Meet Asha Shivakumar of Food Fashion Party on Crave Cook Click
Last month we celebrated Women’s Month on Crave Cook Click as it was International Women’s Day on 8th March. As a part of this celebration I interviewed my favorite Women Photographers and Food Bloggers. The idea is to appreciate, motivate and get inspired ☺
Women’s Day Month is over, but I will continue doing this initiative as it was of great help to Crave Cook Click readers.
Today I will be interviewing Asha Shivakumar of Food Fashion Party Food Blog.In her own words, Asha is a mom, foodie, an artist, food photographer, experimentalist. I love her work and her quality of catering to World Cuisine.
Asha, thank you so much for taking time to share your expertise, experiences and inspiring us through your wonderful food pictures and recipes
Please tell us more about Food, Fashion Party..How did it all started?
Food Fashion Party is a space where I express myself: my experiences with food and the people in it. When I started my blog, it was to share my experiences with my boys and their children. I wanted them to read where I came from, the love I have for my family and how I learnt to love food through my grand moms and mom. I do love to entertain and I wanted something different, a bit of a twist on the classics. That’s what FFP is all about, a twist, something you are familiar with and that you can entertain with. I believe Food is ART and Life is Beautiful with food.
What/Who is your inspiration behind such innovative recipes?
Indian food is known for its flavors and intriguing textures. I am just inspired by that and through a lot of trial and error comes something like the Sesame Cake on my blog. Trying to keep the base intact, while modernizing it, yet when someone takes a bite, transporting them to a comforting place that surprises and delights them. I have to commend my family for loving my take on food. If they didn’t enjoy brocolli in their paratha or a Beet Biryani, my recipes would’ve never come to be. So guys, try different things for your family, you never know…
Do you have a workflow for your blog posts?
If you have a defined work flow, Congratulations!! I don’t have hard rules, but yes, I definitely have a pattern. Writing a recipe comes first, in fact thinking of them does. I might be waiting to pick up the boys and the light bulb goes on and I will write down the idea. I have a long list of ideas I’ve written down, tested once and sits in my folder. If I’m creating a recipe, I will try it out at least 3 times before I shoot it. Then comes the writing part. I do have a lot of memories which I write down and if and when it’s appropriate for a particular recipe, I might use it. Getting organized with set deadlines are my two important steps.
You obviously have excellent photography skills — was it something you’d studied before, or something you picked up as you started blogging?
Thanks for the compliment Anita. Learnt a lot from my hubby and through trial and error. Photography is a learning process, a work in progress….
What’s your process when you take a photo? How do you decide where to shoot, how to set up the background, and how to style your dish?
I shoot consistently in one place next to my kitchen which has 2 large sliding doors. The mood of a food photo shoot completely depends on what I’m cooking that day. For instance, if i make a curry, most of the time it’s a moody shot with darker backgrounds and I would use dark cardboards to block off the excess light. If it’s a dessert, I try to keep it lighter. Like many photographers know, the light before 9 a.m is softer and diffused, so I do try to get up early on the weekends to shoot for a blog post. If you are not an early bird, you can always manipulate the light.
I do prefer moody shots with a contemporary feel, but at the same time try to keep it straightforward.
Other than your camera, what are the tools of the trade that you use the most to make the photographs work? Do you do any digital altering?
Black and White cardboards of all sizes. A diffuser some times when I miss the morning light. Also a pair of steady hands. I almost always use a tripod for commercial photography. I try not post process a lot, when I do I use Lightroom and Photoshop.
Which part of blogging excites you most: the recipe development, the post writing, or the photography?
Hands down, recipe developing and testing. Testing might be my family’s favorite:). Cooking puts me in a Zen-ish mode. A glass of wine, some classic music and my butchers knife. I am happy.
I can cook for hours, and not realize how much I cooked. The process of cutting, looking at them:how uniform it has all turned out, makes me smile.
How important is SEO, Social Media Marketing and Website development for food bloggers?
It is. It is also key to stay true to yourself and your content. Building a brand reputation is key before any one of those things, in my opinion.
Who is your foodie hero and how do they inspire you?
I have so many fellow bloggers who inspire me everyday for different reasons, you are definitely one of them. Heroes, they have to be Anthony Bourdain and Tyler Florence. Tyler is one of the most humble people I know and he speaks about food and cooks with all of heart.
What advice would you give our readers who want to get into food photography?
Food Photography is a lot of trial and errors. When I conduct photography workshops, the first thing I ask the participants to do is, to choose a shot they want to mimic. Then I ask them to study the light and everything about that shot. That’s the first step. Don’t be stuck with one kind of lighting, one angle or just the placements. Experiment, practice and be prepared to be disappointed.
Practice with your phone, the camera quality is so good now. You don’t need fancy equipment at all. I know a lot of instagrammers who use an IPHONE to capture their shots and it is stunning. All you need is a napkin, a plate, food and you are set. Start with a minimalistic approach, simple overhead shots in the morning and evenings.
Take it from there. Food photography is not like portrait or nature, totally different. So, you might have to add some textures and colors for the picture to pop. So, experiment and take tons and tons of shots. Play with it, have fun.
You are a homemaker, mother of two and also lead Food Fashion Party. How do you manage everything so efficiently? Any tips for our readers
My boys are a little older now, so it is easier. Honestly though, I don’t even know if I’m managing everything well. They have food, get lot of hugs and give me more, it’s all good. Don’t take life too seriously, have fun, whatever that might be.
I’m only going to make one dish from your blog, which one should it be? Please share the link of the same with us.
That is a tough question(I do love all of them)….ummmm…thinking….I’m going to give you one that went viral, my Masala Chicken Wings, just make sure to have enough and some more:).
Please share your social media links for our readers to follow
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/foodfashionparty/