Food styling and photography workshop in Whistler

At the end of August, I traveled to Whistler (British Columbia) to teach a food styling and photography workshop for Ritchie Ace Camps. I was ready for some majestic landscape of mountains, evergreens, and snow-capped peaks. All the elements I love about the Pacific Northwest.

Rugged and glorious.

Angela and I had spent nearly a year working on all the details. I was excited to finally let go and simply enjoy the time with our students. We were also lucky to have Nadia join us to assist with all the preparations. I was in good hands.

I arrived in Vancouver in the early afternoon. The sky threatened rain and I was a bit anxious about the forecast up in the mountains. We had many outdoor activities planned for our workshop and weather would play a big role on how smoothly everything would run. “You never know what the weather will do in the mountains” Angela reassured me.

It was a wait and see game.

We drove up to Whistler as the sun set. The lakes reflected a red glow and the fog moved around the mountains – breathtaking.

We met our students the following evening when we got together at the Fairmont Chateau lobby. After a round of introductions, I felt a sense of ease. “This is going to be a fun group” I thought to myself. Oh and was it fun!

Our first day was spent discussing the basics of photography and food styling as well as practicing the theory. We cooked together, which I always find such a bonding experience.

Raw striped-beet ravioli, zucchini and mint gazpacho with radish salsa, tomato and goat cheese tartlets, roasted plums with mascarpone and vanilla bean cream, red currant financiers, and panna cotta with raspberry compote are some of the dishes we styled and photographed.

Angela and Nadia cooked salade Niçoise with wild salmon for lunch that day. It was a hit.

And we laughed. A lot.

That night was dinner at Brew House. Fun and vibrant. My chicken and matzo ball soup (sans the matzo ball for a gluten-free dish) was one of the most comforting foods I had had in a long time.

The following day, we woke up to bright blue skies. “I told you” Angela said “Weather is unpredictable in the mountains”

So happy it was.

We traveled to Pemberton for a morning spent capturing the life on North Arm Farm. They had just finished harvesting the last ripe blueberries, but there was still plenty to gather. Raspberries, beets, carrots, radishes and all sorts of turnips… even crabapples.

We visited the sheep and the chickens too. They were happy in the sun.

That afternoon, we rode the gondolas up to the top of Whistler mountain for a picnic with the most magnificent views.

Nadia and Angela arranged a delicious summer panzanella salad loaded with heirloom tomatoes from the region. This is why I love late summer. Red currant financiers and lots of Canadian chocolate put a sweet end to our meal. As it should be.

The sun felt nice on my shoulders and I remember how taken I was by the fresh air, smell of spruce and evergreens, and the gigantic mountains. Melissa and I shared the ride down on a lift and I felt blissful.

Dinner that night was at Trattoria di Umberto where we spent time learning about each other and bonding some more. My favorite part of these events is really the bonding that happens and this was a remarkable group of people gathered around one table. I felt very lucky to be there.

Sunday morning we strolled the streets of Whistler village where the weekly farmers’ market was held. It was a funny scene to watch fifteen of us with our bulky cameras and our odd requests.

“Can you please hold this bunch of radishes for me?” I asked the young girl at the produce stand. “Oh no, wait. Stop. Can you move it this way please?” It happens at these events, for sure.

We gathered some amazing produce. Some more heirloom tomatoes, all kinds of colorful root vegetables, red kuri squash, apples, bread, raspberries, red currants, apricots… everything we needed for our lunch and afternoon session.

For our last session, we had access to a lake house, which had the most beautiful views and light. I wish we had had some more time there because it truly was perfect for our workshop.

Angela and Nadia prepared baguette sandwiches with green bean salad with mint pesto. We sat outside on the patio facing the lake to enjoy our last lunch together. There were people on kayaks and paddle boards while sun and clouds alternated.

We finished the day with slices of yellow watermelon on the dock by the lake. The girls taking photos of food and each other. Contagious enthusiasm in the air.

I didn’t want it to end and wish we had had one more day to continue cooking, styling and photographing.

Our final dinner at Araxi made us feel like old friends really.

Here are some posts that our students wrote about their experience.

Melissa wrote about it here, here, and here.

Eva’s post.

Mardi wrote aout it on her blog.

Anna captured it with her images here and here.

Megan wrote about it here, here, and here.

Jodi’s post.

Big thanks to them for a remarkable workshop!


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58 Responses to “Food styling and photography workshop in Whistler”

  1. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous pictures with us! A wonderful place for organizing a photography workshop.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Melissa says:

    Such a beautiful post Aran. Your images are stunning as always and capture our time in Whistler perfectly. Thank you again for sharing your talent and inspiration with us.

    An unforgettable adventure!

  3. wow, these images are amazing. I dream of going to a workshop one of these days!

  4. Sound like a great time. Absolutely fantastic photos!!!
    Ciao for now… Mary

  5. All of your pictures are great as usual, but the one of the sunflowers against the mountains is breathtaking. Nature is truly amazing!

  6. Aupa Aran, nondik ibili zara? zelako paraje politak. Argazkiak ederrak. Ikusten da konpañia onagaz ibili zarela, zelako taldea!!!
    Tic, tac, tic, tac…. ez da ezer falta liburua esku artean aukiteko, zelako gogoa ikusteko.
    Gu be laster horrantza goaz, eta Vermont ezagutzeko desietan.
    Besarkada handi bat eta gorantziak etxekoeri.
    Miren

  7. Melissa, it was wonderful to have you in this workshop. Your posts have been truly breathtaking . Miss you.

    Dervla, I will start to work on next year’s calendar soon. Maybe you can join us then.

    Thank you!

  8. Unknown says:

    The colors are so vibrant and the mood seems so effortless. I enjoyed these photos and am inspired. GREG

  9. Iratxe says:

    ¡¡¡MARAVILLOSO ARAN. MUCHAS GRACIAS, HERMOSÍSIMO POST!!!. Muxuak.

    http://www.cocinaamiga.com

  10. Miren- vermontera ze ondo. Epoka onenean zoazie! Ondo ibili. Eskerrik asko.

  11. CJ says:

    Looks like you have a wonderful time with nature up there, thanks for your lovely post and photos :-)

  12. Just when it was starting to be a distant memory this post brought it all back. Such a fun weekend. So much beauty and laughter and learning. Thank you!

  13. Megan says:

    As expected, a truly stunning recap of one awesome week. Thank you for sharing!

  14. nazli says:

    All the photos, your trip, your way of telling your trip and students but of course mostly the photos are very very inspiring, just by looking at them I feel like I also learned a lot! thanks for sharing!

  15. As always……totally amazing photos and a beautiful storyboard.The Tomatoes looked great and the Raspberries in the hand shot was wonderful….Loving it.

  16. GAELLE says:

    I know we often tend to use the hyperbole here, but dear me ! those raspberries are the most beautiful ones I have ever seen ! Just pure beauty left and right, front and back, everywhere… And it shows it was a fun bunch of girls !

  17. Everything about this post is stunning! Truly!

  18. Denise says:

    Sounds like a wonderful time and as always your photos are stunning. I wish I could have made the workshop – too late to the game. Hoping that you have another one *hint* *smile* *smile*

  19. vytran says:

    What a beautiful and fun post! I was in Whistler a few weeks ago. So sad I missed the farmers market!

  20. Wow! Gorgeous photography, beautiful produce! Almost too much to take in at once. Really breathtaking…thanks for the inspiration!

  21. Oh wow, this place looks like heaven! So peaceful!
    Wish I was here! :)

  22. You’re photographs are always breathtaking! You definitely motivate me to combine my knowledge in baking and cooking with my passion for photography!!

  23. J5MM says:

    Beautiful! When I heard you were coming to BC I was so excited :) Too bad I could not attend your workshop but nonetheless I am happy you were able to come and experience this beautiful part of our world. My folks live in Vancouver and I am honored to be able to come and visit them from Seattle whenever I wish. Please do come again!

  24. My dream is still to attend one of your workshops! Thanks for sharing your Whistler experience! It is lovely over there – I’m from Toronto, and unfortunately, we don’t get the tall mountains like they do there in B.C.!

  25. a. maren says:

    such beautiful pictures. i live in the southernmost end of the northwest climate zone and it is just the most incredible land. i’m glad to see you do it justice here.

  26. If you can, it would be great to have you do a workshop in Napa/Sonoma Valley or in the San Francisco Bay Area!!!

  27. Inés says:

    Aran, Aran…ze ederra Brittish Ciolumbian egindako erreportaia, benetan. Zaila da diseinuzko aldizkarietan halako lan liluragarriak ikustea. Asko ikasten dugu zurekin, gero inbidia ere sentitzen dugu…baina promozio haundia egiten diozu zure blog-galduezin honetatik…Badira argazki batzuk…hain politak.

  28. Julia says:

    Every picture is just gorgeous, and I’m also mouth-watering!

  29. Have you thought about holding one (or two) of these workshops in the Basque Country? I live here and think that there would be a lot of interest!

  30. Stunning pictures ! I would love to spend a few days with you and learn food styling. I’ll be watching for the next dates, if you ever come near Montreal or in Switzerland (we have some beautiful mountains here too !) Thanks for sharing this with us !

  31. Awesome, what an idyllic location. This post already reads like a food stylist’s dream!

  32. Chef Mignotte- I was in Montreal teaching in June but I’d love to do a retreat there and of course Switzerland sounds lovely as well.

    Morgan and Imanol- noski! One in the basque country is in the cards :)

    Thanks all!

  33. marla says:

    Oh how I adore the Canadian Rockies!! Thanks for sharing this feast for the eyes with all of us. I feel like I was there. Almost ;)

  34. Aran, como siempre las fotos son espectaculares y el curso o campamento se ve que ha sido muy divertido e interesante. ¡Qué curioso! Muchas gracias por compartirlo. Un abrazo desde España.

  35. Such amazing setup for food photography workshop! I love that you guys took it into the nature :)

  36. what a wonderful trip…and gorgeous photos! xv

  37. annamaria says:

    Stunning photos!!Fabulous post.

  38. Thank you everyone for your kind words. For those interested in upcoming workshops, please stay tuned to my blog. All announcements are made on the blog first with at least 2 week advance. Thanks!

  39. Looks and sounds like the perfect place to learn about food photography from an expert like you Aran.
    Gorgeous photos, thanks for sharing them with us

  40. AMAZING. Wish I could have been there. I look forward to the day I can join one of your workshops.

  41. This pictures are really amazing!!! The colors are sensational enter in your soul!

  42. Love your photos! They look amazing! Have a lot to learn!

  43. Preciosas fotografías. En lugares como ese ha de ser un auténtico placer vivir. ¡¡¡A eso si lo podemos llamar calidad de vida!!!!

    Un saludo desde España,
    Juanra

    Listado de Razas de Perros y Gatos

  44. scholarpon says:

    Your school Need a fundraiser? check out scholarpon.com
    Video link – http://youtu.be/AN4LBgOXS88

  45. ursula albrecht says:

    I would love to save up to go to this workshop in the future. Photography and food are two of my biggest passions.

  46. pamistyle says:

    oh, i love canada – whistler is so awesome :-)
    have been there last time in 2003… when i see the pictures i´d love to go there immidiatly…
    thanks for this unique post…
    maybe i should take a course there, too :-)

  47. So happy to have found your blog! Look forward to reading your book as well. The blog is beautiful! :)

  48. Veronica Apolo says:

    Hello, would you please let me know when is the next Food styling workshop will take place.
    Thanks

    • Aran says:

      Thanks for your interest. The next workshop will be in sweden. I have not announced it on the blog yet. Stay tuned and you can also check the “workshop” tab found on my top menu bar. Thanks.

  49. […] and Nadia Dole once again for this workshop after the wonderful experience we had together in Whistler, BC this […]

  50. […] delicious local food every night. Thank you Angela and Nadia for all your hard work. The full story here. Workshop in […]

  51. Will you be holding a course like this in Whistler or Vancouver again? I would love to attend!

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