Flickr art of food-ography event at Sozai Cooking School
As a food blogger I am always keen to improve my photography skills, So the opportunity to attend an event where I could work on both my photography and sushi making skills simultaneously seemed too good to miss. Internet giant Yahoo were using the event to promote their photo sharing service Flickr so I turned up at the Sozai Cooking School near Aldgate full of anticipation.
After an introductory drink we learnt that Flickr offers its users a massive 1 terabyte of storage which is enough to last you a lifetime! Unlike its competitors Flickr also allows high definition images which is a legacy from the days when most of the uploads were from SLR cameras rather than camera phones. Flickr also operates as a social network and with 320 million photos uploaded and 27,000 groups with food in the title there should be something for everyone.
Next up was an introduction from food photography expert Gideon Hart. He shared his ten food-ography commandments with us:
1.The secret to making food look positively mouth-watering in photos is keeping it simple-just snap it as it is served to you.
2. Don’t use a flash. Taking photos of food needs plenty of day light, preferably from behind the food to make it look delicious.
3. Get snapping as soon as you get your food-for hot food, colour and texture can change as soon as it cools.
4.Think outside of the box and be creative with props and try using the background around you in creative ways.
5. Make sure you focus! Play with angles and focus in on the most appetising aspect of the meal nearest to you.
6. If you have a mirror or even the back of the menu, you can use it to bounce the light. But make sure you bounce the light back to the front of the plate to get the optimum image.
7. Over expose your dinner – Even on a mobile device this is possible. It helps to brighten up the background and lighten up any dark areas in the foreground.
8. Have a paint brush and some olive oil on hand. It’s like adding a little gloss to make that tired salad inviting again.
9. It’s all about telling a story. You need to go beyond the dish and capture the essence of what you’re about to devour. Get your chopsticks in the mix.
10 Remember you don’t have to look through the lens (or indeed at your phone)! Using a bit of guess work for ‘over the table’ shots can capture the ambiance of where you’re eating.
(Edited by The Hedonist)
So armed with Gideon’s tips we moved onto the sushi making.
We were planning to make three different types of sushi and our charming teacher explained that Sushi means seasoned rice with fish.
The most important element is the short-grain rice which must be rinsed through several times to lessen the starch content. Once the rice is cooked, add vinegar to season. A good tip is to wear plastic gloves or wet your hands to stop the rice sticking.
Set up with a Bamboo mat and sheets of nori (edible seaweed with the shiny side on the outside) we set about making our “Giant Maki Roll”.
Spread handful of rice on nori with none on the end. Place your toppings (avocado, omelet, crab stick) across the first third of the rice and then squash a few rice grains on the end to act as glue; roll and cut.
For the “Inside Out Californian Roll” , Spread rice across the nori. Add some sesame seeds and fish roe. Turn the nori upside down. Add wasabi, Salmon and avocado. Roll into a square. Slice into six.
Our final creation was a “Temaki Roll”. Lay a handful of rice at 45 degrees in the top corner of the nori. Put in your fillings (tuna, prawn, carrot and wasabi) on top of the rice, and wrap the nori into a cone. This is trickier than it sounds…
After a bit of surgery from the experts we were able to eat our creations and very good they were too so thanks to all at the Sozai Cooking School for their help and hospitality.
It was good to rediscover Flickr which with its incredible storage offer at high definition and editing facilities. I’ll definitely explore it some more and start using it as a platform but why not investigate it yourself?
If you’d like to learn to make sushi, I went to:
Sozai Cooking School, 5 Middlesex St, London E1 7AA