Patrick Smith aka londonfoodboy, started his journey as a food photographer at an early age. He showed a great interest in creating recipes and cooking up weekday set menus for his family, but also with photo editing tools such as Photoshop and Lightroom.
Coming from a family with background in the hotel and hospitality industry, Patrick Smith aka londonfoodboy was a passionate food lover from birth. When he first came to London five years ago. Patrick’s passion for photography and technology spurred him into creating his own Instagram account, ‘londonfoodboy’. His account showcases London’s best food and drink. The success of this account quickly became greater than he could’ve possibly dreamt of. Not only did “londonfoodboy” become really popular amongst his followers, but he also noticed that his account caught the interest of the food and drinks industry. Shortly after, Patrick founded his own marketing agency «PROCK » and is now one of the most respected ‘foodies’ in the London scene.
Photography is a unique tool
Photography is a way for Patrick to express his curiosity, passion and dedication for food. This enables him to showcase some of the amazing things London has to offer. Patrick is an award-winning food photographer for social media and gets motivated by sharing an authentic, positive and eco-responsible message of the London food and drink scene
The partnership with Revol started early spring this 2020. “He’s been an amazing Eco Ambassador by including Revol products in most of his work” Revol says.
In this interview Patrick kindly shared his vision for his biggest passion: food photography. We discussed the London food and drink scene pre and post the previous lockdown, eco-responsibility and healthy eating.
To be a professional food photographer
To snap photos for social media is challenging, not only because of the obstacles you might face; such as lighting, cooking, styling and surroundings. But you’ve to be better than everyone who’s using their phones. Instant sharing combined with today’s great quality by modern devices allows almost everyone to become a “food critic”. As a result, you need to spend more time on becoming better and finding new ways to encourage them to recreate or reshare your content.
Secondly, the ability to translate the work of a Chef into a picture. Chefs can be very demanding. “It’s my job to translate their ideas into beautiful photos”. Especially when working with Michelin Starred Chefs, the level of expectations is high! I personally believe it’s about energy, experience and an eye for details” Patrick explains. You must work side by side with the Chef and always ask for a reference point. How the idea came to life to fully understand their vision. Capturing an image is no longer enough so Patrick works with creative mood boards, researching competitors and analysis data, developing strategies for social media usage and deep dives into his client’s style.
“I strongly encourage authentic content that reflects the food that is served and never “fake pitch” to the guests with any content. Patrick believes in spontaneity and truthful shots. Away from “studio shots”, he calls it “freestyle photography”, which will be as accurate and authentic to what a guest will discover on the plate themselves. When the balance is achieved, the final shot will look very professional and different to any shot anyone could have taken with its phone.
Talking about food and the London Food Scene
His interest in food comes from his parents “they allowed me to cook full menus when I was a kid”. Cooking from scratch, using local products, celebrating big occasions with food, and traveling the world are what created this growing interest in gastronomy.
Coming from the Nordics, Patrick is familiar with the Nordic food scene. Arriving to London 5 years ago was a shock. “So many options and temptations” he says. As a tourist, the first thing would be to look up on apps but it is often misleading. An interesting way to discover food in London is by visiting and tasting street food at food stalls and markets. Those vendors often end up creating brick-and-mortar locations. But it is by trying the smaller places that one can taste real flavors and get inspired.
Recently I’ve seen more and more local vendors do collaborations with more established brand. E.g. a local pita bread supplier, supplying a nationwide burger brand and the other way around – to make their offering more interesting. London is a melting pot and it’s easy to find cuisines from all over the world, and cuisines that fusion exciting origins.
Good for the planet and for the body!
Patrick is a trained “eco consultant” and is autodidact, including ecological approaches in his work for the past 15 years. He engages actions to help businesses and his following to a better eco understanding. “It’s all about knowledge and sharing you craft” says Patrick. For him, it starts with education. Knowing how to feed your kids proper meals, including fresh vegetables in their lunch boxes, and teaching yourself and your family how to be more eco responsible in the way you buy and eat.
“Good food should be produced and distributed in a way that we produce less waste”. Buy less meat (when you do, get it from your local butcher) and more organic products are both simple things that can be accomplished easily. Being eco responsible is also being conscious about how and what you eat. Balance is the key word; reduce fat, sugar, and salt, eat more veggies, and stay active.
We asked Patrick, who is a father, how kids are educated to these matters in the UK? He mentioned renowned Chef celebrity Jamie Oliver by explaining how he does a great job at bringing accessible information to everyone. To some extent he has changed the way families across the UK eats. Sugar taxes also had a great impact in the war against obesity. But it is still a long way to go. Patrick says he would love to be a part of this change moving forward.
To overcome the crisis restaurants are facing: dine out!
With the government-imposed 10pm curfew has hit restaurants and bars hard again. But as always, I’m proud to see they’re adapting to the situation. They find incredible ways to survive.
Patrick’s message is clear “We’ll need to support local businesses and eat and drink out. But when a restaurant has been closed for 5-6 months, people expect the same level of service, but don’t forget that some places lost their well-experienced staff.” An important thing I’ll like to point out is when you book a table is to really GO and avoid at almost all cause to become a “no-show”. But stay safe.
Despite the current pandemic, Patrick has been busy snapping pictures and since starting to work with Revol, he has experienced a re-gain in inspiration.
He’s launching his own website with recipes October this year! So, stay tuned!
Check out one of Patrick’s recipes here.
Interview by Tenaya Santos da Silva