What a hectic year 2014 has been!

My Gosh! I cannot believe we just finished this year’s Food Styling & Photography Workshop! Feels like it was only yesterday we were having the 2013 one! But hey, let me tell you, we had a fantastic time!

In my 3rd year organising and working with this workshop, I thought the theme should rightfully be: ‘Passion’. You do have to be passionate about an activity to carry out the same event 3 years in a row!

From partnering up with my friends who share the same passion for food and cooking, to each bringing in the elements they are most passionate about in order to share with the participants in an effort to ignite their own passions and make way for their own stories to unfold; it is all about passion. One of the things I love the most during all my courses and workshops, is that moment when something clicks (when passion forms) with one of the participants, that moment when you could almost see a spark in their eyes, and this time I have seen this a few times, and was very happy to know we have accomplished what we were there for.

This year we have also taken #FotoDubai2014 to a whole new dimension, as we held an intensive food styling and photography session for the students of SCAFA, who are well on their way to start their professional career in food. Besides artistic expression, and technicalities of food snapping for media, in this session, I also wanted to make sure that as they master the technicalities of their profession, they continue to feed their passion for it. The session with the upcoming chefs was full of new skills for them to practice besides the chopping, mixing, cooking and plating which they have already mastered. It was all about keeping the passion alive and how to take their creativity, concepts and communications from ‘good’ to ‘great’.

 

Greatness is only achieved in great company
No man is an island!

 

 

www.scafa.ae

As you know, this year we partnered up with my favourite culinary school SCAFA (School of Culinary & Finishing Arts – Dubai), whose kitchens I want to live in forever!! Honestly, the workshop will not have been the same if it were anywhere else!

The SCAFA Family (the instructors, chefs, students and staff) are a wonderful team of people whose company makes you feel right at home. They have gone above and beyond to make this workshop a great and memorable experience to everyone involved.

I am not saying this because I expected any less, oh no! Trust me I always have humungous expectations and never settle for anything less than perfect in any of my projects… I am saying this, because even considering what I came in expecting, SCAFA managed to amaze above and beyond! And I want to thank them hugely (I love SCAFA). Honestly observing how they are with their students, and their approach to teaching and mentoring, is simply great and if the times turn back, I definitely would choose to go and learn the culinary arts over there.

If you are at that stage or know anyone who is keen to go to culinary school, then I really recommend you join them.  

The Food theme we went with this year is “Modern Classics”, which I am very into these days. But I am talking real modern concepts, not just in terms of presentation. I went with a “Modern Arabic Bistro” theme for my menu, where besides preparing that menu for the participants’ lunch, I also took them through the makings of modern cooking, modern cuisine and how to upgrade a classic recipe to modern standards.

For his part, Chef Russell Impiazzi – the Culinary Director of Lafayette Gourmet, who is also our main and permanent #DubaiFoto partner (since the first workshop) – was very into the theme as well. He usually prepares the welcome brunch and finale dinner for the participants, and this time he prepared both meals as ‘Modern British Classics’. Chef Russell is very talented, I am always at awe with his creations, however, this time there was something about that food that felt a bit more personal. I loved his take on ‘Modern British’ absolutely delightful, and do recommend that you ask him about that menu the next time you book a Lafayette Gourmet catering service. Very familiar food, in a very unfamiliar modern way making even a fish and no-chips look so elegant!

As ever, Lafayette Gourmet have sponsored all the workshop’s ingredients (for all the meals, and the photography), which as you know is Lafayette Gourmet standard! Perfection!

Now that we have amazing ingredients, and amazing meals set up for the two days, what is a food styling and photography workshop without outstanding props? And I am so glad to have reached out to West Elm in Dubai Mall, who by the way always have some of the most stylish props you can get your hands on! Not just that, they really do always hold some iconic pieces that will make your photo just right. If you are a stylist and always on the lookout for amazing props,  standout bowls, just the right napkin, or an iconic black onyx flatware set (no reflections) all you need to do is to head out to West Elm, and see for yourself! But not just for photographers, stylish homes and stylish kitchens will have West Elm in them for sure!!

That is it in a nutshell!  Here is a video recount of this year’s workshop.

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