This exhibition is the culmination of a ten-year photographic project to tell the stories of the people who work in London’s favourite kitchens. From kebab shops and greasy spoons to the city’s most rarefied restaurants, and all the everyday eateries in-between, Katie has captured the intriguing faces and battle-worn hands of fifty diverse and dedicated chefs.
“I was fascinated by the scars worn with pride on the hands of the chefs I met,” says Katie. “I began to wonder, who are the people who cook for us in London ?”
So began a project to document the Hands that Feed London. Rose Gray, Ollie Dabbous, Mark Hix and Fergus Henderson sit side-by-side with the Pellicci family of legendary Bethnal Green caff, Pellicci’s and Sevket Boyraz of infamous Chalk Farm kebab shop, Marathon Kebabs.
Shot in a raw documentary style, each subject was photographed on location, before briefings, or as they woke from sleep snatched between services.
This is a look at the hard graft that goes on in the restaurant engine room; the blood, sweat and tears that go into making the serene and sometimes glamorous dining experience we’ve come to expect.
“Over the last ten years our interest in food has evolved enormously and as a result everyone has had to up their game – not just at the top end but local cafes too. It is us Londoners – in all our diversity – who have made this City the serious food capital it has become,” says Katie.
Each diptych is accompanied by a text collected and written* by Nellie Blundell that seeks to discover the important memories, influences and emotions that shape each chef and their relationship to London. Nellie is a writer with a background in the Anthropology of Food. After a career in journalism, branding and design, she is currently working on her own fiction/cookbook for kids.
* Additional writing by Amanda Brooks who is a writer, author and editor with a passion for food, travel and yoga. Her work ranges from speechwriting for high profile political figures to travel and health writing, script and memoir editing.
Proceeds from the sale of prints from the exhibition were donated to the food charity, FareShare.