ATFT Food Photography Workshop @ MUMU Grill

27 Apr

As you can see from my previous photos, I haven’t exactly a great job of portraying how good they all were. I didn’t have a DSLR then, and to be honest, I didn’t want to purchase one. Couldn’t afford it and I didn’t want to stop using my film cameras due to over-reliance on a DSLR. But like serendipity, the Father pretty much dropped one on my lap. It seemed like I was almost meant to go down the path of food photography. And it wasn’t long before I was hooked on it.

Fiddled around with it for a bit but really did not know how to make pictures of food LOOK delectable. That’s why I barely hesitated and signed up for the food photography workshop with Billy from A Table for Two at MUMU Grill.

I was pretty excited, actually, as foodblogging was new to me, food photography – while watching my sis be annoying at every meal taking a gazillion shots of everything before we get to eat – was also new to me. New food place, new people! It was good to finally meet the face behind the beautiful pictures, and learn what goes behind the scenes of food photography.

Having dabbled in film photography and all that, I knew some of the basics, but it was a great opportunity for me to not only how to set up shots, gain a little know-how from the more experienced, and the post-shoot editting. It was great watching everyone so interested in food, talking about food, and photographing food. We also ATE the food.

We started off with the House Baked Bread and Dips. I was more inclined to the tomato one, it was tangy and went well with the breads, kind of relish-like. I wonder if anyone notice me constantly reaching for it hm…

It’s interesting that only a couple of years ago did I actually begin to appreciate olives, so I don’t actually know which ones I actually like because the variety available is dizzying. Nevertheless, I tried both types from the Olive Selection. The green ones went faster, I thought I was the only one eating them as everyone was so intently listening to Billy (I was too, but I’m just amazing at multi-tasking eating+whatever), but I suppose the green ones are generally more popular as it had more flesh and a slightly milder, pleasant flavour.

Now this was quite a hit. When the 15month Jamon Serrano with Catalan Bread came in, I think I might have quite audibly gasped. But thankfully I don’t suppose anybody noticed because I think they might have felt the same. Picture, picture, picture…I took a great many, but I was actually wondering if we could eat it.. soon.. please.. It had a great, deep flavour, fat that melts away in your mouth as you savour it, a flavour that develops from start to the end, and leaves a lingering pleasantness in your mouth long after, making you yearning for more. And it was slightly before this I read Simon’s (The Heart of Food) question posed to his readers: Do you agree or disagree that jamon superior to prosciutto? It’s an interesting one, I wasn’t quite sure how I would answer it, and now I have tried jamon, it makes it all the more difficult. I had ridiculous amounts of prosciutto when trekking through Italy, with a kilo’s worth in my backpack from Parma itself, and eating that for days (yes, days, not weeks. Days.) after was like slice after slice of heaven. Now it’s a tough one. Given it’s been a while since I had prosciutto.. Looks like I have to have a comparative taste test very much like the other foodbloggers did the last time.. Ooh exciting…!!!

We moved on to the Grilled Chorizo with Eggplant Relish. It was introduced to our tables with the waiter using the term “aubergine” but quickly switched back to the more commonly-used term, “eggplant” with a wry smile. I’m not sure if it was because he actually received blank stares and realised people might not understand what he meant (I believe the term is used more in the UK), whether it was to match up with the printed menu, or it was just his assumption that we would not know it. Hm.

But the chorizo was nicely charred, but not such that it masked its slight spiciness. I love eggplant (oh, wait, aubergine!), so I truly enjoyed the relish and I thought it went rather well with the chorizo. The eggplant relish was well done, in my opinion, tangy yet not masking the eggplant’s natural sweetness, pairing well with the chorizo to tame down the stronger flavour of the chorizo, coming together quite nicely. There were a few left over before the mains arrived, I asked if anybody would like them. The companion sitting next to me declined politely and suggested I “go ahead”. I replied “OKAY!” and reached for it, much to the chagrin of my companion, who laughed, explaining he thought he would have to push me and egg me on to eat more, but heh.. Guess he didn’t have to!

Asparagus with Toasted Almonds (Not sure, but that’s what I heard, and it does have that nutty flavour) and Lemon. A little different to what was printed on the menu, but lovely nonetheless. I love asparagus, and the nuts added a nutty, butter flavour and great textural contrast. However, I would have preferred that the fibrous ends of the asparagus were removed.

I truly enjoyed the Cherry Tomato Salad with the Buffalo Mozzarelo and Fresh Oregano. Plump, fresh tomatos, and gorgeous soft, mild buffalo mozzarello are the perfect match for me. We thought mint was one of the herbs included in the salad, but it was fresh oregano. It was good to have this along with the main..

.. which was the T-Bone Tagliatta, served with Duck Fat Potatoes. Asparagus was meant to be served with it, but for some reason it wasn’t. I simply assumed that the sides were the tomato salad and the potatoes.

It appears it might be a signature dish of MUMU Grill’s, but in any case, why shouldn’t it be? It was beautifully cooked, medium-rare, just the way I like my beef. It was tender, juicy, the meat itself was flavourful, touched with the scent of herbs. The grease in the pan that it was dripping with was a tad intimidating for me, I must admit..

Finally, we had the Dessert Selection, which consisted of a (Clockwise from top left): a Chocolate Raspberry Tart topped with ice cream, Brown Sugar Pavlova with Pineapple and Passionfruit, Fruit Salad, and a Gingerbread and Mascarpone Sandwich.

Not a fan of meringues but I really liked the pavlova – the sweet fluffiness with the tartness of the pineapple and passionfruit went well together. They were all rather strong, sweet flavours, and I think we soon discovered the use of a fruit salad as a palate cleanser, though it was barely touched at all, as most saw it as the most unexciting piece on the platter.

By the end of it, the belly was full and satisfied, but I was really more excited about what I had learnt that day. Compared to people who have been doing this for years or just had more experience in the field, I am a complete NOOB. But after that session, I felt much more knowledgeable and much more intrigued with food photography, or even using my DSLR. If anything, it was inspiring to be with like-minded people with the same passions, enjoying good food together. It’s all about the going on this food journey together with great company that makes it so worthwhile, after all. $85 well-spent, I say.

Thank you, Billy! For being a wonderful teacher, and for being a sport and graciously posing for myself and a fellow attendee! Will definitely try to apply what I learnt, and fingers crossed, I will get better at it in time.

For others who are interested in food photography, I suggest taking a look at A Table for Two, and keep an eye out for future workshops, if any!

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3 Responses to “ATFT Food Photography Workshop @ MUMU Grill”

  1. big sooks April 29, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    well done chings. nice pics.

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