Today I want to tell you one more story about creating the Food’n’Chef project. That time, I’ve talked to Sveta and Women’s Magazine (Ukraine).
Once in London, I visited a trendy restaurant with a Michelin star. There was prepared outlandish dishes, of which I remember for a lifetime, “Beetroot Gazpacho with Avocado Sorbet and Vodka Jelly”. And I watched one elderly gentleman at the next table asked the waiter to invite the Chef, and when he came, shook his hand, thanked him, got to know and the two men while sitting at a table chatting on gastronomic themes and leafing through a book of authorship of Chef.
If Alexander Slyadnev, a photographer by profession and lover of food, went only in London restaurants, most likely this article would not exist. But he went to Odessa – and found himself in a completely opposite situation, when he wanted to meet with the Chef and thank him for the good food: “I was told that the rules can not call him. And I thought: here I come to the restaurant, ate some food – and who did cook it to me? Who is that person? Man or woman? How is he looks? After all, food is impersonal. So I came up with a project that would show chefs as individuals. But through the lens of their food.”
In his blog Food’n’Chef, which contains priceless recipes from the best chefs of the world and their stories. Alexander describes the essence of the project: “Not a secret that I stole Chefs, as in the most popular Hollywood blockbuster and get them to cook and write prescriptions for you. No not like this. First and foremost for myself, because I really like to cook. And then, having tried this dish and plenty shoot it, I post to the blog that has turned out. And if I am satisfied with the taste, recipe and presentation of the dish, I let the unfortunate Chef on all four sides, ha ha (demonic laughter). “
As it must be said that in photographs Chefs look indecently happy – apparently, this is Stockholm Syndrome.
Photo project has simple and catchy title: Food & Chef. Online you can find it here foodnchef.com. And it is also made easy: a photo of the Chef, with cooked dish at photo, a few lines of the story about themselves, their hobbies, and how he became one of the best in the business. The highlight of the project is in addition to high-quality professional staff – certainly appears when the viewer, viewing pictures, begins to look for a connection between the Chef and the fact that he had prepared. That is included viewer in the project itself.
Projects is attracted me by turning on my imagination, look for analogies. See, for example, a portrait of American Chef Danny Cheney working in the popular Hong Kong restaurant Blue Butcher («Sad butcher” – have fun) brutal young man with piercing in hir lower lip and tattooed arms, which would be likely to take over the musician punk band, cook for the Sheikh of Dubai. And next his own project for the dish: pork jowl with lentils and salad of cabbage and apples. And it looks in your pan as brutal as his creator, but willing to believe that this divinely delicious and has a lot of calories. But the owner of two Michelin stars, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jacob – highbrow (literally) with a good intellectual wrinkles around the eyes. And the food he has the same, simple and smart at the same time spectacular minimalist piece of salmon with carrot puree and a drop of hot sauce. “It serves beautiful colors. – Says Jacob. This is a very simple dish, not fat, cream, butter, because when I cook, I always think about the figure of the young girls. I do not want them to be fat!”. So Frenchman!
The color scheme and design of food – what is important for Alexander Slyadnev as gourmet and photographer. “There are Chefs who think only about the taste of food, and there are those who are thinking about how it will look. Those Chefs who think also about the appearance becoming artists. As photographer, I know about a composition and coloring. They, known too. It turns out that two of our professions are close. People somewhere in the subconscious sitting craving for beauty. We can not know what the composition of the effect on the perception of color. We say: I do not like the rules or, but in fact – it is pure mathematics that can be analyzed. And one more subconscious factor: if the dish looks beautiful, made compositionally correct, it will taste better for us. Nature itself tells us that, for example, red and green should be combined. And we like it. The dish seems natural”.
I, recalling my meeting with the haute cuisine asked: “Is it possible that too nice meal does not want to eat, but only admire it, preferably also placed under glass?” Alexander laughed and said that aesthetics is aesthetics, and everyone’s gotta eat, all this would be desirable in the end to use for other purposes. But at least, food, chefs, executed by artists you can take pictures and share on social networks without a twinge of conscience, is an art, иге short-lived. And if the cause is taken professional photographer, the art of turning even the Moldavian pies, cakes. Their project Alexander baked his own grandmother from Bessarabia, who has worked as a cook in kindergarten.
As a true fan of his passion, Alexander tries all what he shoots. He loves the local food and is always trying to taste authentic dishes. Sometimes this leads to funny situations. “Once in Hong Kong, I had to deal with a dish that looks like our borsch. I was told that it is beef with corn grain. But the restaurant manager warned: “This is a very spicy dish.” And before I flew from Malaysia, where well represented Thai and Chinese food.
For my taste buds that I ate there, it was not spicy at all. I thought that there would be the same. I took this beef by sticks, put on tongue and at this point I realized that all is burning. I had sweated hair, I blushed. So I realized that this is really “very spicy dish.” Chinese Chef said that this dish includes a mixture of very hot peppers, which only exists in the world. I drank a compote, which washes away the spiciness from the tongue. Unforgettable taste experience. I do not know whether he dare to repeat that again will be in Hong Kong. “
But even such an adventure would stop gourmet. In the nearest Aleksandr’s plan to create a gallery of the best Ukrainian Chefs (Kiev, Odessa and Lviv – the main gastronomical cities of the country – have already been submitted) and to continue to travel in Europe, expanding the geography of the project.
Good photographers always learn something from their models. Introducing the best Chefs of the world has helped Alexander not only learn how to cook a bunch of delicious dishes and compositionally correct them to make out. “The people I shooted are self-made. It is believed that his talent – they say, so they were born. But this is not true. They have invested a tremendous energy they were studied, worked every day, sacrifice something. And received their high status. I for myself have realized that if you want to achieve a lot, you need a lot to work”. Banal, but not less important truth. Work and love for work, however pathetic it may sound, the main ingredients of which are born beautiful and tasty food. If I decide to cook something on the recipes from the blog of Alexander, I’ll try not to forget to add them.