Chef Vicky Lau

Poetic Inspiration

I recently had the good fortune to spend some time with Chef Vicky Lau photographing her beautiful creations at her restaurant and patisserie Tate Poem in Hong Kong. Chef Lau does a fantastic job of combining her artistic skills along with her delicate tasting palate to create dishes that are as beautiful as they are tasty. For her latest menu she has found inspiration in the words of the Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda. From Neruda’s anthology All the Odes Chef Lau created a series of dishes celebrating the particular ingredient Neruda wrote about so eloquently.

Ode to the Tomato

Ode to the Onion

Ode to the Plate

Ode to Bees

Ode to the Apple

Ode to a Chestnut on the Ground

On the ground floor of Chef Lau’s restaurant is her patisserie where she creates pastries and cakes which are almost too beautiful to eat. For this series Chef Lau wanted to created set of pastries inspired by traditional Chinese desserts.

Chef Lau puts the finishing touches on her Hong Kong Fruit Tart

Yangzhi Nectar, or Yeung Ji Gum Lo, made with Mango and Coconut

Red Date – A dark chocolate cake with a dried Chinese red date puree and aged mandarin peel

Shan Shui – made with Iron Buddha Tea and Kumquat

All photos were done on location at Tate Poem in Hong Kong and were published in Tasting Kitchen (TK) magazine. To read the entire story, along with the poems by Pablo Neruda, you may view the entire issue by following this link:

For those interested in the technical aspects in regards to the photography I’ll give a brief explanation. For this shoot I brought along my usual lighting kit which contains four Einstein strobe heads along with a bag of stands, softboxes and grids. For location work I try to make use of any props/decorations and backgrounds from the venue where I’m working. I don’t like to introduce my own props as I want the items I’m shooting to connect with the venue which helps to tell more of the story. One additional thing I did carry on this shoot was a sheet of glass as well as a piece of white acrylic. This was useful for the pastry photos as I wanted those creations to stand out on their own.

The camera on this shoot was a Canon 5D SR along with a bag of heavy lenses which include 16-35mm f2.8, 5omm f1.2, 85 f1.2, 90mm TS f2.8 and a 100mm f2.8 macro.