We chatted to Hein van Tonder, a talented local foodie and photographer, to find out more about his drool-worthy blog and delectable food photography.
Tell us about yourself and what you do?
I am a food photographer and stylist based in Cape Town. I am (was) an accountant by profession and during the past year, my hobby of food photography has become my new career, which has been a very exciting (and sometimes scary) journey.
How did your love for food, photography and blogging develop?
I had been searching for a creative outlet, and the combination of my love for food and photography was a natural one. I attended a food photography workshop two years ago and after that, I committed to posting a new recipe with photos on my blog, heinstirred every week. It is hard work and blogging takes up a lot of time (and creates a lot of dirty dishes) but it is incredibly rewarding to see how your portfolio grow and the unexpected opportunities that come your way.
Please tell us about the food photography workshops that you offer?
The workshop is designed to be a day of fun and inspiration that allows you to get comfortable with your camera. The venue is the most beautiful house of Isabella Niehaus up on the West Coast, which inspires creativity the minute you walk in. We spend some time on theory and share all our tips and tricks and then we play around and shoot gorgeous food for the rest of the day. The next workshop will be on 21 February 2016.
What sort of collaborations have you been involved in?
I have been lucky to have worked on a few books this year. I spent a few weeks in France with Francois Pistorius, where we photographed the new book about La Creuzette: The Story of a House. It was the most amazing two weeks and the book is filled with stories, recipes and beautiful photography. It is due for release in March 2016.
I also photographed, co-styled and contributed to the new recipe book for Cobb outdoor cookers, which will be out early in 2016. It has such amazing outdoor recipes perfect for our lifestyle that I can’t wait for it to be published.
I contributed recipes and photos to the new Sunday Times Food Weekly recipe book, which is already on the shelves. It is a beautiful book with an easy entertaining feel to it and has already become one of my favourite recipe books.
What are your top tips for quick and easy festive entertaining?
Keep it easy, fuss free, fresh and tasty. It is summer and we tend to live outside this time of the year, so salads with loads of fresh, colourful ingredients are the way to go. Make the salads more interesting with unique dressings, using yoghurt or tahini as a base. Sprinkle dukkah or za’atar over proteins for an instant exotic flavour. Berries are in season, so pile them high on pavlovas for an impressive dessert that feeds a lot of people. My favourite thing right now is a Peppermint Crisp Ice Cream Cake – everybody loves peppermint crisp and the ice cream cake is easy and pretty next-level.
What’s next for Hein Stirred?
There are a few more books in the pipeline for 2016. I will keep on blogging and I plan to ‘travel to eat’ more. Aside from the trip to France this year, I also visited Beirut and Copenhagen, where I was inspired and ate incredibly well. It gives me great pleasure to get to know a city through its food and to photograph it at the same time. A return to Sicily is high up on the agenda for 2016 and I would love to visit Iran. It all depends on the value of the Rand I guess!
Photography courtesy Hein van Tonder