Food, Glorious Food

I recently had the opportunity to photograph a ‘pop-up’ restaurant that was part of a culture experience at one of the local galleries.  My job for the evening was to document the event, capturing images of the guest, the exhibition, a dance performance and of course the food.  

While the rest of the event was kind of my thing – people in a dark room with some music and some lights – I’ve not done much food photography before, especially in a busy kitchen where there is no time for anything to be staged and you have to use a very shallow depth of field and editing to hide a world of sins.  Not food sins, but photography sins – distractions in the background, etc.  The food was actually awesome and if you are ever asked to photograph a restaurant kitchen, just say yes.

The photos below taken while trying not to get in the way of either of the chefs or the waiting staff during a busy service.  It also wasn’t a proper kitchen, but rather a domestic one so it was cluttered to say the least.

The menu was a tasting menu, and this was the first course.  It was chicken with chicken skin and I’m not sure what else.  I did taste the chicken skin however and wow, tasted better than anything I’ve ever had from a chicken before.

This was a pastrami bagel with kimchi.  Was very nice too.  Not a combination I would have thought of before, but it worked really well.  Next up we have mackerel and some hot blow-torch action.  You can just about see all the clutter on the shelves behind – this area is normally used to make neon lighting, i.e. it’s a workshop not a kitchen.  Well, actually it was a kitchen, but in a workshop.  Long story.

This is the main course.  It was an Asian style pork loin, with crispy noodles and Pak Choi.  I tried the pork and it was sweet, spicy and very tender.  Actually I might have had more than one bit of this as there was loads of food left at the end and we were told to dig in.  So I did.  πŸ™‚

This is orange parfait, and the first of two desert courses.  it was served with an orange jus, caramelised oranges, cinder toffee and an orange sherbet which had a ‘bit of a kick’.  Like eating 10,000 oranges in one mouthful.  Nice though.  The cinder toffee was a late edition to the second service as some of the dishes evolved over the evening.

And finally we have a coffee praline mousse with a chocolate dome.  This along with the mackerel were the only dishes I didn’t try.  I just forgot about the mackerel, but I really dislike coffee so no matter how good the rest of the menu was I wasn’t tempted.  The coffee lovers said it was great though, so I’ll take their word for it and every plate came back empty.

As a photography experience it was great, and the food was only a small part of it, we had the live event too.  All in all a nice bunch of people to work with and refreshingly not a single bit of political correctness anywhere.  I’d forgotten how much fun life outside the corporate world can be.  

If you’ve not done any food photos before I’d give it a go.  it doesn’t have to be in a professional kitchen, just photograph the various phases of Sunday lunch, or baking a cake.  Use natural light as that helps with the colours (and kitchens often have lots of windows so it’s difficult to balance this with flash).  Next Foto Mission, food?

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8 Comments
  1. That’s made me hungry!

  2. Great set there Shaun, The challenge of spotting the naturally occurring photo opportunities and working to capture them during a dynamic, busy, event are part of the fun for me. Thanks for sharing

  3. Great set of images Shaun ! And they all look very tasty πŸ˜‹

  4. Very tasty altogether – thanks Shaun!

  5. fantastic Shaun, always take an opportunity πŸ™‚ one of the reasons I took the volunteer photographer role at my local NT – gives you so many opportunities you may not get

    • It was both the promise of food, and the cold, hard cash that did it… πŸ˜‰

  6. Crackin’ job there and the right approach – go shallow focus and work your butt off.

  7. Really liked the photos. May need to go and cook something….

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