Sunday, January 31, 2010

Insider chat with ... Brett Stevens, food photographer

For all the voyeurs out there, this is the first of what will be a series of chats with food industry insiders.
Brett Stevens in action

Brett is one of Australia’s most talented food photographers and I have worked with him many times at The Australian Women’s Weekly and absolutely love his work. He also was the photographer for my award winning book Balance. Matching Food and Wine. What Works and Why.

He is based in Sydney and his pics have appeared in many top local and international mags: The Australian Women’s Weekly, Delicious, Waitrose Food Illustrated, Marks and Spencer, Martha Stewart Living, Country Style, Sainsburys and Vogue Entertaining + Travel. Brett has also shot and contributed to around 40 cookbooks, including my book Balance, Fired up, Snowflakes and Schnapps, Murdoch’s Indulgence series, Valli Little’s Faking it and Quick Smart Cook, Donna Hay Seasons, Gourmet Traveller Salads and many more.

Briefly describe a typical day: A shoot will generally start with a meeting with the Stylist and Food Prep about the brief from the Client and how we are going to interpret the required shotlist into a story. We would shoot each scenario with our particular style and build the shots into a storyboard which conveys the feel and mood of the shoot ie: Beach Summer, Winter log cabin etc... once we have completed the shotlist, everyone packs up their props, kitchen utensils and camera equipment, books couriers for returns of rental items and then post production copmmences on the days shots. This usually takes a couple of hours depending on the quantity of shots, these are then sent to the Client - job done!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Life is peachy

Have you tried Summer Flame peaches?  They are just coming into season right now –look out for them at your local fruit & veg.  I had one, err two, the other day from a colleague of mine who grows them, but you can also get them from  Mossmont Nurseries at Griffith.

A bit of background: the variety was introduced to commercial growers in 2006 by Burchell’s Nurseries in California and due to colour, flavour and firmness have become a favourite in Australia

Look at the blushing globes
(image courtesy Mossmont Nurseries)

The Summer Flame is totally luscious. The large rose hued globe houses the most beautiful golden flesh that has a sweet yet mildly acidic flavour.

I ate them as is (yes, there was juice dripping down my chin) but will try them poached as well, maybe with yoghurt and muesli for breakfast or simply with vanilla gelato for a quick and easy dessert.  I think I might also serve them sliced with torn mint leaves in my next Pimms.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Question: What is an Octopop ...?

Answer: The first of ten courses culinary feats served performed by Australian chef-to-watch Adam Melonas at an amazing dinner I recently hosted in Sydney.

Chef Adam Melonas preparing his signature Octopops

At just 28 years old, Adam’s technical skills and knowledge of food are both amazing and inspiring. I met him two years ago while he was working at the Al Mahara Restaurant in the 7 star Burj al Arab Hotel, Dubai. Since then he has further developed his love of creative cuisine (known in some circles as molecular gastronomy or progressive cuisine) during a two year stint as Head Chef in Charge of the Lab at La Terraza del Casino (recently awarded a second Michelin Star) at the ultra-exclusive Casino de Madria in Spain.  he has also worked with the international hero of innovative, progressive cooking, Ferran Adria at El Bulli, also in Spain.

Now back to the Octopops … as one of Adam’s signature dishes they were the first of ten courses prepared and presented by Adam to showcase his culinary skills to some of Australia’s top food and publishing glitterati.