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