Food and Travel

When I got a call a while back about a photoshoot for Continental Airline Magazine, I was pretty excited! Aside from dreaming of one day photographing food in a cookbook, the extended version of that dream is to photograph food while travelling and integrate the two worlds, much like in Food & Travel Magazine (one of my favourites!)  Although this wasn't quite the same, it sort of had the basics. This airline magazine featured restaurants and bars from cities around the world, and there was a little bit of freedom in doing so. This issue was featuring two Toronto hot spots which I had the pleasure of photographing, the job was ideal in so many ways.  The client had  already chosen the 2 restaurants they were featuring in their Eat & Drink section and there were only a few basic guidelines that I had to follow, the rest was up to me and I loved that freedom.
For the EAT portion of the Magazine, they were featuring the restaurant "ONE" in Yorkville. I was given the restaurant names, a few contact names and numbers and job requirements which consisted of a few shots of the interior, a few of the food and a few of the chef, Chef Mark McEwan which proved to be the toughest part of the job .

The Chef himself was not challenging by any means, but if you've heard of Chef Mark McEwan, you know he's a very busy  and highly sought after man with his  celebrity chef status, his television show The Heat on the Food Network, Chef and Owner of restaurants such as ONE, BymarkNorth 44, Fabbrica,  and gourmet grocery store owner "McEwan" in the Shoppes at Don Mills.  Arranging some time with him for the photoshoot  proved a bit challenging.  After several phonecalls with his PR person, and with my client, and while keeping my schedule open so that I could be ready when they called, the meeting was finally arranged.  He was on a tight schedule and my assistant and I only had a few moments with him so we had to be prepared and in position.  We arrived at the restaurant early and the first thing on the agenda was to photograph the chef.  My assistant and I quickly scoped out the restaurant, looked for a  few spot that might work and started testing them to find what would work the best.  When we were ready, we called him over and began.  I was so nervous at this point.  I knew what I was doing and knew it would be great but with such a busy man and such a high profile status, I couldn't help but feeling a little intimidated.  When he sat down, all of my apprehension went away.  He was pretty normal, talked about his family, didn't make us feel rushed or unimportant.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was definitely relieved. I took his photo's and he was off as quickly as he flew in. At the end of that session with Chef Mark McEwan, we got some great shots and met a nice and very talented chef.

One / Shortrib
The rest of the photos at the restaurant went smoothly now that the hard part was over, and it didn't hurt that ONE was a pretty sweet spot.  There were several cool areas in this restaurant and finding the right angle that would encompass all the best parts of the place was a little tricky.  The toughest part was knowing when to stop.  

One / Pappardelle
Shooting the food portion of the job required some quick thinking.  The Sous-Chef did a great job making the food look good, but he was quick so we had to be quicker.  We looked for an area at the restaurant with the best feel, ambiance and light. Using the existing tables, and tableware as background, the food came out, we moved a few things around and I took the photos.

Part Deux of this assignment was for the "Drink" portion of the magazine.  The location, The Boiler House in the Distillery District of Toronto.  My job requirements, a few shots of the interior and a few of the drinks.  Not quite the same but still proved to have it's own challenges.  Going in just as it opened for the night, I had hoped to have an empty restaurant/bar to roam freely in.   Less challenges with less people especially when setting up expensive lighting, equipment and cameras in a bar atmosphere.  It seemed that a few other people had the same notion as a group of after work colleagues showed up and took over.  

Boiler House / Tangerine Mojito
Normally this would be fine as well, a large group can be just as cool as no group at all, but this was a small crowd that didn't scatter well and seemed to just clump in one area. So I improvised and tried to make them work in the shot with a little blur motion. Moving around the bar, finding a staircase that lead to an even better vantage point, I made it all work to my advantage.

Kiwi Martini / Boiler House

Two "half days" later, several phonecalls and hours of editing, the job was done and sent off to my client's Boston office.  This job was exceptionally exciting for me as it encompassed everything I love about my job.  Food, Interiors and People, plus all the challenges, freedom and thinking on my feet that it allows.   It might not be Food & Travel magazine, but any job is one step closer to being where I need to and want to be. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I'm so impressed with your work! The photos are fantastic! I feel like reaching into my screen and grabbing that tangerine mohito! Yum! I've been wanting to check out McEwan's supermarket. I can spend hours in a supermarket especially the nicer ones :) so my husband does not want to go with me.