The French term "mise en place" means "putting in place". According to my Le Cordon Bleu text book, it has become a professional password in the culinary world. The mise en place process starts with assembling your tools. Followed by the assembly of all ingredients. Then all raw ingredients are washed, prepped, cut and measured. Only after this, should a chef really begin the actual dish preparation.
Tom and I also call our photo shoot preparation "mise en place". It is our very own version of the culinary term. It helps us get ourselves together and ready for our food photography projects.
Tom gathers his "tools" to be transported on location with us. There is a sophisticated lighting package consisting of studio strobes, stands, soft boxes, umbrellas and a white seamless backdrop. Next is the camera, several lenses, macro tubes, tripod, flash trigger, filters, spare batteries and memory cards. Then finally, an iPad which facilitates live wireless transfer of images off the camera for an onsite preview.
I then get my food styling kit "ingredients" together. My kit has many funky items that I simply can't work without. There are always tons of Q-Tips and Glycerin. There are several tweezers and X-ACTO blades. There is a myriad of paintbrushes and squeeze bottles, and lots of little odd mini spoons and pins. All come in handy when those pesky little food particles sully up our perfect camera-ready subjects.
And finally, very much like the last step in the culinary "mise en place", I create a shot list storyboard. It is a digital assembly and visual prep that guides us and our clients during our photo shoot process. It has detailed subject descriptions, reference images, camera angles and lighting specs, as well as prop and garnish details.
The images you see before you benefitted from all of the above, and most importantly, from the amazing vision of our very talented chef client at Sutton Creek. Her culinary philosophy combines naturally exotic ingredients with familiar favorites to create a unique dining experience. For instance, her Tuna Tartar on Crispy Rice is uplifted to a new sensory realm with the use of Shiso leaves, organic Mizuna and fragrant picked seaweed. A succulent New York Steak is beautifully balanced by purple fingerling potatoes and vibrant green Romanesco florets. And a chocolate and raspberry parfait is delicately flavored with aromatic ginger snaps.