If you follow the New York food scene even remotely, you’ve likely slobbered over Daniel Krieger’s photos many times before, even if you didn’t clock the name in the credit.

As Eater‘s chief photographer, he often gives NYC restaurant obsessives their first look inside the most anticipated new openings in town. Shooting for the New York Times, he provides the the visual complement to some of the Grey Lady’s most talked-about reviews, from the four-star Le Bernardin to the white-hot import Mission Chinese. And if you go to the websites of some of the city’s best restaurants, you just might see Krieger’s work there too, as chefs often choose his stunning images to represent the work they do in he kitchen.

Indeed, when we started sifting through the photographs that best represent this past year in NYC dining, it became clear that Krieger was right there, camera in hand, for just about every blockbuster story in food. When carrots suddenly became the sexiest new ingredient on the table, Krieger stepped up and snapped 2012’s most memorable carrot porn. And when out-of-town chefs like Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker and Danny Bowien arrived to build their empires, he composed iconic portraits that made them impossible to forget.

Since Krieger seared so many vivid images into our minds in 2012, we reached out to him to find out what he remembered as his best food photographs from the past 12 month. Here, he breaks down his 15 top picks in his own words, taking us inside the kitchen with Eric Ripert and up-close-and-personal with some of the year’s most eye-popping dishes.

Follow Daniel Krieger on Instagram/Twitter (@danielkrieger), and check out more of his food photography www.nycfoodphotographer.com.