Chef Nicholas Thiers - World Chef Challenge

Ultimately, the World Food Championship is all about the food. From BBQ to Seafood, and Chilli (or Chili if you’re from over the pond) to Cake. It’s all going on.

Sunday 13th November saw the finalists of the World Chef Challenge go head to head. Three category winners representing International, National and Local.

The World Chef Challenge Winner was Chef Nicholas Thiers, who had won the National category. His dish is shown above.

Chef Chris Nau - World Chef Challenge

The World Chef Challenge second place was won by Chef Chris Nau with this beautifully presented dish. Chris had previously won the International category.

Chef John Hamme - World Chef Challenge

The World Chef Challenge third place was won by John Hamme, the winner of the Local category. Now isn’t that the ultimate surf and turf?

All images were shot alongside the Judges table, and I had a time limit of between one and two minutes to create each image.

I placed an Elinchrom ELB400 Action head on the far side of the table, firing through an 18cm reflector with 30° grid. This was to create the specular highlights and enhance the texture and form. It was set to fire at an output of 1.0 via the B port.

A second ELB400 unit was placed to my immediate left, firing through a 66x66cm Portalite softbox, providing my main or key light. This was set to fire at an output of 1.8 through the B port.

Where I needed to reduce some of the shadows to the right side of the dishes, I used a piece of card to reflect some light back into the frame. The card is silver on one side and white on the other and came from a craft shop. The white side creates a fairly soft fill, whereas the silver side produces more contrast in the fill light.

The amount of allocated time to create the images was tight, but not normally an issue. My main challenge was down to the fact that as my setup was alongside the audience and I had quite a few folk wanting to get photographs of these wonderful dishes. This isn’t a problem to be honest, and I loved helping some of them get the best possible image they could out of whatever they were using. My only eyebrow raising moment was whilst photographing Chris Nau’s glass covered dish. As I looked through the viewfinder, I watched as the glass dome slowly rose and disappeared out of frame, before a phone appeared for a few seconds, and then the glass dome slowly descended again.

Whilst my clock was ticking, and this had interrupted my workflow for a short while, it did make me chuckle!

All images were taken on an Olympus OM-D E-M1 at 1/125th sec ISO200 with the 12-40mm f2.8 lens at f10

I provide training via Focal Point.