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. 🙂
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?Published in Member Blogs
That’s made me hungry!
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
Great set of images Shaun ! And they all look very tasty 😋
Very tasty altogether – thanks Shaun!
fantastic Shaun, always take an opportunity 🙂 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… 😉
Crackin’ job there and the right approach – go shallow focus and work your butt off.
Really liked the photos. May need to go and cook something….