A couple of weeks ago Clodagh McKenna, fabulous Irish chef and cook book author, had a pop up restaurant at Selfridges here in London to celebrate the launch of her new book. I had been asked by fellow stylist Jette Virdi to take pictures of her and the lovely decorations she had created for the event and was of course more than happy to work with another talented creative. Little did I know at that time that Clodagh would ask me to take 'behind the scenes' pictures of the evening! Since I'm used to photographing static items (unless my food is about to melt or slide off the plate) and still lives, this was not only an exciting but also a slightly daunting prospect. Photographing food is one thing, photographing food being made in a busy kitchen is quite a different one.
If there's one thing I've learned over time though, it's that I need to push myself and get out of my comfort zone in order to learn, develop my skills and discover what I am capable of when pushed. Admittedly, a life event might not be the ideal situation to find out whether I will be able to rise to the occasion, but failing was simply not an option and I really didn't want to disappoint - not least myself. Maybe it helped me with my nerves that Clodagh was just as nervous about getting everything right on her big night.
On the menu were Irish dishes made with wonderful, fresh ingredients and produce sourced directly from trusted farmers, markets and suppliers. Carpaccio of aged beef with mature Coolea cheese and radish, handmade seaweed and nettle ravioli, and lamb with apple syrup roasted nectarine and early summer herbs were some of the amazing dishes served on the night and I was lucky to be able to witness how they were made in the kitchen. As exciting as it felt however, it wasn't always easy since the kitchen wasn't very big, it was obviously hot and with many cooks being extremely busy I was highly aware that I might be in the way - just a little unnerving then. Still, it was a really lovely (if rather hot) experience and, more importantly, I actually got some nice shots of what's happening behind the scenes on a big evening and got to meet some really nice people. As far as work goes, that's pretty great, don't you think?