Saturday, May 26, 2012

Volunteer photo person?

I'm planning a series that compares fast food products advertised and fast food products delivered to Canadian consumers. I need the skill of a photographer so that good photos are done fairly. Or, is that fair photos, done goodly?

I'd like to pursue other food subjects too. If you're a person who shares these interests, willing to work for the typical rewards of online journalism (unpaid experience), email me HERE

This is an illustrative example from an American site.

Most of us realize that food items displayed in advertising are perfect, made to look that way by numerous operatives using numerous techniques. Food as advertised may not be what we expect on our plates but we assume there should be a degree of similarity.

I decided to pursue this after a recent visit to Vancouver's Au Petit Chavignol, a place that offers unusual commitment to best quality foods, cheeses and wines. We've directed our younger generations to events by Alice and Allison Spurrell at the related les amis du FROMAGE, knowing the untutored will enjoy wonders of cheese as soon as they discover the very broad range of tastes available.

On a recent visit, I enjoyed a $12 cheeseburger at Au Petite Chauvigol. SHMBO had a plate of unusual cheeses and exotic deli selections. She couldn't finish it, but I could.

Pricey. Maybe. But wow. This was the best burger I've yet set my fat fingers upon. The high qualty beef, chopped in house, had been barely touched before hitting the grill. It was perfect; more than perfect, if that's possible. Additionally, the bun put me in mind of soft and crispy choices from the era of Nat Bailey. (Toigos advertise secret sauce but buns were the real difference.)

A short while before, I tried A&W's premium "Angus" burger. Apparently, it was prepped in an Alberta hockey puck factory, immediately before a mass recall. A&W's advertising focused on great photos but their store delivered shit on plates.

At the White Spot, I joked with the server and asked if my plate would look like the mouth watering version on the specials brochure, complete with large, succulent chunks of seafood. She said, 'Of course." She was wrong. Actually, not by much.

I admire the White Spot, a company that has reinvented itself frequently and been a good example of community enterprise. (I credit that to my contributions as one of pre-teen Peter Toigo's soccer coaches).

Nevertheless, I'd like assistance from a reader to have a playful look at fast food, I've taken my little digital camera into the field but the operator seems to produce items that are below a fair standard for publication.

If you have photgraphic skill and desire to earn nothing, send me a communication at

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  1. I admire this quest that your on Norm. For too long we have seen the great advertising photos and have been served something that looks like it was run over by a bus, and pay far too much for this in most cases. Whitespot is better at serving you something that at least is close to their picture. The only problem I have with them , is the penchant ( in some outlets ) for not cooking their burgers completely. There is nothing I hate more than semi raw burger ( I thought BC had a rule about uncooked, or not fully cooked burgers ). Any ways, follow this link,
    and you will find a great little program, that does almost everything that Photoshop will do, but is much easier to use, and best of all is FREE. Looking forward to seeing the article when you are done.

  2. lenin's ghostMay 27, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    lol......I'm sure BC has a law against serving hamburger that is not completely cooked, but, as I like to tell my many immigrant friends .......Canada is the land of a million laws and no policing........we have a day a year for policing particular issues like our yearly bike helmet law day and our one day a year of policing driving while texting campaign........what a sad joke policing has become in this country!

  3. We're told that long cooking should eliminate dangerous organisms but we are not told to think about sources of potentially damaging entities.

    With respect to ground meat for home cooking, I may have two choices. One might be to take pre-packaged supermarket items prepared in huge batches in a giant Alberta factory using remnants of thousands of animals. The second is product from my neighbourhood butcher who uses a single segment from a single animal source ethically raised.

    Fact is that when you switch from simple to complex supply lines, you multiply the risk of problems. To the consumer, it may be a financial decision. Years ago, I remember a supermarket selling 1-pound packs of ground beef for less than $1 a pound. One of my kids faulted taste but also complained after biting into a metal staple; Sometimes, a bargain may not be a bargain. Happily, we could afford to spend more for better quality food.

    In the end, people should think less about price and more about quality of food.



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