Friday 29 June 2012

Behind-the-scenes snaps from my cookbook's shoot

Like an over-excited five year old, I'm hopping from foot to foot and tugging my plaits about my cookbook Scrumptious: Food for Family and Friends, which will be published on 6 July 2012 by Random House StruikOver the next week or so, I'll be sharing some insights on this blog about the interesting and exasperating process of creating a cookbook:  how I settled on a theme and title, how I chose, devised and tested the recipes, and how I wrestled with the business of writing an accurate, original and (I hope!) inspiring manuscript.

Postscript, 2 JulyHere's a charming blog post from photographer Michael Le Grange describing his experience of the photo shoot.

Michael Le Grange's photograph of my Peri Peri Calamari with Chouri├žo Sausage. Click on the image
 to see a full-size version. Image © Random House Struik 2012. Plate by my uncle David Walters, who made all the fine porcelain dishes for the book.

In the meantime, here are some behind-the-scenes snaps from the cookbook shoot, which took place over three weeks at my home in Hout Bay in late 2011 (with another burst in January, when we shot the cover).

My recipes were photographed by specialist food photographer Michael Le Grange of Cape Town's Flat Art Studios, a quiet-spoken, quirky man whose thoughtful eye for light and detail truly knocked my socks off.  We became firm friends over the course of the shoot, and every time we styled, shot and discussed one of his beautiful images I felt a blast of relief that I'd opted to use a professional. (I'd been offered the option of using my own pictures for the book, but I declined, figuring that the success of a cookbook rests largely on the quality of its images, and that my food snaps just wouldn't cut the mustard.)

 I took charge of  styling the food and settings (more about the styling of the book in a future post), and the dishes were prepared by energetic chef and stylist Sarah Dall. All this took place beneath the gimlet eye of Beverley Dodd, the talented designer and artistic director of my book.  Completing the team were Michael's assistants Kirk and Willem, intern chef Kaylah Greenberg and stand-in chef Juliet Douglas.

Here are some of my snaps of the shoot.

Herb and Rice Salad with Feta, Walnuts and Broccoli Crumbs, ready for shooting

Left to right: Photographer Michael, designer Bev, stand-in chef Juliet, intern chef Kaylah and
 photographer's assistant Willem.
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Martin Hatchuel said...

Beautiful photography. I love that you recognise the value of professionals

Unknown said...

What a fantastic Best Recipe Cookbook! So unique. Beautiful photography.