Q&A with unearthed food in film winner Abbie Stewart

Abbie Stewart - food in film winner 2015Abbie Stewart, a 20 year final-year student was our winner of the unearthed® food in film award 2015 – a category of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2014. Her lovely film ‘The Cider Shed’ came about after she began photographing The Cider Shed but felt there was a better story to tell to bring it to life. She took some time to tell us about her film and how her reasons for photographing interesting characters has carried over into her film-making.

Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m originally from Colchester in Essex, but moved to live in the beautiful, rural countryside of Dorset when I was four. I ‘m now 20 and currently finishing my last year of University. After that I’ll be  spending my first summer away from education in Zimbabwe, Africa, to volunteer for 10 weeks. Aside from photography, I love keeping fit, eating good food, travelling and watching countless amounts of ‘Friends!’!

How long have you been working in the industry, what’s your background
I’ve been studying photography for 5 years. Living in a small village in Dorset has opened my eyes to the different creative and interesting events that happen in the area, which are perfect to document. I photograph people because I love meeting interesting characters with a passion for  what they do for a living or as a hobby.

Did you study photography or film at college/university
I studied photography whilst at 6th Form college and continued on at University.  I wanted to apply to a course that didn’t have a generalised title of ‘Photography’ as I felt that I could get completely lost amongst the amount of possibilities. Instead, I looked for a course that had some form of focus within the industry, leading me to Gloucestershire University, where I have studied Editorial  & Advertising Photography for 3 years.

When did you first start making films
I realised my passion for filmmaking when I began my project on ‘The Cider Shed’ in the second year of University as part of a module focused around subcultures. I then revisited  it in my final year. I made a book on ‘The Cider Shed,’ but felt that it still needed to be documented even more.  I felt people would need and want to see what the atmosphere was like and how they men come together and work as a strong community; so I began film-making.

Is film your main job or a hobby?
It’s definitely both for me. I can’t stress how important it is to be passionate about what you do, especially within the photographic industry. Personal work is essential, you need to be constantly shooting and having interesting projects on the go. The industry is interested in your own personal visual language and if they like what you do then they’ll pay you to keep doing it.

What was your inspiration for ‘The Cider Shed’
It was actually my Father’s idea to photograph the shed and the cider making. Once he mentioned it I realised how unique and original the story was and I was determined to make the most of it. The men are all such characters, which allows it to be even more fun to photograph and film.

How long did the film take to make?
I shot the film over a few years, going back each time as I gained new experience from University. Once I knew how I wanted to film it I allocated specific aspects to focus on at each shoot. Overall, I did around 6 shoots of filming and countless hours of editing.

Who was on the team?
I filmed, produced and edited all of the film by myself. However, I always had guidance, advice and constructive feedback from my tutors.

What was the hardest/most difficult thing about making the film?
Deciding whether or not to have a voiceover or narration. I did get my Father to record a voiceover about the process of making the cider, however we decided it wasn’t needed and if anything it became a distraction from the visuals of the film.

Another difficult task was editing the film down from the original 5 minutes to 2 minutes for the competition. I focused on not only the process of making the cider, but also on their characters and the atmosphere in the shed. But I had to consider what was appropriate for the competition and so I edited out the majority and focssed on the cider-making process

What gadget can you not do without when you’re filming?
Aside from my Canon 5D Mk III, I couldn’t have done without my Zoom H2n Portable Recorder, it’s  so easy to record clear sound, making the editing process much easier!! !

Your top 3 tips for making a foodie film

  1. Understand your visual language; what do you want people to get/feel from your film
  2. Consider every composition as if it’s a photograph!
  3. Make it interesting but remember that simplicity is key! You want your audience to want to eat/ smell/feel/taste what you’re filming. Keep it short, simple and visually interesting.

Where did you hear about the unearthed® food in film competition and how has winning helped your career
My tutor mentioned it and said that my film would be perfect to enter. Winning has allowed me to see how I can adapt my work to fit certain publications and genres of photography, opening my doors to new possibilities. It has given me the confidence to pursue my filmmaking and I am now freelancing as a filmmaker and portrait photographer!

And now for some foodies questions!
What’s your favourite dish
That’s a difficult one! I love food so much, in terms of a takeaway it would have to be either fish & chips (only from Lyme Regis!) or an Indian. However, if I am cooking then it has to be a vegetarian lasagne

What’s your most memorable meal
That has to be my Nan & Dad’s roast dinners, they bring the family together and taste amazing every time

Where in the world would you most like to eat
I love Italian food and I’ve never been to Italy so it would have to be there

To see more of Abbie’s work, head to her website or follow her on twitter @abbiephotog.

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Limited edition lines come to a (temporary) end

Parting is such sweet sorrow, as the saying goes. Next week 18th May, we say goodbye or au revoir to some of our products. Our limited edition bay is coming to end, but also some of our other lines are coming out permanently.

Why do we have a limited edition range, we hear you ask – it’s a bit confusing? Well we have an all-year round range, which carries our staples and the lines we’re loved for (Chorizo, Mixed Olives with Rosemary & Black Pepper) which can be found across Waitrose stores and Ocado.  But then twice a year our range changes with more innovative and unusual products (Smoked Semi-Dried Tomatoes, Olives with Sipsmith Gin) which are available for a limited time, in limited stores.  All of your favourites (the best-sellers) will return and the ones that weren’t so popular, but we know have potential, will be further developed and improved.  Our limited edition bay will be back in September – so not too long to wait.

So here are the movers and shakers.

Leaving us forever:

Chilli & lemon prawnsGoose rillettesOlives with Sipsmith GinSmoked Semi-Dried Tomatoes
Chilli & lemon prawns
Goose rillettes
Olives with Sipsmith Gin
Smoked Semi-Dried Tomatoes

  • Goose rillettes
  • Smoked semi-dried tomatoes
  • Chilli & lemon prawns
  • Olives with Sipsmith Gin

Limited edition, so leaving us until September:

Chorizo meatballsCooking chorizo with manchegoKing prawn and chorizo pinchosSpeck Alto Adige PDICalabrian Selection PackFrench Pyrenees HamItalian Roast Pork LoinItalian Cured Meat SelectionBresaola ValtellinaRoasted Prosciutto CottoAntispasto Selection with BreadsticksMixed Olives with Tomato AntipastiSmoked Semi-Dried TomatoesOlives with Chipotle & ManchegoMarket Olive MixCitrus Nocellara OlivesMezze Selection Snap PackTapas Selection Snap PackFree Range Chorizo OmeletteFree Range Spinach OmeletteTarte Flambee
Chorizo meatballs
Cooking chorizo with manchego
King prawn and chorizo pinchos
Speck Alto Adige PDI
Calabrian Selection Pack
French Pyrenees Ham
Italian Roast Pork Loin
Italian Cured Meat Selection
Bresaola Valtellina
Roasted Prosciutto Cotto
Antispasto Selection with Breadsticks
Mixed Olives with Tomato Antipasti
Smoked Semi-Dried Tomatoes
Olives with Chipotle & Manchego
Market Olive Mix
Citrus Nocellara Olives
Mezze Selection Snap Pack
Tapas Selection Snap Pack
Free Range Chorizo Omelette
Free Range Spinach Omelette
Tarte Flambee

  • Bresaola
  • Speck Alti Adige IGP
  • French Pyrenees Ham
  • Italian Roasted Pork Loin
  • Italian Cured Meat Selection
  • Calabrian Selection
  • Prosciutto Cotto
  • Antipasti selection with breadsticks
  • Mezze selection snap pack
  • Market olive mix
  • Citrus Nocellara olives
  • Olives with chipotle and manchego
  • Free range Chorizo omelette
  • Spanish Spinach Omelette
  • Chorizo meatballs
  • Cooking chorizo with manchego
  • Alsace Pizette
  • Chorizo with manchego
  • Prawn and chorizo pinchos

We know it can be a bit confusing but the good news is that our new website (launching in June) will make it easier to see whether a product is part of the year round line, or a limited edition line.

So in the meantime, get yourself to Waitrose and grab your favourites (all on 2 for £5) until they leave the shelves.

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unearthed food in film 2015 winner is announced

Last night it was announced that our winner of unearthed® Food in Film, a category of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2015, was Abbie Stewart (UK) for her brilliant short, The Cider Shed.

At a fab awards event, complete with unearthed® canapes (of course), Champagne Taittinger, and Pink Lady® Apples nibbles and cocktails, we were delighted and moved by Abbie’s excitement at being announced as the winner.

Our founder, Simon, presented her with her prize – a cheque for £1000 for the category, which was judged by George Motz, Founder and Director of the Food Film Festival, NYC, Nik Powell, Director of the National Film & Television School and James Winter, Producer, BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.

“The competition was intensely fierce,” says Simon, “there were entries from across the world and the standard was phenomenal. Abbie’s film about a group of men, without any self consciousness, gathering to make cider as they have done for many years, having won the Documentary section, stood out from the rest, however, for its charm and tenderness.”

Lisa Nieschlag (Germany) was runner up, having won the Non-documentary section for her film, Chocolate & Cranberry Scones.  Her delightful film shows a little kitchen helper making some very delicious-looking scones!

Also, a first for this year, the People’s Choice #foodinfilm winner was Barbara Zonzin (Italy/Netherlands) for her Choco Thriller. We love this film as it depicts the making of a chocolate salami (perfect for us), in a slighty Hitchcock-esque way.

The evening was compered by chair of the judges, journalist and food critic, Jay Rayner, and took place in front of more than 400 people at the Champagne Taittinger reception, many of whom had flown in from across the world for the occasion, from Italy, South Africa, Australia, Holland and more.

Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year
For those of you not in the know about the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year it’s the world’s leading celebration of the art of food photography. In its fourth year, more than 20,000 entries have been submitted since its inception. Also this year’s awards had several exciting new categories. They included the Food for the Family for images showing families eating together, won by Chris Terry (UK) for Family Meal, Chad, shot for the World Food Programme.

The esteemed judging panel included David Loftus, Jamie Oliver’s photographer, Michel Roux Jr, chef patron, Sanjeev Kapoor, India’s culinary superstar, Emily Luchetti, Chair, James Beard Foundation, NYC.

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Live BelowTheLine

Live #BelowtheLine for £1 a day - the unearthed challengeWorking in a food business we’re overwhelmed with food and extremely fortunate. We know this, but sometimes it’s easy to take it for granted.  But we discovered what it was like to remove these options and choices when we took on the Live #BelowtheLine challenge in aid of Action Against Hunger.  Our mission was to live on £1 for one day, so with a team of 6 we had the grand total of £6 for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

When you lack cash, you lack choice.  And with lack of choice come increased planning, compromise and restriction.

Poring over the bean recipes on the live below the line site we carefully chose what we thought would sustain us for the day.  We searched mySupermarket for our best options, calculated the cost of our exact quantities and used our excel skills to ensure compliance with the budget.

The shop presented new challenges too.  Blinkers on we walked up and down the aisles, sticking to our list and heading only for the budget lines or the most cost effective options. Tins and weighed fresh produce were the most favourable options and snacks a definite no-no. With choices removed a casual wandering was out of the question and suddenly shopping became a much more sobering and less fun (discovery) session.

In terms of what we ate during the day, we actually all really enjoyed the food.  A late lunch of bean burgers and potato wedges tasted sumptuous and our mixed beans and rice for dinner were pretty amazing too – eaten late, slowly and savoured.  Spending time to consciously eat food, when you have less is really important – allowing your body to register that you are eating and feel satiated.

Sarah all ready for her live #belowtheline challengeCinnamon-soaked porridge with banana and yogurtPreparation of the bean burgersMaking the bean pattysMixed bean and veg with rice dinnersBean burgers with potato wedges with yogurt
Sarah all ready for her live #belowtheline challenge
Cinnamon-soaked porridge with banana and yogurt
Preparation of the bean burgers
Making the bean pattys
Mixed bean and veg with rice dinners
Bean burgers with potato wedges with yogurt

What we missed was our tea – mugs of hot water just weren’t the same – but our budget didn’t allow for the nation’s favourite tipple. There was a distinctly subdued atmosphere round our desks and we all quietly got on with our work. And I hate to admit it but I was slightly grumpy and lacking in concentration.

We felt for Simon who had to review a mouth-watering spread of NPD dishes and not eat a crumb.  And we had to explain, to well-meaning colleagues, that kitchen freebies kind of defeated the object of our challenge.

Post-work our evening habits were curtailed somewhat; staying late to postpone dinner, abandoning exercise due to hunger and struggling to sleep. We can only imagine that these are choices which people living below the line have to make every day.

Taking part in the live #BelowTheLine challenge certainly shaped our day and gave us pause to think and appreciate how fortunate we are.  It generated discussion around the office and gave us an insight into how life can be very different with food (choices) seriously reduced.

If you want to take part in the week-long challenge, check out more here:


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A three-peaked challenge

Today’s post comes from our newest team member, Marketing Assistant Sarah….

With each year that goes by I try to set myself a new physical challenge that I can have as a goal to train for across a few months of the year. Last year I ran a half marathon (I could barely run 4 miles when I started training!) A three peaked challenge - Ben Nevis - the unearthed challengeand this time I face my most demanding activity to date. When the opportunity to climb the three highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales in just 24 hours came along, I went for it! You may wonder what an earth drives me to endure these gruelling exercises?

Yes it is about getting fitter and achieving something I hadn’t thought of doing before but it also gives me the opportunity to raise some money for charities needing a little support. This year all donations are going towards Camp Project Wales. Camp Project Wales  - providing action holidays children from Halton Borough
Camp Project Wales is a charity that one of our colleagues is already really involved with. He has organised the challenge and all of us taking part are supporting this one cause. The organisation provides kids from the Halton borough in Liverpool with an action and adventure holiday to Wales. Here, they can build up their self-esteem and confidence through activities such as horse-riding, swimming, canoeing and much more.

Training has been intense. Having joined unearthed® in September the balance between food and exercise was flipped in favour of food and let’s be honest, I was never going to complain about that! This meant that as we entered the New Year, a new regime had to begin. I’ve found myself at Saturday morning Spin classes sporting neon lycra, squatting in circuits and even running up the endless flights of stairs to my flat. Each day I shuffle into work with a muscle I never even knew existed aching from the exercise of the previous day.

So on 18th April (just days away!) with enough Clif bars to feed an army I’ll be bracing myself for the snowy peaks of Ben Nevis. The Three Peaks challenge will begin.

If you fancy sponsoring Sarah and the rest of the team, you can donate to their team donation page.

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