Say Hola! to your fellow Hong Kong Indian Asmita Bharadwaj Das – a mother, self-taught food photographer, amazing food stylist & founder of @OneWholeSomeMeal. Being true to the name, Asmita is striving to bring back faith in real food. Through her page, she expresses how eating everything in moderation is the only sustainable way to stay fit. Her two sons – 4.5 years old and 2 years old are her greatest critics and most honest taste-testers. We caught up with Asmita to delve more in to what goes on behind the lens:
- Tell us about yourself – how did you start @onewholesomemeal
I have been cooking from the age of 8 or 10, simple basic meals. I always took keen interest in helping my grandma and mum around in the kitchen. Photography is a hobby and I have always felt intrigued by the play of light and how it makes the most unusual subjects look beautiful. So, Onewholesomemeal was born out of my desire to share my two bits on food and photography.
- What are some of heritage lost recipes of Bihar?
Over the years, living outside of India, I realised that our food is mistakenly represented across the world as comfort food – butter chicken/naan/biryanis and more recently South Indian food has got some limelight thanks to what I like to call the Vegan Food Revolution. I believe that while each country has something unique to offer in terms of food, very few offer the perfect balance of variety, taste and nutrition as much as Indian food does. Although I love to experiment with all kinds of cuisines – the food that I grew up eating and have in-depth knowledge about is Bihari food. We eat a host of lentils, vegetables and fresh water fish like Rohu and Catla (Carp). Some of my personal favourites are Dal Pithi (lentil stuffed steamed rice dumplings), Baingan Bharta (roasted and mashed eggplant), Baingan-Badi sabzi (Eggplant cooked in mustard flavoured tomato gravy), Kachchi Haldi ki sabzi (Curry made with Raw Turmeric), Bhuna Mutton (and chicken) and Mustard Fish curry. I could go on and on.
- Have you done a course in Food Photography?
You can call me an “internet-taught” food photographer. Just a lot of playing around and getting comfortable with my DSLR, studying light and YouTube has helped. I also follow a lot of professional food photographers’ work on social media which inspires me a lot too. I am nowhere close to my goal but I learn something new each day and that is what I love about blogging and social media.
- A food photographer needs an eye for food plating & styling – how did you develop that skill?
Food styling and plating is something I am learning on the job. I do have a naturally intuitive eye for detail and understanding of colour scheme and balance which helps too. Again, this art like any other gets better with experience.
- We hear that you also provide catering services, tell us more about that?
Well, it isn’t your typical catering service as I am a one woman army so do not have the bandwidth for it at the moment. However what I do provide is small meals for 2-4 people prepared with high quality ingredients delivered to one’s doorstep.