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Rock Star Cookbook for Teenage Cancer Trust

| Culture, Music, Restaurants, Special Events | 18/11/2013

Love Music Love Food
Juliette Lewis more than graces the cover of ‘Love Music Love Food’.

Patrice de Villiers is a world-renowned and astoundingly artful food photographer. When we met at her book launch for Teenage Cancer Trust at Quaglino’s in Mayfair, she spoke candidly of her three-year journey photographing rock stars ‘in context’ with their favourite food. I began by asking how she got involved and she replied that “It’s actually my baby! I created it from having the initial kernel of the idea, in a very rock ‘n’ roll fashion! I was in a hotel bar late at night, having watched one of my favourite bands, Muse, chatted to them, and it turned out that the front-man was particularly into cooking. So, I thought, my passion is music and, obviously, I’m a food photographer, so why don’t I combine the two. And I thought what I really should do is do it for the Teenage Cancer Trust, I don’t want to just create a vanity project.”

Patrice with her family celebrating the book launch.

Patrice with her family celebrating the book launch.

On first approaching the trust, Patrice explains that she “went in with nothing to show – with an idea. I walked out of the office and thought ‘Oh my goodness! I have to actually create this now!’” A self-funded project “paid for by shooting M&S chocolate puddings and the like,” Patrice gleefully relays the “interesting logistics” of such a sticky challenge. “All of these people are incredibly busy, so just getting them in a studio or wherever, for half an hour even, was really tricky.” But she adds determinedly that “I wanted this to be really beautifully crafted…” The results speak for themselves: engrossing works of art that transcend the rock star connection, several suggestive of old masters contemporarised. When I mention their very sexual aspect, she wilfully nods. “Well, I hope so! Food is incredibly sexual, and some of my food work has been described as gastro-porn before now!”

Love Music Love Food

Noel Gallagher’s penchant for Yorkshire Tea is detailed in the rock star cookbook.

Patrice expressly acknowledges all the creatives who lent their talents to the project. “When I started, I had no idea whether people were going to really take to it. But it seems to have a whole lot of love!” She confesses that “Roger Daltrey was one of the most scary people to photograph because it was for his charity, and I had to make a really good job of his picture…” (The Who are long-term patrons and perform at the annual Royal Albert Hall fundraisers.) Meanwhile: VV Brown appears drenched in Marmite; Kasabian drape themselves alongside Noel Fielding in homage to Michael Joseph’s ‘Beggar’s Banquet’; Paloma Faith aka Botticelli’s Venus rises on her conch, atop a pile of paella. “People would tell me what their favourite food was – or in Noel Gallagher’s or Paul Weller’s case their favourite drink – and I would develop the concept. Brian May…” she pauses, “…his favourite food was grapefruit! That was so bizarre! My immediate thought was of orbiting grapefruit – typical of his astrophysics background!” At which she flashes a knowing grin. “So, I got him dressed like a sort of Time Lord… the Time Lord of Fruit!” she giggles. “And it’s great to have a show here at Quaglino’s, in such a brilliant space. I just walked in, looked at the bar, and thought ‘I’ve got to have those pictures on this wall!’”

Some of de Villier’s larger-scale prints, installed at Quaglino’s in Bury Street.

Some of de Villier’s larger-scale prints, installed at Quaglino’s in Bury Street.

Evading the cult of culinary celebs, Patrice explains that “When I was trying to think of how to do it creatively, I thought that they had to have a lot of production value, and they had to have depth and soul.” I cannot help assure her that these are great works of art – illuminating, intriguing, amusing. She concedes that “they are literally unique pictures because these people are never photographed in this kind of way. And there was a lot more, about gaining trust.” Indeed, I suggest, they are far more personal than force-fed promotional images. “Because you’re asking them something very personal in the first instance. Something that Heston Blumenthal points out in the foreword is that food is a lot about nostalgia. And what came out in the interviews (by Andrew Harrison) is there’s a lot of that with people’s choices. Kelly Jones used to get wine-gums every Christmas, when he was growing up. And Siouxsie Sioux likes comfort food – beans on toast – it’s breakfast for her!” Extraordinary to see her consuming the food of the proletariat but it works. “Exactly!” Patrice enthuses, “And that’s great! Some of the choices were fantastic. You just didn’t think about what you thought somebody might like. I mean – Brian May, grapefruit!” Perhaps a grapefruit guitar next time? “Well, no, I like Planet Grapefruit and think I’ll stick with that!” she chuckles. I’ve certainly relished visiting her planet.

Singer Bess Cavendish and guitarist Anna Tosh Hall.

Singer Bess Cavendish and guitarist Anna Tosh Hall.

‘Love Music Love Food: The Rock Star Cookbook’ is the ultimate coffee table tome, the essential Xmas gift for any muso or foodie, with revelatory recipes by Sarah Muir. Individual prints are also available, with all proceeds to Teenage Cancer Trust.

The rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere of the evening was enhanced by the terrific performances of singer Bess Cavendish and guitarist Anna Tosh Hall.

Teenage Cancer Trust

All proceeds to the Teenage Cancer Trust.




To order prints from the book (with all proceeds to Teenage Cancer Trust) please contact: patrice@patricedevilliers.com

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