If anyone claims the the title of food photographer, it should be Cedric Angeles. Fire-grilled Tuscan pig, pork rib roasts seasoned by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Thomas Keller’s hands have all been muses for his memorable shots. He can count Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Martha Stewart Living, and more on his client list. Yet, the man doesn’t consider himself a food photographer at all; instead, he calls himself a storyteller—of the visual sort, that is.

After studying photography at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Angeles’ hauled his portfolio to the New York City where he met with Jim Franco, then Travel & Leisure’s photo editor. The meeting went well enough, Franco called back and said he liked Angeles work, and nothing more. Until the Million Youth March in Harlem. Angeles stuck around in the city, shooting riveting portraits of those involved and bundling them into a little booklet. Once Franco flipped through it, he sent Angeles on his first feature assignment—photographing Georgia—and the rest is history.

Angeles’ subdued, yet striking images have set the visual tone and style for many magazine spreads, and we can see why editors can’t get enough. Food pops off the page and chefs are showen up-close-and-personal with Angeles behind the lens. He creates a sense of intimacy, though not one shrouded in shadow or moodiness—more often than not, his shots are exuberant and pulsing with energy.

For a man who doesn’t call himself a food photographer, he does a pretty damn good job of pretending to be one.

See more of Angeles’ work on his website, cedricangeles.com.