Marco Varoli Explores The Symbiosis Between Food And Chef’s Identity

All images by Marco Varoli. Used under a Creative Commons Licence. 

Italian photographer Marco Varoli demonstrated how the food a chef creates can reflect their identity in his project called Idfood – The Food Pictures The Cook. In this project, Marco shows professionally taken food photographs alongside portraits of the Chefs who made the food.

Culinary is a form of art where the Chefs are the artists. Hence, the identity, unique characters, and individuality of the Chefs can often be reflected in their food crafts as well. It was no easy task shooting food alone since the photographs can only record sight, posing challenge to the photographer to convey other senses in the food experience such as smell, touch, and taste. Marco Varoli went one step further to connect the Chef and their creations, displaying the origin of the food and how the Chef’s unique personality, shown in carefully taken portrait photographs, affect the outcome of their food crafts. 
Marco Varoli presented his photo series in the style of diptych photography (two photographs placed side by side), positioning the portraits of the Chefs next to their respective food creations. While the food photographs were professionally taken with studio-like quality lighting, careful composition, and choice of perspective to best represent each different kind of food, the accompanying portraits of the chefs were photographed to bring out their unique self and personalities.

Every portrait of the Chef has a different pose, style, and background. One chef was staring seriously into the camera while another was relaxing on his favorite chair. Some were in their full traditional Chef apparel, one was showing off his prized knife, one was siting in a car, and some shied away from direct eye contact, looking away from the camera. The decision to show all portraits in black and white was effective in drawing out the facial expressions of the chefs while simultaneously contrasting the food photographs shown in full, glorious colors. These portraits tell tonnes of stories about the Chefs, adding layers of depth into this photo project which is a lot more than just beautifully taken images of food.

You can view more of Marco Varoli’s work here.