so elegant and almost otherworldly – like
    some gorgeous Victorian ghost story. But the spookiness is knocked
    right back to a cozy hearth with those innocuously placed comfort
    items – a smiling tin cup, a a reassuring wooden box, a halved
    orange squash like an open heart. My appetite is piqued.

  • As I sit by the cold- cold sea, I relish the memories of your Grandmother’s cooking and clearly understand the talent of your reflection…..someday soon, please cook for me

  • How can stuffed squash be elevated to a dark, glowing, mysterious bundle of lushness? You did it Will with these photographs. Yum!

  • William is not only a talented photographer, but also a really great guy to hang out with and to learn from. His attention to detail is nothing but superb and every shot taken breathes magic.
    Susan and William are a dream team in my eyes.

  • Your skills in the kitchen are only outdone by your skills behind the camera. You have a very special gift. Your photos make this squash dish look so good we are going to try it for New Years dinner. Thank you.

  • This looks really amazing! I used chestnuts in a dish for
    the first time this Christmas – peeling them is no small feat!! I
    also really like the tip to roast the squash face down – I always
    do them face up, wonder why I never thought of doing it face down
    before. This definitely qualifies as comfort food : )

  • These images are gorgeous! Not only does the food look divine the visual presentation is very sexy! Well done Will and thank you D*S for giving us more of the Brinsons :)

  • I bookmarked this recipe when I first read this post and am in the process of trying it out as I type. Unfortunately, I just noticed that there are no instructions for when to add the sage. Please let me know! Thank you.

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