Cooking for yourself or your family (maybe house mates and friends too), usually for survival and sustenance, sometimes for celebration and gathering, quickly quells the illusion of perfect plates of food that you may encounter on cooking shows or between the pages of glossy food magazines.
For starters, ingredients aren’t chopped and measured or carefully pre-set in dainty bowls on trays. No one magically whisks away the dirty dishes out of sight or washes your favourite knife and lays it out near the chopping board for your convenience. Not in this house anyway!
When local private Chef, and now good friend Neill Anthony Vaughan asked if he could do a shoot for a local food magazine (Food & Home Entertaining) in our kitchen, I said yes immediately. I was keen to see if there were kitchen elves hanging about who did the carrying, chopping, wiping, decorating of plates with creative swirls and artistic dribbles. My aim was to capture one for our house.
How’d they do it?
I can tell you, dear friends, that the so called kitchen elf and the pre-arranged dainty dishes of measured out ingredients, are a thing of my imagination. Neill did all the preparation himself- everything was done from scratch, in front of my greedy eyes. He also wiped the surfaces and cleaned up regularly during the entire process.
Photographing three dishes (shots were taken for three consequetive issues of the magazine), took an entire day. I found this surprising, because Neill can normally whip up these dishes in the flashest of flashes.
Neville Lockhart (the photographer), weaved his magic patiently and it’s quite clear to me now, that making the food on the pages of the magazines look as desirable as they do, is painstaking work. Each step of the dish is captured and analysed on the spot and redone to exacting standards. It was a really humbling experience for someone who still does not know how to operate Manual mode on the camera optimally!
I must add, that all the styling was done by Neill and Neville themselves for this shoot. I was glad that I could help with the odd napkin or serving dish, but for the rest I was nothing more than a chit-chatting spectator.
Oh, and in case you were curious- there was no hair spray, extra oil, shaving foam or any of the other styling tricks and aids you read about, used in this shoot. This was delicious food for consumption and I can attest that the ravioli (I’ll leave the details out- you can read about it in the April /May/June issue of Food & Home; I’m uncertain as to which dish will be published in which issue) was magnificent. It tasted as good as it looks, and look good it does, I’m sure you’ll agree.
After this experience, and after much consideration, I have taken the bold step of offering our kitchen for hire for select shoots. Should you be interested, please contact me via the contact form on the home page, on the right hand side on this site or on Twitter @Foodandthefab
*Please note, as stated in my About page, I am an independent blogger. My interpretation of the process involved and the dishes are my own opinion and no remuneration was received for use of the kitchen or for the mention of Food & Home. *