I recently had the opportunity to work on an exciting & challenging work project: a culinary Photo shoot showcasing the signature dishes of the 12 restaurants of Heritage Resorts, one of the brands for which I am the Content Creator.
Sure, taking 3 dishes’ shot per restaurant might sound like a pretty straightforward task : the Chef is in charge of the aesthetics of the plate and you rely on the photographer’s skills to capture the dish at its best angle under the best light and bam! You shoot one dish after the other and you’re done.
Except that no. Firstly, my creative self had set as an objective that each restaurant’s personality, ambiance and location should be reflected in each dish’s photo.
Again, that could be a straightforward task but when the dishes come from 12 restaurants splattered across a 2500 hectares estate it is somewhat problematic.
Secondly, chefs catering for guests of two 5-star resorts, dozens of villas, a golf club and beach club do not exactly have a million time slots and space readily available for a culinary shoot.
Also, have I mentioned that I only had one working day to shoot all the dishes?
After selecting Tristan Chaillet as the photographer, I started working on a mood-board for each dish, picking colorful ingredients, statement utensils and other accompanying items to bring texture and Style to the backgrounds. Amongst other props, I chose lemon because its color and shape make it photogenic and bring out a nice contrast to black plates, wooden tables and other dark backgrounds, as are cherry tomatoes and feta cheese.
After browsing for days for food styling inspiration, I eventually got overwhelmed by the overload of gorgeous images I scrolled through on Instagram and pinned on Pinterest and decided I needed help (for this particular shoot, not my life in general, you get me).
I contacted a few food stylists recommended by friends and eventually decided to go With Josepha Desvaux de Marigny ,who despite not being an established food stylist as such, had excellent credentials working with one of the most respected Chefs on the island and whose creative eye and organizational skills were assets I knew I could personally vow for.
I organized the shooting day military style:
First the location: to meet my 24-dishes- in- a-day objective, I had decided to shoot all the 12 restaurants’ dishes in one location, which was at Heritage Awali as it was the entity with the highest number of restaurants on the resort. But there was a catch: every restaurant had to bring onsite its dining decor which were tables, table cloth, vase, cutlery, plates, glasses, lamp and whichever item that added to the feel of the place.
Evidently, this was not achieved without some gnarling, complaining and finally acceptance on the part of food and beverage managers, waiters and chefs.
I had set-up a time table which established at which time each chef had to have their dish ready, to minimize their waiting time spent on the shoot, which I am proud to say worked out admirably.
All 3 of us carpooled to Bel Ombre, which turned this usually long drive into a short, intensive creative brainstorming session, with Josepha and I pulling out colorful food styling photos from our iPads and creative diaries and Tristan providing his professional insights whilst driving carefully.
Despite all the prior-planning, most of good shots from this day were the result of trial-and-error and probably a good mix of creative minds :
I wanted the seafood platter coming the Infinity Blue restaurant with the ocean as a background to convey the feel of the restaurant, but after a million trials in the chosen spot and a few uncertain ones by the pool ‘because it had a nice green-turquoisy’ Colour, Josepha had a “eureka” moment when she saw the chef removing the platter after the shoot which turned out amazing.
We were shooting on the table the Indian restaurant and the three of us sensed that something was not quite fantastic about the background. The restaurant was on that undergoing some electrical works and the maintenance team had removed a wooden board to work on the wires behind it. We took this board, placed it on the ground with all the dishes and props and it matched perfectly.
And because no one knows his restaurant and dishes better than the Chef, Chef Ravi Kanhye the Executive Chef of Heritage Awali regularly came up to us with accessories and other ingredients when he saw us doubting saying gently “maybe give this a try” and of course, the Chef is always right.
Overall it was a creatively and physically strenuous day but it was definitely an invigorating experience shared with passionate and gifted souls and it’s definitely days like this which keep me going.
You can view a sample of the photoshoot here
A million thanks to Tristan, Josepha and all the artists of Heritage Resorts for sharing their passion, wisdom and expertise.
- The room was spacious, clean, nicely decorated and has a balcony which faces the sea.
- The staff was kind, discreet and extremely helpful.
- The Food! We stayed for 4 nights, with two nights on half-board and two nights on Bed and Breakfast as we wanted to sample the most of Rodrigues legendary cuisine. What we had for dinner on both occasions were a pure feast and we were not disappointed once by the breakfasts. Dinner was traditional Rodriguan dishes (seafood salad as entrée, rice-based dishes with grain and assorted with curries or ‘daubes’ which were out of this world. Their octopus curry was simply to die for. All of these delights were of course topped with fantastic locally-produced pickles and chilli paste.
- The location. It is a delicious walk from a seaside spot where locals hang in the afternoons. There is a kiosk, picnic tables and food trucks. We spent almost every afternoons during our stay there, brought some rosé and enjoyed some ‘gato piments’ and grilled sausages and chicken from onsite food vendors. No loud music, no kids shouting and running around, just zen individuals minding their own business and enjoying the stunning view and tranquility of the place. Good vibes only.
Rodrigues is truly a foodie’s paradise. The country is rich in locally-sourced ingredients prepared in a spectacular way, ranging from lemon pickles, honey-glazed pork sausages to dried octopus and fresh lobster. Whether you choose a restaurant, a street food or a hush-hush little guest house, you will always eat something that will rock your world.
Basanio Snack Boutique
Le Marlin Bleu
WHAT WE DID
Zipline at Tyrodrig
François Leguat Giant Tortoise and Cave Reserve
The best places to eat in Franschhoek:
Review: It is beautiful and the wine is exquisite.
For a drink or a slice of delicious cheesecake:
Why: MCC is the abbreviation for ‘Methode Cap Classique’, the South African term for sparkling wine produced by creating a second fermentation in the bottle. Fittingly named, this pavement café located on the picturesque Huguenot road boasts an impressive sparkling wine list and reflects the charm of this French-inspired town.
|Boschendal Estate, Pniel Road,
Groot Drakenstein, Franschhoek
3rd Day: Slow Market of Stellenbosch
2nd stop: Fairview Wine & Cheese
3rd Stop : Drakenstein Lion Park
DAY 2 IN STELLENBOSCH
1st stop: Meerlust Estate
2nd Stop: Vergelegen
Why: This winery is located on a vast and TRULY beautiful estate with plenty of things to see: lush, landscaped gardens and historic buildings, with namely a slave lodge. Its wine is also excellent.
3rd stop: Lunch at ‘Ben’s on the beach’
4th stop: Strawberry picking
4th stop: Back at our Stellenbosch home, Aan de Viet. Before going for dinner, enjoy South Africa at its best by sipping a glass of Methode Cap Classique, the South African appellation for sparkling wine made by the traditional Champagne method, some biltong (South African beef snack that has been salted and dried in strips), ham, honey dew lemon and your freshly picked strawberries on the beautiful terrace.
5th stop: Dinner at Raphael’s at Asara
Address: Asara Wine Estate, Polkadraai Road, Stellenbosch
Why: We chose Raphael’s because we were celebrating a special occasion and this place is grand and uber-chic.
Review: The customer service was perfect, the food was good but not out of this world. However, something that I really enjoyed about Raphael’s is how they have a dessert option which is an assortment of all their desserts, in miniature. I am the worst at decision making and especially for something as crucial as my dessert, so it was the best to be able to experience all of them.
We took a trip to Cape Town and my boyfriend Stephane put together the perfect itinerary of must sees and dos of the Western Cape and its wine lands. We started our trip by Stellenbosch and this is our day by day journey:
DAY 1 IN STELLENBOSCH
1st stop : CLOS MALVERNE
Why: We chose Clos Malverne because of its impeccable views over the vineyards and the mountains
of Stellenbosch and it didn’t disappoint!
2ndStop: WATERFORD WINERY
3rd Stop: Check-in at AAN DE VLIET, our Accommodation in Stellenbosch.
|The vineyard at Aan De Vliet, Stellenbosch|
4th Stop: It’s dinner time and we’re eating at Mont Marie.
Address: Blaauwklippen Rd, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa+27 21 880 0777