Moe Kafer was our 2nd place documentary winner of the unearthed food in film award 2014 – a category of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2014.
Her wonderful film ‘Chapati at Golden Temple Kitchens’ (scroll down to watch) filmed in India, is full of colour and detail. She took some time out of her busy scedule to tell us how she got into food film-making and how taking time to see the bigger picture and detail, is essential when it comes to documentary food film making.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Canadian-born, but living in the UK for the past 15 years.
How long have you been working in the industry, what’s your background?
I’ve always been interested in photography and film, studying multi-media (film, television, photography, graphic design & journalism) in Vancouver. I then went on to work as a newspaper journalist for 6 years and felt I needed to go somewhere bigger like London in order to open up my options.
I managed a photographic agency in London for 4 years when I got here and worked with some amazing photographers whilst learning the business side of things and developing myself creative vision. I have now been freelance for the past 11 years.
When did you first get into film?
I’ve always loved the medium of film and worked as a stills photographer on a few films & TV shows. I love the production of how films get made. In my job at the agency I directed a lot of corporate video shoots and when DSLRs offered a more accessible and affordable segue into film for us stills shooters, I jumped at the opportunity.
Is film your main job or a hobby?
I’m primarily a photographer but now the demand to provide ‘moving image’ as we call it, is very high. It’s a valuable tool to have and really helps diversify your offering as a commercial photographer. And besides that, it’s an amazing medium – especially for food.
How did the film come about?
I was working on a TV program about curries and was shooting the book to go with it. We were a very small crew so I also worked as second camera on the show. We went to this amazing temple in Amritsar, India and in the back they have the kitchen which is in my film (see below). It was like being in a candy shop – stunning colours, steam rising, smiling faces – it was begging to be filmed!
How long did the film take to make?
I shot the film relatively quickly. We only had the day there and we had a program to shoot and I had to cover the whole place photographically. But I had a bit of free time while the camera crew went off to do some interviews and shot it then. I shot and edited the whole thing myself. Just me – go team!
What was the hardest/most difficult part about making the film?
I have to say, the hardest thing about making this film was stopping filming. The location and subject matter were so beautiful I could have shot there for days. Maybe I’ll go back one day. (go to the bottom to see more images from the shoot)
Do you need any special equipment to make food films
The only special equipment you need to make food films really is a knowledge of food – as a foundation really. Food offers it’s own challenges and without knowledge of how to get around things like an awkward aubergine or a dusty chocolate, you’re pretty much stuffed.
The other thing that is very helpful, especially in the documentary genre, is a keen eye. You can look at a scene from a broad sense and not really get anything from it – but take some time and watch what’s going on, look a little closer at all the details and your film will really come alive.
That and amazing daylight! Food really lends itself to being shot in daylight.
What gadget can you not do without when you’re photographing/filming?
A tripod is pretty much mandatory especially when shooting food with a DSLR. A rig is great when you’re doing wide stuff or action but when you want to get beautiful hero shots of food they must be still or it can be unnerving.
Where did you hear about unearthed® food in film?
I think I saw the competition through social media and have entered every year. Last year I had a finalist image and a couple of honourable mentions.
How has winning the competition helped your career?
Winning this competition has given me a great marketing tool and has definitely brought me a bigger audience. Plus I love having the logo on my email signature!
And now a bit about food
What’s your favourite dish?
Difficult to say what my favourite dish is as I love food – hence the food filming & photography. However, I fell in love with Pho while I was travelling in Vietnam. I ate it every day for a month, from street vendors. It’s so fantastically flavourful and hearty whilst being light and refreshing. I still eat it regularly – luckily Vietnamese food is de rigure these days so it’s not hard to find.
What’s your most memorable meal
It was in Luang Prabang, Laos. There’s an amazing street food market there and they do these incredible whole fish in this tamarind marinade. The cook them whole on a grill on bamboo sticks. You eat them like a lolly – off the stick whilst browsing all the culinary delights. And for afters there is a woman who cooks these little coconut rice cakes in these wrought-iron dishes with tiny holes in them. They are crispy on the outside and when you bite into them this creamy coconut goodness pours out. Absolute heaven!
Where in the world would you most like to eat?
I would have loved to have the opportunity to eat at El Bulli in Spain but unfortunately I would have to travel back in time as it is sadly now closed.
To see more of Moe’s work visit her website
Oo là là!
The three lines, which include Olives with Lemon and Coriander, Mixed Olives with Feta and Olives with Sun Dried Tomatoes, are being launched this week and we hope they’ll shake up the chilled olive and antipasti category – which is a little bit uninspired at the moment.
Our Simon, founder of the brand says, “We’ve always wanted to take unearthed® into new countries. We currently export to a handful of international destinations, but this new arrangement with Système U is big for us. The UK olive and antipasti category is experiencing strong growth and we don’t want to limit this success to the UK market only. We’re really excited about working with Système U and taking the unearthed® brand to new places. We will carry on supporting Action Against Hunger with 1 euro cent from each export pack sold going to the charity.”
To see more product details, visit the unearthed France products page on our unearthed® website.
Today France, tomorrow the world! #keepdiscovering
Once again, we’ve made some changes to our sliced meat range and we thought we’d give you some great new limited edition flavours to experience. We know that a lot of you were sad to lose some of our old meats (no we’ve not got the Hungarian Pepperoni back, sorry). So this month, some good news – the Italian Roast pork loin is back and even better, along with some other new lines. But hurry, these are only on sale until the beginning of November:
- Roast Prosciutto Cotto – Cotto in Italian means cooked. This ham is cooked and then roasted for a richer flavour. We feel a continental ploughmans with focaccia, artichokes and gorgonzola coming on.
- French Pyrenees Ham – This is the same ham that’s in our popular French Selection pack. It’s produced in the beautiful foothills of the Pyrenees – hence the name. We like it wrapped around large field mushrooms and baked with garlic [recipe].
- Calabrian Selection Pack – Calabria is in the toe of the boot of Italy. With this selection pack we give you 3 traditional meats from the area, with lots of traditional peppers. Any of these meats go perfectly with with a tomato and rocket pesto ciabatta bruschetta
- Bresaola Della Valtellina PGI* – this special cured beef is from Valtellina, in Italy, famed for its Bresaola. You can eat it just like normal cured ham and it goes well with rocket and parmesan.
- Italian Roast Pork Loin – This is a favourite from our very first range! Bigger pack, but just as good. This is Italian roasted pork loin rubbed with a herb mix for a lovely flavour. We favour this in an Italian bagel alongside fresh basil and mozzarella.
- Speck Alto Adige PGI* – A distinctly flavoured smoked ham from the mountainous South Tyrol – In Alto Adige, Italy’s most northern province. As well as a PGI* it also has a much more delicate flavour than other smoked hams [recipe].
They are all on sale at Waitrose, in our 2 for £5 deal, so that makes them even more tasty.
Sadly we’ve said goodbye to our Prosciutto di San Daniele and our Red Hot Piri Piri olives, but who knows, they might be back?
* PGI – the title ‘Protected Geographical Indication’ means that of the products are authentic and can’t be imitated by others. Of the production, processing or preparation at least one of these must take place in a specific place in order for the product to use a geographical name in the title.
A chilled van, lots of samples, a fibre glass cow and a BBQ. Sounds random, but it was the packing list for our summer events.
This year Carrie decided we should take the brand on the road and head off to the Battle Proms picnic concerts. Hosted at stately homes around the UK, patriotic picnickers can enjoy some dramatic cavalry, nostalgic Spitfire fly-overs, choreographed music and fireworks and even enjoy some canon fire. The open-air event allows revellers to bring along their own food, drink, chairs (and even marquees) and sit back and enjoy the entertainment.
And…try some unearthed olives and chorizo and meet US!
Each weekend Simon, Carrie or Susie headed off with a little group of enthusiastic volunteers from around the business; the management team, Directors, technical team, development team, insight – even partners & family.
Inside our great big tent (to keep us dry when it rained and drizzled) we waxed lyrical about the brand, tempted visitors into trying olives, discussed the difference between cured and semi-cured chorizo, encouraged people to name our cow and even took turns cooking on the BBQ. At times, we even had to dissuade grown women from riding the cow.
We met some great people and had a lot of fun – so much so that it didn’t feel like work. At times we had to work hard to get people to sample olives, but on the flip side nearly got our hands bitten off, when giving out chorizo samples to those queuing to get in. Olives are a bit of a love them/hate them marmite product (see the video below) but the events have helped us to see how we can spread the word and raise awareness of our brand. For some people, this was the first time they’d heard of us, but that’s ok as we’re only in Waitrose and Ocado.
Along the way we made some new friends; pyro technicians, cavalry riders, cocktail makers and musicians – many of whom became our strongest brand ambassadors at the stand, heckling passers-by to come and try the freebies.
Carrie likes driving a large chilled van and Susie could talk for hours about the brand (and we mean hours). Jeremy never wants to hear the name ‘Cloggy’ for our cow again, but then Chris loved it that people went to so much effort to think of names. As for Simon he enjoyed being mooed at when he approached a crowd armed with the cow!
So thanks to everyone who came along, chatted to us, tried the olives, challenged us about the brand and entered our competition. You helped make the events.
And for those who did enter – our cow now has a name Helga van Moo – thanks to Fiona Silver for naming her. We also have a stack of cookery books on the way to Kakoli Thompson, as our random spot-winner for opting in to receive our newsletter.
We look forward to getting out on the road again, in the very near future!
We always love working with new brands and we were all excited when Fever Tree asked us to be involved in their pop-up gin bar. The idea was that they were to take over a space in Hoxton Square for 6 weeks, stock 160 gins and give people the option of some tapas platters. We leapt at the chance to get involved and came up with some ideas for them.
Things picked up here and it all got a bit hectic, but finally in the last week that the bar was open we got a chance to pop along and we weren’t disappointed. It was a lovely balmy summers evening, so the seats outside were perfect. Being newbies to Hoxton Square we wondered whether we’d fit in with the edgy crowd but our fears were in vain. The bar atmosphere was great – it had a nice relaxed feeling and the bar was buzzing with couple and groups enjoying after-work drinks and catching up with friends.
As you can imagine, a menu of 160 gins was pretty overwhelming, although they were helpfully categorised by type of gin. However, our server Sophie, was really knowledgable, recommending which gins to try and how to bring out the best taste with the correct accompanying Fever Tree tonic. As we were quite late in the season to visit, a few of the gins were unavailable, but we were suggested some great alternatives (and it gives us a chance to buy the others ourselves).
We were lucky enough to have out seats for the evening, so it was a relaxed affair for us, trying and testing different gins. But the bar was very popluar and many people were turned away as they were without a reservation. A determined few came back several times, checking to see if there was any availability – some were lucky!
As we looked around, there were quite a few tables eating tapas, but of course we wasted no time in loudly praising the menu (no-one knew we were undercover brand reps) and oohing and aahing over the tough choice to make.
The platters, when they arrived, looked great (we would say that as we’re biased). We also loved the bread and olive oil (not from us) was a bargain £3 for about 8 slices – more than enough to soak up our double gin measures. In fact, all thoughts of dinner went out the window after supping fancy gin in large glasses and picking at our tapas.
All three gins we tried were lovely, but our stand-out favourite was the Opihr gin. As a spiced, more savoury gin we were intrigued to see whether we’d prefer it over our previous sweeter gins. We could definitely taste the cardamom, cumin and grapefruit. But the stand out was the, not unpleasant, peppery taste that lingers after you swallow. Garnished with a chilli we were hooked. A great find and it fits with our #keepdiscovering theme – which is what we’re all about. Internet searches have since been made and it is now on our Ocado shopping list!
- Munich gin with mediterranean tonic, garnished with rosemary
- Foxdenton Wimslow Plum gin with bitter lemon, garnished with blueberries
- Opihr gin with mediterranean tonic, garnished with green chilli
So when’s the next gin pop-up then Fever Tree? Put us all down for tickets!!