It has been seven months since I bought a DSLR and started this blog, and I’ve decided it’s high time I pulled my finger out and learned how to use this camera properly, i.e. graduating past ‘AUTO’.
It was fantastic timing then, when I read that Simon from The Heart of Food was holding a food photography class. Simon is a self-taught photographer, and his blog is full of stunning food porn. The class promised to teach us about photography basics, creatively and technically (including composition, aperture, rule-of-thirds, white balance, focus points etc), post-production, and tips & tricks for food photography.
To seal the deal, the class was held at a restaurant I’ve wanted to visit for a while now: MUMU Grill in Crows Nest, a sustainable restaurant that uses 100% grass fed beef, with all other ingredients being organic or sustainable. Included in the class cost ($90) was a set menu lunch which also served as our subjects to practice what we had learned.
Our group was a mix of bloggers (Melanie, Laura, Ayana, Gaby, and myself), food technology teachers, and other food lovers. It amused me that I felt so normal in a room of people madly clicking away at the plates of food, which really is an odd sight. Eating cold-but-meant-to-be-hot lunch and the ice-cream that melted into soup didn’t seem to bother anyone. After all, that’s just a side effect of food blogging!
Wood-fired bread and dips
I’d only had a small breakfast earlier in the morning, and since I usually eat every 2-3 hours by the time lunch was served I was famished, worsened by the delicious scents filling the air. I’ve never struggled so hard to stick by the food blogging code, ”don’t touch the food until many, many photos have been taken”.
The food was worth the wait. We shared platters of fluffy, wood-fired bread and dips, fat green olives and meltingly soft Jamon Serrano. The Szechuan fried prawns were morish, but one of my favourite dishes was the duck and shitake mushroom empanadas with its flaky, buttery pastry; I may have eaten 2 or 3 of them.
Szechuan fried prawns
Duck and shitake mushroom empanadas
The organic chicken was well-cooked, with
moist juicy meat, a crisp outer, and served with maple roasted sweet potato and spinach. The second main to share was a sirloin tagliatta. I like my steak medium-rare (but medium or rare is also nice) so I was happy to see the beef cooked pink. I’m also a fan of steak served sliced. It looks nice, it’s neat, easy to share, and you know it’s cooked the right amount! The duck fat roasted potatoes are probably the best potatoes I have ever eaten. How amazing are duck fat roast potatoes?! If you’ve never experienced this exceptional delight, I think you should try them ASAP.
Organic chicken with maple roasted sweet potato and spinach
Sirloin tagliatta with duck fat potatoes and greens
Cherry tomato salad
I could have happily devoured the dessert platter by myself, but alas, it was to be shared. It featured a hard-to-photograph brown sugar pavlova that reminded me of the Opera House, a spicy gingerbread and ricotta sandwich, a rich chocolate mole tart, hazelnut gelato, and a fruit platter. The gelato was melted by the time we ate, but it still tasted great – it would be perfect for an affogato. Hazelnut gelato, an espresso shot, maybe even some Frangelico… Delicious!
Gingerbread and ricotta sandwich with rhubarb
Brown sugar pavlova with pineapple and passionfruit
Chocolate mole tart
The main lessons I wanted to get out of this class were: how to take photos in low lighting (the bane of my dining out existence), how to use aperture to make the background blurry, and composition and styling tips. Simon was a great teacher, he explained things well and was patient. I definitely learned a lot, and I now need to practice, practice, practice!
Simon has another class scheduled for 6 August, with spaces still available. Click here to find out more and book yourself a spot!
Simon demoing how to take pouring action shots
Simon Park, The Heart of Food
61 2 9460 6877
70 Alexander Street, Crows Nest
Dinner 7 days 5.30-10.30pm, Lunch Wed-Sun 12-3pm