Eating at a restaurant isn't about the sustenance. It's about the experience. A good menu is a story, with its own narrative arc. Tension is built and released, emotions are evoked and questions are raised. We want to create a visual exploration of this story. To keep it personal, we decided to use a very personal canvas. This is why our menu is not served on a plate, but on a face. And to capture the love and attention that goes into creating a good menu, we avoided any digital intervention.Every ingredient has been attached manually, no photoshop, handcrafted with every attention to detail. Just like in a good kitchen.
Introducing MENU, an after hours project, turned borderline obsession, turned edgy photographic project.
In their series of portraits, Robbie Postma (chef) and Robert Harrison (photographer) take the viewer back to the origin of a menu. Through visual imagination and culinary flair, they evoke every step of a fine dining experience, but rather than focusing of the final, finessed dishes, MENU makes the raw, unprocessed ingredients the heroes. Served on the closest place you can get to a chef’s mind: on his face.
When creating these images, Postma and Harrison stuck to the same principles and values a chef would when creating a menu: paying a lot of attention to the details, the composition, the preparation and of course the ingredients. From cutlery to coffee bean, every component is painstakingly prepared to produce the ultimate effect. And every grain of rice was added by hand, without the aid of digital manipulation. MENU is hand crafted. Just like the best food.
The whole project took a year to complete from start to finish and each image is the result of a lengthy process of research, testing of materials, preparation, art direction, planning and of course experimenting – most shots taking sometimes up to nine hours to prepare.
Welcome! As a first course we serve you an exciting variety of vegetables.
When creating a menu play around with different shapes and colours. We have all these beauties of nature we can turn into an experience on a plate.
Ingredients: A variety of carrots, radish and courgette.
A small serve captured from the great waters of the earth. When serving a multiple course menu, serve just enough to keep your guest gasping for more.
Ingredients: Octopus ink, lobster, mussels, mackerel skin, octopus suckles, sea urchin, razor clams
serving this red wine to compliment the deep red tones of the meat.
When pairing the right drink with your dish you can create an explosion of taste.
Ingredients: Glass & red wine
Now serving an aged, smoked and barbecue grilled prime rib.
Different cooking techniques can help to create variety and intensify flavours in your menu.
Ingredients: Charcoal, smoke, aged prime rib
Before you, a more complex dish with different kinds of spices.
Combine different flavours when creating a dish but keep them identifiable.
Ingredients: Vanilla, rock salt, star anise, coriander seeds, nutmeg, mace, white pepper, red peppers, cardamom, cinnamon, curry powder
The following dish contains carefully selected varieties of starch.
The most important thing in making a menu is balance and attention to detail.
Ingredients: Black rice, white rice, yellow peas, Borlotti beans, quinoa, wheat
As a final dish we're serving this sweet sensation.
Try to build up to a climax when building your menu.
Ingredients: White chocolate, dark chocolate, raspberries
How would you like your coffee? One single ingredient can be used in endless variations.
Ingredient: Coffee beans
Robert Harrison, Visual Designer / Photographer:
“The devil is in the detail and that’s something we really took to heart when shooting the photography. Each single ingredient was painstakingly hand-placed onto the face, resulting in literally hours of preparation for each shot. For us it was important to work in a very organic way, shoot everything in camera and use no digital manipulation at all. This attention to detail and technique, combined with the unexpected scenarios – I guess some would say downright disturbing images - is what has this such a compelling project to work on.”
Robbie Postma, Chef / Food Creative:
“A good menu is a story with its own narrative arc. That’s what we’ve tried to recreate in this project: we deconstructed a traditional menu into all its separate elements and ingredients and reconstructed it in a disruptive way – using my own face as the canvas to present our very own ‘MENU’. This project in its essence is about the quest for perfection and represents the importance of taking enormous amount of time and attention to create something beautiful.”
BEHIND THE SCENES.
For exhibition opportunities or sales of the prints please contact:
Robert Harrison or Robbie Postma on firstname.lastname@example.org