Tag Archives: food photography

The most fun you can have with a piping bag

Aah, I’ve been meaning to get round to these little he-devils for some time now. And what else was I going to do on another rainy Sunday afternoon?

These come courtesy of food writer, stylist and photographer Cannelle et Vanille and they work an absolute treat. I stuffed myself silly on the sofa, ignoring the thunder and pretending I was still in Spain (or perhaps I was hallucinating from the sugar).

Churros con chocolate

The one that got away... (technically a churro)

The chocolate bisque is the business here: heady hints of star anise, vanilla, coffee and orange enveloped in a rich, custardy chocolate. Too good to save until breakfast.

There are plenty more churros where these came from, and they’re heading for the table of our first pop-up restaurant soon. Get in on the brunch action via Rachel’s site. And be sure to pray for sunshine.

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It’s a tough job, but…

As an antidote to London Fashion Week, I thought I’d take you behind the scenes of a food photoshoot, where bellies are rubbed, not sucked in, and where mouths salivate rather than pout.

The rules

Rule one: food can be photogenic or otherwise, much like people. A ripe, rosy plum will be a natural in front of the camera, requiring only a bowl to sit in, some fellow plums for company, and favourable lighting. Life’s plainer ingredients, however, need tarting and gussying up like the mother of the bride in order to shine. The difference, of course, is that food will never writhe, smile more widely, or respond to calls of ‘lovely, that’s great, keep it going, you’re a confident, fierce bratwurst!’ It’s up to the team to sex up those pesky German sausages.

The team

The Photographer: usually a surprisingly skinny man.

How to spot him: the only one not making primitive ‘mmm’ and ‘aah’ noises – he’s not gazing longingly at the food; he’s looking at the light. Like a ripening pear whose flesh melts to mush in the time it takes for you to run to the kitchen and grab a knife, the light will tease your photographer, changing by the minute, every passing cloud or sunbeam frustrating his efforts. The only person in the room who understands the challenge he faces is…

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Egg on your face

There’s nothing more likely to make my appetite turn on its heels and effect a hasty exit than the sight of rows of tourist restaurants unflinchingly displaying their menu in chilling technicolour. Finger lickin’ it ain’t.

I generally avoid such places like the plague. Unfortunately, some resorts in Gran Canaria are, well, plagued by them. One day, with lead in my stomach, I was forced by hunger and lack of forethought to stop and try to digest something from the happy hour hub of the island. The burden fell to me to find the least terrifying restaurant option, a task so Herculean that it would have been easier to raze the place single-handedly and set up my own venture on the ruins.

What is the collective noun for a mass of unappetising eatery options? A gag of restaurants? And what criteria does one assess when choosing amongst them? Anybody already eating here, especially anyone apparently savouring their meal, had to be either addled by sunstroke or fundamentally lacking not only in taste but in taste buds. No restaurant was fuller than the others. The photos, like illustrative icebergs, revealed only a tenth of the awful might of the dishes.

We ended up plumping for a café whose menu told the story of an ovine invasion of Germany (all Frankfurter variations came with an optional fried egg). The dishes were, quite literally, a picture. We sat in the sun, surrounded by a gallery of food mug-shots: gastro-combos that could only have been photographed by a tripped-out student trying to recreate his hallucinations through the medium of food. Faces with frankfurter smiles gurned at us like Chuckie’s plainer siblings.

Bockwurst Kartoffelsalat (fried egg optional)

All together now: mmm...

The level of detail was breathtaking: eyes and eyebrows rendered in food; noses with nostrils. We wept.

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