A Personal Chef And A Potter
I met Carmen del Campo-Roy and Rosie Torrie-Allen several times at events. Carmen, who is Spanish, is a personal chef. She has lived in France since 2010, having met and fallen in love with her French husband in Japan, in 2008.
Rosie, who is Irish, is a potter and has lived in France for many years with her British husband.
Last Spring Carmen suggested we pool our ressources and talents to style and shoot a Summer presentation of their ‘products’.
A Culinary Photo Shoot In Rural France
So last week we got together at Rosie’s beautiful home in another ancient village, just a few minutes from me, to photograph Carmen’s delicious food, in and on Rosie’s creations.
I set up a table in Rosie’s garden with a plain white table cloth, as, whenever possible, I prefer to use natural light. Fortunately, the weather was perfect.
International Style Starters
To start with Carmen had made Tapas, shown here on one of Rosie’s hand thrown yellow plates, including: Garlic Prawns, Marinated Black Olives, Salmorejo, a purée of tomato and bread, originating from Cordoba in Andalucia, south Spain. It is made from skinned tomatoes, bread, oil, garlic and a Manchebo cheese board.
This was followed by Green Asparagus Soup with Mozzarella in a deep blue bowl and matching plate.
For two hours Carmen worked her culinary magic in the kitchen, Rosie brought each dish out to me as it was ready and I styled and shot.
Carmen has a great eye for presenting her dishes, the orchid was her idea, perhaps due to the time she spent working as an engineer in the automobile industry, in Japan.
Rosie makes a lot of these deep blue bowls, plates and more, as the colour is always a popular choice with her clients. I had assumed the the deep blue would be more suited to a Winter theme, but the colour turned out to be just as appropriate for our Summer theme, when teamed with the subtle yellow plates and little soft grey bowls.
Fusion Cuisine In France
Next on the menu was this mouth watering Salmon Tataki with Mango and Red Pepper Salsa, presented on an unusual blue and white plate.
Rosie let me rummage around in her kitchen draws and cupboards to find props like this decorative fork and spoon.
A Creative’s Hands At Work
I enjoy watching chefs’ hands when they are working and Carmen was happy to prepare ‘live’ this Nectarine and Goat’s Cheese Salad.
Fusion Melon Salad
Next on the menu was a Prawn, Melon and Raspberry Summer Salad that Carmen likes to serve to her clients in a hollowed out melon.
Presented on Rosie’s yellow plates and served in little grey bowls.
The Sangria was so tempting, unfortunately for me, I do not drink alcohol as it gives me terrible migraines, but I admired the floating fruit.
French Dessert, Fruit Or Patisserie?
Now, it was time for dessert, my favourite part of any meal.
Pralin and Strawberry Nougatine Cups… these I did taste, served on Rosie’s blue brown plates with matching expresso cups.
I had a great time styling and photographing such visually pleasing food and dishes.
There is a saying in French: ‘La gourmandise est un vilain défaut’,
‘Greed is an ugly vice’.
Changed on this napkin to: ‘La Gourmandise est un bien jolie défaut’, that I like to translate as:
‘The joy of food is a wonderful sin’.
Women Entrepreneurs in France
As you know I live in a small village, west of Paris, in what I think of as the Parisian countryside. The west of Paris, as with many cities, is more affluent than the east and for this reason there are several multinational schools, which attract a multinational community of families and the unfortunate trailing spouses.
A few years ago I became a member of Femmepreneurs France, a dynamic association of women entrepreneurs.
As many members are expatriates in France, or have an international background, we share an interest in cultural diversity. Most of the members speak English and other languages and one of the joys of getting together for me, is to be able to speak English.