Breaking Bread and Barriers
By Moe Kafer
Food is like a doorway into any culture. When you meet someone you would like to know better, oftentimes you invite them to your table to break bread. When you travel, you sample the culture by going to a market or a restaurant, to really get a feel of what living in that world is like. After all, the one thing we have in common with everyone is, we all have to eat. The interesting thing is, how we do it and what it says about us.
I was fortunate enough to build a career out of studying and capturing the culture of food photographically. I travelled the world witnessing chefs, cooks, food producers at work and sitting at their tables, hearing their stories, sampling their lives in bite-sized pieces. And it was truly enlightening. I found it a great equalizer, listening to their stories: how varied they were but, at the same time, so similar. Passion, hard work, creativity, these are the common threads that ran through each of their stories—dedication to cause.
I had the privilege of visiting places like the Golden Temple in Agra, India where the Sikhs have been serving free food to every visiting worshiper from giant steaming vats since the 1500s—a huge yet selfless undertaking—to seeing the love and care taken by Cuban chefs sharing their love of cooking at the first-ever privately run restaurants, called paladars, since the communist rules have been relaxed. I floated down the Mekong River in Thailand and met women who have been serving with pride delicious family recipes from small traditional boats and the most basic of cooking tools, long lives etched into their faces. Each experience so different, yet so similarly human.
I truly felt welcome at each experience and left feeling I had sampled more than just a new dish, but had actually experienced a small slice of life.
Moe Kafer is an award-winning food photographer and filmmaker who spent 17 years living in England. Her work has taken her around the world, experiencing different cultures and diverse cuisines, and her clients include Food & Travel, Harrod’s, Saveur Magazine (US) and Guardian Travel. Kafer recently returned to Canada, where she and her sister opened a restaurant that showcases their love of food and exotic flavours—not to mention many of Kafer’s framed prints. See more of her images here.
Moe Kafer recently opened Roadhouse Restaurant in Smithers with her sister after spending 17 years in England working as a food photographer and filmmaker. Her award-winning photography captured not just food, but the people who created it and the places that inspired the flavours; she created beautiful culinary narratives that brought to life the culture of food by illustrating the ingredients and prepared dishes, the settings in which they were inspired and prepared, and the people who cook them: chefs, cooks, food producers, restaurants, hotels, markets or locals. Moe takes a photojournalistic approach to her food photography and films, using primarily natural light and highlighting the beauty of the food, working both in-studio and on-location to create high-impact visuals for advertising, publishing and editorial clients. See more of her work at www.moekafer.photoshelter.com.Moe Kafer