Category Archives: Blog

Adam Byatt – Salt Caramel Custard Tart

IMG_2063Ingredients

1 L Cream
18 Egg Yolks (or 270g)
150g Sugar
280g Sugar – Caramel (180c)
15g Maldon salt

Sweet Pastry

350g strong white bread flour
110g icing sugar
140g butter, diced
½ beaten egg
50ml cold water
Method

For the Pastry

1. Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl until evenly combined. Add the butter and run it in until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Mix the egg and water in a jug until combined, pour into the dry ingredients in the bowl and knead gently to a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour before using.

For the Tart

1. Bring cream to the boil. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks and 150g sugar.
2. Pour the cream over eggs and sugar. Place 1 Litre of this mixture into bowl and add the Maldon salt.
3. In a separate pan, over a low heat, bring 280g sugar to a dark caramel. Once a dark caramel forms, slowly incorporate this into the custard mix in the bowl, whisking continually. Combine this with any remaining custard and pass through a fine sieve.
4. Remove the skin and large bubbles off of the mixture and cover with cling film to contact. Leave standing for 5 minutes before removing the cling film, taking the small bubbles with it.
5. Pour into a blind baked tart case and bake at 130 C fan 2 until set.
6. Leave to stand for an hour before slicing and enjoy with pouring cream

Wimbledon Greyhound Market

Whether it’s a high-end fashion steal or a cut-price antique, everyone loves a bargain. Although you definitely get the very best bargains the earlier you roll up, luckily for late starters, in Wimbledon you don’t necessarily have to drag yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn to get your hands on a second-hand gem.

Wimbledon Stadium car boot sale

For two days a week the stadium grounds are filled with a vast array of vendors and hundreds of punters, all selling and buying a wide range of items from clothing to crockery to silverware and gold jewellery, so bring a big bag and expect to fill it. Hardcore bargain hunters can get early bird entry from 7am, but be warned the crowds can be ruthless and you need to act fast to get your hands on the real treasures.

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Book Block Shoot

Whilst I consider myself a food photographer schooled in documentary photography I do have a strong appreciation for studio still life photography, in which I sometimes dabble. I shot this series of images for custom notebook brand Book Block, with help from Art Director Emma Talbot and stylist Eloise James

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Food Photography Props at Sytch Farm

Since becoming a food photographer I’ve developed what can only be described as an obsession with ceramics. Having a strong range of Earthenware and Stoneware to choose from can make styling a food shoot far more effortless, so building up my prop cupboard with the best ceramics has been an agenda of mine for a while.
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Ceramic Food Photography Props

Sytch Farm Sample Ceramic Bowels

I could of course simply rent ceramics from the main London prop houses – China and Co, Backgrounds – like so many other food photographers do but that’s far less fun than sourcing them yourself.

But just like backdrops I’ve found them curiously difficult to source. Etsy in its early years was placed to be a market leader in this field, but it seems that greed and a disregard for product curation has seen it become a glorified Ebay. So with no real ceramic hubs to speak of (although I would love to be told I’m wrong about this) I’ve had to be a little bit creative with the way I source my ceramics.

One method I’ve found to be both fruitful and enjoyable is contacting talented ceramists directly through instagram. Sytch Farm is a studio I’ve been following for six months or so and I recently arranged a visit to the farm, where husband and wife team Gill and Jon make beautiful stoneware and hand carved chopping boards respectively.
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Ceramic Food Photography Props

Ceramic Food Photography Props

Gills Ceramic Studio and her helpers

Despite a long and rainy December drive from South London to their farm in Shrewsbury I couldn’t have been happier with my decision to pay the pair a visit. Welcomed into their studio/home with warmth that you usually have to drive four hours out of London to experience, I was provided with a tour of their farm and fed a delicious country lunch (served in some beautiful bowls).

Following this, I had the fun but difficult job of picking out some amazing food photography props including 50 or so bowls, plates and boards. All of which are now sitting happily in my photography studio
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Ceramic Food Photography Props

Ceramic Food Photography Props

My Top 3 Dishes of 2015

My Top 3 Dishes of 2015
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One of the many things I love about my job in food photography is getting to eat the food I shoot. There has only been one time were I haven’t been able to eat any dishes I shot and I’ll never forgive the chef for that! Despite being constantly reminded by the given chefs that the food I’ve shot is both cold and under seasoned (even two star michelin chefs can be apprehensive watching someone eat their food) I’ve still ate some incredible food this year. So I wanted to do my top 3 dishes of 2015
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3. Roast Dinner by Tim Allen
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When Tim Allen talked me through this dish, which included a roast onion that was poached in an onion stock for 48 hours and 45 day aged Rib of Beef, I asked Tim Allen how he could make any mark up on this dish. His response – “I’m from Yorkshire, I can’t put out a shit roast, profit or no profit”

Tim Allen Food Photography London

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2. Pan-roasted Quail by Paul Welburn
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Paul Welburn is one of the best chefs I’ve worked with when it comes to platting, and his flavours and cooking match his visual skills. This Quail was sous vide before being roasted in a pan. The recipe for this dish can be found herePan-roasted-quail,-herbs-and-fried-egg

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1. Scallop Mousse Ravioli
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When Adam Byatt produces dishes like this, with such incredible flavours and textures, and still hasn’t got a Michelin Star it makes me loose any faith in the Michelin Guide.Scallop-Mousse-Raviloi

Adam Byatt Video

PORTRAITS – ADAM BYATT from Adrian F. Ardelean and Stefan Johnson on Vimeo.

I recently produced a short film about British Chef Adam Byatt with Film maker Adrian Ardelean. The video was shot on a Sony A7s with the Atomos Ninja Assassin.

Having started his career at the legendary Claridges Hotel at the age of 16 Adam has worked at a wide range of Michelin Star. He now owns 3 restaurants – Trinity, Trinity Upstairs and Bistro Union. Despite being a regular on BBC television shows like Saturday Kitchen Adam prides himself at being a working chef and will be found most days in the kitchen. He also pride myself on being a mentor to young chefs starting in the business, both at his own restaurants and also through his work with the Academy of Culinary Arts.

Food Photography Competition

Food Photography Studio Competition
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My photography studio – Clapham Studios – is currently running a free food photography competition. It’s free to enter and easy to submit. The winner, who will the persons whose image gets the most amount of votes will win a free days studio rental, worth £250.
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Food Photography Studio Competition. London
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Our studio has been designed specifically for food photography so if you are a food photographer, or are interested in food photography you should enter and share the image you submit amongst your friends and peers. To enter click here

Food Magazines

Food Magazines to Look out for: Lucky Peach

Stefan Johnson Food Photography

Lucky Peach, a collaboration between Momofuku’s David Chang, food writer Peter Meehan, and the McSweeney team, is one of the most exciting publications in food journalism today. Free from the constraints of mainstream media it leverages its unique position to buck the trends of current journalism and embrace long-form writing and acid-trip design. Handing the proverbial pen to its chefs, allowing them to write freely about food and trends.

Stefan Johnson Food Photography Restaurant Photography

Lucky Peach Cover Stefan Johnson Food Photographer, Restaurant Photographer and Drinks Photography. London Food Photography at Clapham Studio Hire.

Stefan Johnson Food Photography Restaurant Photography

The magazine is also able to pull in luminaries of traditional media, including Ruth Reichl amd Anthony Bourdain, giving them a unique platform. The magazine is quirky, smart, and impulsively readable. Issues focus on a singular theme—from Chinatown to The Apocalypse—and showcases art, photos, essays, and insanely advanced recipes from some very recognizable names.

Stefan Johnson Food Photography Restaurant Photography

Lucky Peach Stefan Johnson Food Photographer, Restaurant Photographer and Drinks Photography. London Food Photography

The Worlds Best Food Photographer – Anders Schønnemann

My Favourite Food Photographer – Anders Schønnemann

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When it comes to all things food, why is it that Scandinavians seem to be able do everything better then the rest of the world. Up until 10 years ago most people in the UK associated Scandinavian food with meatballs and hot dogs, but processed meatballs have become a thing of the past (unless you’re buying a new bed or sofa) thanks to brilliant chefs like Magnus Nillson and the godly René Redzepi. And this new found domination of the culinary world doesn’t just stretch to cooking, both Denmark and Sweden seem to be regularly producing the best food photographers too.
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ANDERS-SCHØNNEMANN-Food-Photography-2 Anders Schonnemann Studio Food Photography

Food Photography
I’d like to think Anders Schønnemann is better then me because of the abundance of natural light the Scandinavians get but this is not true, partly because Denmark doesn’t actually get that much more natural light then London, but mostly because if you put Anders Schønnemann in a pitch black room with just a white plate and a Mr Kipling backwell tart he would still produce a stunning image.
Food Photography

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Anders Schonnemann lifestyle Photography Stefan Johnson Food Photographer, Restaurant Photographer and Drinks Photography.

Food Photography Lighting Tutorials

Understanding how light effects you image is perhaps the most important things to know in food photography. Below are three food photography tutorial videos I found that aspiring food photographers may find helpful.

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Robb Grimm on Natural Light

American food, drink and product photographer Robb Grimm provides a 10 minute lesson on daylight, using shadows and diffusing light for food photography.

 

William Brinson and Constant Light

William Brinson, another American food photographer, discusses using constant light in his food photographer as he reveals the ideas, methods and process for his pursuit of alluring, emotional light and tasty food.

William and his partner Susan are a photography team based in New York. Since high School, they have worked together forming one of the best design-photography duo. After moving to NYC and each pursuing individual careers, a natural evolution occurred and they began collaborating and creating as a team. Now, both behind the camera, they photography for clients like Chipotle, New York Times Magazine and Real Simple.

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Andrew Scrivani on the three elements of photography lighting

Andrew Scrivani, a food photographer who has shot over 10 cookbooks, offers instructional talk about using all three light forms – flash, constant and natural light – to attaiin the perfect food photography images both on location and in the studio

Book Block Notebooks

As a gift for one of my favourite clients I got a load of Custom Notebooks made by London startup www.original.bookblock.com. Effectively becoming the blurb.com of notebooks this is the first time a fully customisable quality journal has been made available for the individual photographers, illustrators or designers
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Customized Notebooks Bespoke Journals

All printed on vegan leather, which as well as being more ethical actually feels nicer then a soft or hard leather, I got some of my favourite shots I’ve taken for Great British Chefs printed full bleed. I also got a variety of hard colours with the company logo foiled onto the front which I thought looked pretty nice!
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Customized Notebooks Bespoke Journals

Chef Portraits

Photographing Chefs

London Chef Food Restaurant Photography

As you can see in my portfolio I like to keep shots within a series/context, allowing me to curate my work. The only disadvantage is single images being left behind. Quite often these single shots are made up of chef portraits I take whilst in kitchens.

Bread and Wine Portait Food Photographer Stefan Johnson

Whist food is my biggest passion my love for making images originated in documentary and portrait photography work. Here are a selection of shots I took in both my studio and on location.

Amongst the subjects are Gennaro Contaldo, Adam Byatt the Arancina Brothers (having some fun with pizza flour)

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Sonia Rentsch

Sonia Rentsch is without question one of my favourite stylists, in fact I would go as far as to say she is one of my favourite artists period. Based in Melbourne Sonia has been developing her unique and effortless style since 2002. Describing herself as an Art Director and Still Life Artist one should not be fooled by the subtlety of her work, every image demonstrates an incredible amount of constrained imagination. Because whilst a wild imagination can be a wonderful thing, the discipline of constraint partnered with uncontrived imagination can produce the most stunning, lucid work. And this for me is the very foundation of Sonia Rentchs work.

 

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A series of work that I believe best demonstrates Sonias work is the series Harmless, shot by Albert Comper for January Biannual Magazine (images below). Constructing guns, grenades and bullets using organic objects, the images Sonia creates are clean and beautiful. And beyond the great deal of consideration for colour, shapes and dead space the convincing representation of what she is reproducing gives the images dimension and wit.

 

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Interviews with Sonia show her to be modest and pragmatic in her approach. Asked what advice she would give someone hoping to do similar work Sonia responded ‘If you want to do something, start doing it. It sounds ridiculous, but if you want to create something, then create it.’ This is a sentiment I very much agree with. We live in a time where creativity can be exercised with great ease and anyone interested should try first and think later (as backwards as that may seem)

 

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Gemma Tickle

Gemma is a London based set designer who in the words of her agents East Photographic creates playfully sophisticated work that evokes narrative through colour, shape and form. Gemma graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Graphic Design and after learning her trade assisting Rachel Thomas setup her own studio in Dalston where she has since completed commissions for the likes of Elle, Wonderland and Nike.

 

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Despite doing little to no work within food photography I find set designer Gemma Tickles work to be very inspiring. Her sets are extraordinarily simple and demonstrate a confidence in minimalism that I have great envy for.

 

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Known for her playful and vivid props Gemma sites that a significant source of inspiration is pop culture, stating in an interview with Crack Magazine

 

‘We probably overuse the word ‘pop’ but I think it’s really important to what I do. I’ve always been interested in glossy/surface sheen, guys like Jeff Koons especially. We both use a pop colour palette in our work, which I think works nicely with a minimalism and aesthetic austerity.’

 

It this aesthetic austerity that gives her work such sophistication. Shot by Thomas Brown, Gemma Tickle designed 26 sets for a District MTV Advent Calendar. Each image had a very distinct Tickle style and a unique  vivid colour yet each one poured emphasis onto its given subject.

 

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