Category Archives: Market

Photo Contests and Shooting What you Love

Eggs at the Versailles, FR market.

I entered this image in a food photography contest a few months back and was shortlisted as a finalist. The image was taken at the outdoor market in Versailles on my vacation last year. The vendor had crates and crates of eggs stacked on his table. The shadows of the eggs in the crates, the fine lines and symmetry of the crates caught my eye. And there goes the click. How this image versus the other mages I submitted made it to the finals I do not know.  We never know the minds of the judges. We can only wish that the image we submit somehow resonates with those judges. I entered another contest last year and scored very well with one judge – but one is not enough. The others had a different idea for the criteria for winning. Win or lose – doesn’t matter – what matters is being in the game – taking forward action and being confident in your own style and the value you bring to the table. No judge in a contest can take that away from you. Shoot what you love – and keep shooting it. Shoot, refine, shoot some more. Rinse and repeat. Even if you never enter a contest, this is the formula for excellent work. So go out and do excellent work.

So why do we enter photography contests? For me, it was all about validation. To know that the months of hard work and practice bring tangible results. To compete with professionals and amateurs on a global scale  – and wind up on the shortlist – this is a really great motivator to keep doing what I do.

Do any of you doubt  your talent and ability every now and then like I do? Sometimes the work of photography and art is isolated. Hold fast to your vision. The world needs it. Art matters – in history – and now more than ever. Your work enriches the world around us. Keep doing it – over and over and over again.

My agreement as a finalist was that I would not publish the image on any social media until the winners were announced on April 23. Although I did not place or win my category, “Cream of the Crop”, I was thrilled to be a finalist. It is so satisfying to do work that you love and get paid and recognized for it.

There were over 5000 entries and about 100 finalists in all categories. Each category had seven finalists and there was an overall winner. My image was on display in a five-day exhibition of the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2013 at the Mall Galleries, London SW1 from Wednesday 24th – Sunday 28th April 2013.

Keep directing energy to the thing that you love and love will come back to you in ways you could never imagine.

Promenades Gourmandes – Paris Cooking School – Main Course (and Veggies)

 

Today’s post is about the main course and veggies. This was our menu:

Cheese plate with a lovely bottle of Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine

Petits Souffles de Christophie

Veal Paupiettes aux Herbes filled with spinach and mushroom

Saute of potato and celeriac

White Asparagus

Tarte aux Pommes Nougatine

Red wine (again from Valdé Loire, but I forgot to snap a picture of it – it was delicious though) and baguette

 

Now we get to the main course – a veal scaloppine stuffed with a spinach and mushroom duxelle along with the side vegetables of white asparagus and a saute of potatoes and celeriac.
Earlier in the morning when shopping, un boucher prepared veal scaloppine for us, so there was no need to pound it into thin submission, just unwrap, stuff and tie. I enjoyed going to each shop in the market, meeting the proprietor and leaving with gorgeous food , fresh and precisely presented.
White asparagus is preferredin France. After tasting these, I would have to agree. The secret is to get the largest stalks, then peel them carefully and steam them to delicious perfection (with a bit of clarified butter and lemon).
The celeriac was something new for me. I found it interesting that it should be combined with another root vegetable – in our case potaotes. I think that it would also be delicious roasted with carrots, turnips and beets.
After cooking down the mushrooms in luscious butter, finely diced shallots were added and then the spinach. This was cooked just to make the spinach tender. The duxelle was cooled and then we spooned some onto the veal scaloppine, rolled and tied them. These were then browned in a pan with oil. When fully cooked, the rolls were removed from the pan and the pan deglazed with white wine followed by a swirl of dijon mustard , cream, and butter – yum!
Now we sliced the rolls, sauced them, plated the veggies (in my case I got to use these cute little molds for my veggies), poured some wine and savored every delectable morsel. Bon Appétit.
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Promenades Gourmandes – Paris Cooking School – The Cheese

 

Today’s post is about the cheese. This was our menu:

Cheese plate with a lovely bottle of Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine

Petits Souffles de Christophie

Veal Paupiettes aux Herbes filled with spinach and mushroom

Saute of potato and celeriac

White Asparagus

Tarte aux Pommes Nougatine

Red wine (again from Valdé Loire, but I forgot to snap a picture of it – it was delicious though) and baguette

Cheese is an integral part of French cuisine. Each is made in its own region, with milk from certain pastures, then molded and ripened, and sent to a skilled fromager who then sells it to customers. It’s one of the few industries that defies automation. And so much for the better. Artisanal cheese purchased in a shop with expertise guidance – voilà. Cheesy goodness in all its glory.
On the day of our class, we visited the Fromager and Madame selected five cheeses based on their recommendation. We had Bannon – goat cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves, St. Maure de Touraine – goat cheese coated in wood ash, Coulommiers – a soft cow’s milk brie, Mimolette – an orange hard cheese and Comté – a yellow hard cow’s milk cheese. The cheese course was served with a white wine – a Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine, and I savored. every. tiny. morsel.

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Promenades Gourmandes – Paris Cooking Class

With the market portion of our Promenades Gourmandes experience complete, we took the metro back to Paule Caillat’s stunning Paris apartment to begin the cooking portion of our class. There were six of us in the class and we enjoyed every minute – especially the tasting. The first part of the class was to get acquainted, set the ground rules and put on our aprons. I fell in love with her fabulous red stove and wanted to take it home with me.

 

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Much more to share in the next post.

Paris Market Street – rue de Petits Carreauex

While in Paris, I decided at the last minute to see if I could get into a cooking class. What I really wanted was some instruction in Paris market shopping. A quick internet search turned up Madame Paule and her Promenades Gourmandes class. We met at rue de Petits Carreauex for the first part of the class for a native’s perspective on Paris market shopping. I had heard much hype about rue Cler as a wonderful market street and had visited there the day before. I have to say that it was such a disappointment. Especially after my morning at the Versailles open air market earlier in the week. Rue de Petits Carreauex, however was just as I envisioned a Paris market street. We began at the fish monger, made our way to the butcher, the produce market, the cheese experts, and finally the bakery. Normally the last stop is the wine shop, but Madame Paule already had a selection of wines prepared for our class and meal.

I’ll post about the Versailles market and my class later. For now here is the market street rue de Petits Carreauex.

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