A picture is worth a thousand words, especially in cookbooks. What is it like to be behind the lens and capture taste and texture of dishes created by one of the world’s greatest chefs?
Tom Hopkins has been Chef Jacques Pepin’s photographer and videographer for 35 years. “My job is to take a photograph where people can taste the dish,” Tom says. For one of Chef Pepin’s books, he took 34,000 pictures! Although the digital age now makes his life easier, Tom still shoots with an old school approach while using modern day equipment. For the cookbooks, Tom takes the photograph immediately after Chef Pepin finishes the dish. “I’ve never cooked a dish twice for Tom. We never fake the food. Tom shoots it when the dish comes out,” Chef Pepin says.
In addition to more cookbooks and shows, Tom is working with Chef Pepin on another special project: The Artistry of Jacques Pepin. For several years, Tom has been documenting and photographing the vast artwork of Chef Pepin. Reproductions are now available for purchase via the website. I bought one of the giclees that Chef Pepin had donated to The Culinary Trust. Chef Pepin has an incredible palate and palette. He is truly a culinary artist.
Taste memories are the photographs of our hearts. In a future post I will share some of the photographs from my heart with you. Meanwhile, for those who like to document their taste memories in the kitchen or in restaurants, Tom has two recommendations: 1) Lighting. “The best is backlighting to capture the texture of the food;” and 2) Composition. “The tighter you can focus on a dish, the better you will see the ingredients.”
Please share some of your favorite food photos in the comment section.
Savor the day!