Apr 25, 2011

Last week's ramp dinner

It was brought to my attention that I haven't posted a dinner/food at all in a long while. I think part of the problem is that my standards for restaurant food photography and food photography in general have come a long way since I began this blog (largely attributed to the amazing portfolios of those in the same tier as Ditte Isager) and I just can't shoot the way I'd like in unpredictable restaurant situations. Sometimes I would kill to take an above the table shot of a dish because it would lend so well to that, but I can't very well stand on my chair in a nice restaurant. And I don't want to post mediocre stuff just for blog content.

On that note, here is the multi-course ramp dinner from last Wednesday night. I must say, Hotel Griffou is one of the hardest restaurants to shoot food in. It may as well be pitch black in there. These were all taken in RAW at ISO 4000+ and I processed the HELL out of them. Extreme white balance adjustment and exposure compensation in ACR and then more curve editing in Photoshop to get the whites whiter (thank you, Karleen, for that tip! It is a LIFESAVER). And finally some more color/contrasty punchiness added. I can't say I'm happy with these pictures but I can definitely say I did the best I could short of setting up my own lights next to the dinner table!

I enjoyed this dinner immensely, not only for Chef Santos's always amazingly prepared dishes, but for the ridiculous company I was fortunate enough to be part of. Sitting next to all those superstars was very humbling and gave me a lot to aspire to, as cheesy as that sounds. I was also happy to finally be sitting in a different room than usual. This room had so much character. I would love to just go back and shoot all the individual historical props there.

Quick roundup - a few hors d'oeuvres, vichysoisse with ramp oil and piri piri, hearts of palm with wasabi leaves and ramp vinaigrette, fried frog legs with ramp pistou, steelhead on sushi rice with pickled ramps, cecatelli with arugula and duck egg yolk with a side of ramp ricotta, a KFP version for Jessica :P, wagyu beef with ramp puree, and finally, asparagus ice cream with candied ramps. Whew.


  1. how lovely! everything looks amazing

  2. bravo! you did such an amazing job on the WB here! if you didn't tell us, i would never have guessed that you had to go thru all those post-processing!

    interesting dishes! i've never had frog legs - i suppose they taste like chicken? mmmm- the dessert looks fantastic!

  3. It's a good sign when you know you just have to be better. There's no point in outputting the same quality time after time. Salute you!

    P.S. This place decor seems so western for the dishes they serve. Absolutely love the wood and props. And asparagus ice cream?? Good ?

  4. i LOOOVE your food photography! :)
    So how DO you get your whites white was can be?

  5. looks good -- i'd never guess it was difficult to shoot. doesn't look grainy or noisy at all.

  6. I couldn't relate to you anymore. Whenever I am trying to shoot food while eating out its a mess. One, my boyfriend/guests get embarrassed haha two, the people around you stare. As I think in my head how badly I want a sun drenched window and no one else around. haha. That being said I do admire your dining out photos. You manage to always keep things in proper focus in low light conditions which is a huge challenge! One I tend to mess up regularly. Camera shake is a tough one when your camera weighs a ton and your not going to bring a tripod around the resto. I like your resto documentation photos! Now you just need to collaborate with a chef or someone who likes to cook so you can shoot still life food shots! which i know you will be a badass at.

  7. I love that you talk so openly of the processes and challenges you face. It helps us all to learn and be inspired. I think these photos are stunning, but it's definitely a standard I have come to expect from you. Even when it's not reaching your expectations, it's still amazing.