feast for the senses

Every now and then when I have a free day I assist a wonderful food stylist named Ruth Gangbar. Food styling is something I've always been intrigued with so when the opportunity presented itself I jumped at the chance. A recent Chatelaine food shoot we worked on. Photographs - John Cullen

Before I embarked on my life as a designer, I worked as a chef for a few years. While a career in restaurants was not for me, my love of food and cooking has never diminished. This little creative outlet allows me to stay in touch with the culinary scene and spend a few days in the kitchen every month trying out new recipes and getting my hands dirty.

Chatelaine - John Cullen

The other day, we were doing a shoot for next summer for another magazine (yes, that is one of the ways they get those amazing produce shots to you in early spring) with the most amazing heirloom tomatoes I have ever seen; a veritable feast of colour and textures.

The tomatoes have the most wonderful names like Pineapple Fog, Black Krim, New Zealand Pink Pear, Green Sausage, Black Pearl, Green Velvet, and Purple Calabash. All of these monikered varieties came from Vicki's Veggies in Prince Edward County. If you were fortunate enough to be in the area this past weekend you might have attended their annual Heirloom Hurrah Tomato Tasting Festival where they have over 100 varieties of tomatoes to taste!

Images from Vicki Emlaw and Tim Noxon's Farm via John Cullen.

At the end of our shooting day, I was very happy to be able to bring home some of these amazing heirloom tomatoes to try. They really put to shame the tomatoes we get throughout the rest of the year. The smell alone was enough to make your mouth water. All they needed was a little salt and pepper, basil and some good olive oil. Absolutely delicious!