What a difference a year makes! Ive been so busy lately that I almost let a whole year of My Square Frying Pan sneak by me without noticing.
I started blogging just over a year ago as a hobby, somewhere to cultivate my love of cooking and to channel my incessant talk about eating. Over the past 12 months online friends have become real-life friends, Ive had some amazing opportunities to eat and meet the very lovely blogging community, Ive been to Vietnam, Cambodia and New York on dining odysseys but just as importantly, Ive reignited my passion for writing. Ultimately the blog has resulted in the pursuit of my dream of becoming a freelance writer which is super exciting!
I’ve just been accepted into a degree in Professional Writing and Editing in Melbourne too so theres no going back now!! Wish me luck and thank you to you, my readers. The lovely comments and feedback I receive makes its all worthwhile and I cant wait to share more of the journey with you.
2 weeks ago I headed to Sydney to take up a class on food styling and photography with the very talented Dario Milano. Dario has a small working studio in Rosebery which is fully equipped with a small prep kitchen along with his photography set up and floor to ceiling windows that let in all that glorious natural light. However, what really ignited some serious envy was Dario’s carefully selected prop shelves, stacked full of multicoloured and textured kitchen, glass and dinnerware. What I would give for that collection…
Our class ranged from absolute beginners to working professionals and despite this, no question was too much trouble and Dario was most generous with sharing his knowledge and experience. Throughout the morning Dario showed us how to let the food “do the talking”. By “talking” I mean by the colour palate of your props, the texture of the food you are shooting and from which angle and lighting as best suited to the mood you are trying to capture.
Dario also shared his tips on creating the best work set up and work flow to ensure your photoshoot is as seamless and professional as possible from table to pixel. Later in the class we got to choose items from the prop shelves and use them in our own little mini shoot to put into action what we had learnt over the morning. I loved that I was introduced to a number of new perspectives to take into consideration when photography my dishes in the future. I highly recommend one of Dario’s classes if for nothing else then getting a decent play amongst the prop shelves! You can check out his facebook page here, where he shares regular tips and feedback on food styling technique and photography.
After a morning full of photographing and talking about food, I had worked up an appetite. In my researching before heading to Sydney, I discovered that “Kitchen by Mike” was conveniently located in the next block up. I’ve been hearing great things both about the cafeteria and the designer retail space housed in a refurbished warehouse for a while now so I was thrilled that this opportunity had prevailed.
Upon entering the warehouse, you are drenched with natural light coming from the open back garden. Large industrial light fittings shine down on rustic communal tables with mismatched chairs. Looking up, the exposed beams and whitewashed walls add to charm of this industrial space. The seasonal offerings are served up canteen style and the combination of salads, main fare, sides and desserts and cakes are changed daily. You grab your plate and just tell the guys what you want a bit of. (Ahh…yeah like EVERYTHING!!)
On the day I visited, it was bitterly cold outside and it rained non-stop all day so I was up for something hot and comforting. I filled my plate with roast chicken, roast sweet potato drizzled with pomegranate syrup and a roast beetroot, black lentil and goats cheese salad. I was not disappointed.
The coffee is excellent too!
After you’ve stuffed your face like no tomorrow, its best to walk around their retail space located at the opposite end of the warehouse to let your food digest. Here you can find cook books, design mags, crafty DIY, jewellery, furniture and homewares like bed linen by Rachel Castle and plenty of the stuff you love to see and read about on The Design Files.
And just when you thought I couldnt possibly fit anything else in, special mention goes to local Neutral Bay dining institution, Radio Cairo where I went with friends later that night. This restaurant serves a mash up of Moroccan, African and Caribbean flavours and it just works – you can tell by the line sneaking back down the street of eager diners. We filled our table with seafood and chicken curry, spice crushed bbq steak and “bongo bread” (like a flat Mexican style tortilla) but could hardly finish because we were so full!
If you’re ever visiting up the road also in Neutral Bay, then special mention goes to the local favourite bar Honeyrider. I highly recommend their house special The Pornstar Martini. Made with freshly juiced passionfruit and served with a shot of champagne, its the perfect way to end the evening (but I mentioned nothing about civilised!!)