Malaka Spice is the rare embodiment of a piece of Asian food culture, and two weeks ago I had the pleasure of shooting it. I’ll admit, the first couple of hours were tough. Hell, they were torturous (no points for guessing why) . The constant wafts of fresh, steaming plates containing lamb chops and roti zala with kari kapitan ensured that patiently capturing the food rather than going with my instincts and devouring it was the last thing on my mind.
Still, I am pleased to say that I did manage to shove down my absolute need to guzzle that food and enrapture the beauty of the delicately constructed dishes on my camera – I used a Canon 1Dx with an 85mm f1.2 and a Sony A7r2 with a 24-70mm f2.8 (for anyone who wants to know).
Food photography is an art that should have museums dedicated solely to it, and with the help offered by the ever enthusiastic chef Bhushan, I may just open of my own now (or not :P).
In addition to the glorious plates of ambrosia he created, he also aided in fulfilling every wish and
command to the fullest extent of his power- from the endless jute bags of the freshly sprayed, vivid
vegetables used as props to photographs encapsulating the clichéd shot of garnish cascading from his fingertips. Hats off to him (please don’t hit me for the bad jokes, I have a terrible sense of humour).
The unceasing stream of plate upon plate of food wasn’t the sole model of our photographs – the
gorgeous interiors of Asian influence and a contrasting contemporary bar just a flight of stairs away found its way into my memory cards. Using my cameras (here I switched to a 16-35mm on my canon and stuck to the 24-70 on the Sony), pictures of chic panelling, a wall decorated with posters and records and vast rooms lit by eccentric lights were what I recorded. They have a wall dedicated to photographs of their staff and another to prints of their
various guests over the years.
However, this wasn’t my favourite chapter of our shoot Malakka Spice.
Yes, there were fantastic photographic opportunities and indeed, I did grab them all, but it was the
owners of this restaurant that made my dreams that had plagued me all day to come true: to devour the food that lay before me. And devour I did.