I haven’t seen Neil Scott since the summer of 2002 and to my amazement he still looks exactly the same…He is the Peter Pan of the catering world it seems. In the intervening years Neil has been head chef at various Kent restaurants, a landlord and he now owns the very successful company ‘At the end of the Rainbow’ with his partner Rachel. Their company offers ‘pop up’ restaurants, private catering, wedding catering and cookery demonstrations. It’s a great idea, which is why I wanted to get involved as well as catch up with and old friend. I wanted to use my documentary photography style to provide Neil with a set of images that tell the story of how far he has come.
The Spitroast and Gun in Horsmonden, Kent, was the venue for this weeks ‘pop up’ restaurant. Horsmonden is the quintessential English village in the middle of the Kent countryside, a photographers dream and a beautiful setting for an evening of great food.
I hadn’t been in a commercial kitchen since my teenage years and that evening certainly took me back to my hospitality days. Commercial kitchens have a certain smell that makes me feel at home for some reason, I almost wanted to put my camera down and start waiting on tables half way through the service. You can see from the movement in my images, the pace which Neil and his team were working to.
The nights offering was a five-course tasting menu – ranging from rabbit to rhubarb. The best thing about the evening is that the customers are unaware as to what they will be eating until Neil announces it to them. This is a great personal touch and something that resonates with me as I always try to give my clients a little something extra. There was a real buzz of excitement from the diners every time Neil made his way into the dining room to announce each course. Every time a new course was served I watched as the guests on each table enthusiastically deliberated over what they were about to eat.
Back in the kitchen I had forgotten how intense the environment could be. I can only imagine the pressure Neil was feeling due to wanting to provide an outstanding evening for all of his guests, to be the same kind of pressure I feel myself when shooting someone’s wedding day. You can see from my images the absolute concentration in his face and the passion he puts into creating the perfect dish. The images that follow tell the story of my evening with Neil, and are hopefully able to give you a true insight into the behind the scenes working of a restaurant.
If you have a business of your own that you feel would suit my documentary style of photography I’d love to come and help you tell your story. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your ideas; I can’t wait to hear them.