To a Food Photographer, good chefs are akin to rockstars, and being asked to photograph them is a pretty nerve jangling commission. Their reputations are fearsome – with tongues as sharp as their knives, patience as thin as a ginger twille, and a stranger in their kitchen about as welcome as a soggy bottomed pie.
When I was hired to photograph the legendary Fergus Henderson for the Lucky Onion group (http://theluckyonion.com/) I was intrigued by having the chance to try his signature roast Bone Marrow, a dish that is swooned over by foodies and other chefs alike, but I admit to being more than a little bit anxious that the man himself would be a bit of a Sweeny Todd figure … Happily it was not to be. Mr Henderson is a delightful, slightly owlish, eccentric who is witty and passionate about everything he does and has a tangible lust for life and good living. From our first hello his eyebrows shot up and he whisked me off to the kitchen, keen to show me the food. It is no secret that he suffers from Parkinsons, but this has done little to dampen his passion for his food, and he deals with the disease with a slight disregard, describing the food with extravangant gestures when he can’t find the words he is searching for. One afternoon in his company was not long enough, and I will be making St Johns a priority next time I am in London for a second round of what he described as a “happy bone moment”.
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