If you can't stand the heat,
get out the kitchen...photograph it. I'd like to think I can cook, but when you spend five minutes in the company of a professional chef it dramatically brings you back down to earth with a bump.
In the idyllic setting of Potten End is Martins Pond, a friendly family run pub with a fast growing reputation for great food. Owners Melanie and Neil have developed an uncompromised commitment to flavour using the finest quality, fresh and locally sourced ingredients put together with a fine dining twist.
To say I enjoyed the experience of being in the buzz of a working kitchen is an understatement, and was thrilled to meet Andy Mayersbeth (head chef at Martins Pond) who showed the same kind of passion and devotion to food as I do photography. Watching somebody with this level of skill at work was a joy.
With the aim of creating environmental portraits, I wanted to depict the heated and pressurised environment a chef works in. Flambé, a technique Andy was only too happy to demonstrate as flames licked up the kitchen walls. Neil (owner and chef) meanwhile stands calm and proud in the foreground leaning on what I later found out to be a very expensive knife, oops. This image can be seen at the top of this post, and was created using two speedlites. A Canon 580EXII was placed camera left into a 38" Softbox with a 1/4 colour temperature orange gel whilst a 430EX speedlite hides out of shot, carefully positioned behind the left pillar to illuminate Andy, his mountain of fire and provide a rim on Neil's knife. All of these lights were triggered via the PocketWizard Flex system which makes setups like this quick and easy.
Despite the crazy atmosphere of a kitchen, the attention to detailed carried out by Neil's team is second to none which really shows the passion for their trade. Each dish is lovingly prepared and presented with absolute precision in a way that can only be described as art. Every plate that leaves the kitchen really does taste as good as it looks.
The pub itself dates back to 1924, however the actual site of the public house has been a source of hospitality since the 17th century. Under the watchful eye of Neil and Melanie the pub has undergone a recent transformation which sees customers attracted from far afield. I'll have to admit that one perk of this photoshoot was sampling the delights that come out of the Martins Pond kitchen in their recently refurbished dining room. The Sous Vide Beef was quite simply out of this world!
Interested in visiting Martins Pond? Check out their website here. The extensive hand selected wine list and local real ales are a great accompaniment to their menu, especially after you have walked through the beautiful surrounding area.
If you're interested in having your career featured for the "I Am..." series, feel free to get in touch. Thanks to Neil and Andy for taking time out to feature in this project. Look forward to having you on the website once it's launched.