Spoonfed (Atlanta)

Mark Petko photographs Atlanta's culinary scene.

10 Degrees South | Atlanta

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We’ve Moved!  Check out the updated website with new coverage of food photography in your city at The Spoon Feeds.com


All content ©Mark Petko Photography (click here for permission)

Sosaties-Beef filet marinated & topped with a sweet apricot curry sauce, yellow & white rice

10° South

4183 Roswell Rd. NE

Atlanta, GA 30342


www.10degreessouth.com (link)

The occupational hazards linked with food photography may not be fairly compared to those of say an iron worker, coal miner, or bovine artificial inseminator, but food photography can provide a treacherous landscape for those trying to drop some pounds.  I often place newly captured imagery as my desktop images to remind me of recent work.  If I get tired of looking at something, chances are I need to get up off my dupa and go shoot.  Right now, gracing two screens are a dessert shot complete with dripped chocolate sauce and whipped (pronounced ‘whooped’) cream on one and biscuits covered with approximately 1/4″ thick gooey, melted, glistening cheddar on the other.  My wife astounds when she occasionally sits at my computer.  It dumbfounds her that I can place these images that seem so tantalizing in plain view.  To top it off, I have recently purchased into some exercise DVDs to help get fit, which I play in this setting. So as I am working out, videos being played on one screen inevitably will be flanked by some delicious food shot, in glaring contrast.  A digital yin-yang of health vs. indulgence.  Maybe it comes with being a photographer and starring at the images all day but for the most part, my personal Pavlovian response is rarely swayed by my own imagery.  I liken this phenomenon to cooking.  I could make a duplicate meal, using the same recipe, on the same stove, with the same pots and dishes as my mom but for some reason…it just tastes better when someone else does it.  So is the case in food photography, and even though the ‘after’ product of my own imagery is easy to overcome, being there is a different story.

When arriving at a location to shoot I often mention to whoever is presenting the dishes that color, texture, and depth play important roles in the end product.  ”White soup in a white bowl on a white tablecloth maaaay not be the best choice to showcase your restaurant.”  Most of them get it…most of them.  Certainly Di and Derek Anthony, owners of 10° South got it.  They presented me with such colorful dishes to photograph.  But the lurking danger presented itself towards the end of the shoot.  I was able to accomplish some nice shots quickly and was ready to pack up my gear when it was suggested we shoot a dessert.  ”I would love to” is always my reply.  I love what I do.  And then it came out…Di’s Delight.  It was handed to me and I could feel the warmth of the cake through the bottom of the dish.  The backs of my knees began to sweat.  My eyes dart back and forth between the cake and the lump of vanilla ice cream, my favorite.  A stand alone in and of itself yet so versatile and accommodating. (I’ll never understand you chocolate ice cream folk, with your ‘dominating’ flavor, overpowering any fair flavor-share on a twist cone…Stop!…that’s another post.  Back to the matter…) Eye’s darting, my earlobes quiver and the hairs on my knuckles lunge toward the plate as I make minor adjustments to the setting.  As I work the shot the ice cream begins to melt a bit.  I imagine the sound my spoon would make scraping an almost empty dish of it’s last clutches to this melted delight.  It’s this sound that usually draws a glare from my wife when we share ‘dessert time’.  Lost in my bliss, I often don’t realize I’m making this sound until I look up and her expression fills me in.   I finish the shot to my liking (or subconsciously to the point when I know the ice cream is primed) and turn to my hosts.  ”I think we got it.”  There is excitement in my tone, one part- ‘a day’s work well done’ and one part-’however will I reward myself’(sarcastically).  Then…The Offer.  ”You should try the cake.”  (or some variation of those words, I’m not exactly sure…my ears were ringing and the room was a blur.)  At this point, external influence is futile.  It’s all on me and the dilemma plays out.

I’ve worked so hard to lose this 30 lbs, but what is one bite?  A vision of Will Farrell from Old School plays in my head… “once it hits your lips…it’s so good!”  Knowing the danger, I proceed.  I don’t want to disappoint my hosts.  ”Mwah-Ha-Ha” I hear a demon laughing from the depths of my skull.  I grab a fork and take aim.  The cake depresses slightly to the pressure right before it splits and creeps up either side of the tines as moisture and warmth fogs the solid part of my utensil.  Carefully I level the selective bite atop my fork and reengage the plate, targeting the ice cream side.  The sharp points pierce the melting mass and the perfect amount finds itself upon the fork, sidled up next to the cake, melding into one another.  And then I plunge.  Releasing control. Giving up or Giving in, regardless, Freedom.  A thoroughly enjoyable bite of cake.  I regain my composure, compliment the creators and shift into packing mode as I start to disassemble a strobe.  As I reach for my grip case I hear yet again…The Offer.  ”Would you like to take some home with you?”  Damn you, gracious, nice people.  The bite has been swallowed, defenses down, force field at 7%.  I imagine what it would look like if I say no as a dishwasher scrapes a full piece of cake, minus ‘one’ bite into a garbage bin, shaking their head, questioning the integrity of someone that would waste such a divine  goodie.  ”Sure”  I say half defeated and half ecstatic knowing how the evening will proceed.  ”Mwah-Ha-haha”…damn demons.  Some one else felt the same way.

“Take your tastebuds on safari”® is the claim put out on some of the collateral by 10° South.  Contending to be the only South African restaurant in town 10° South fuses influence from French, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Malaysian cuisines to create their menu.  Since opening in 1998, 10° South has gone from being located in a bungalow to now being in a well designed space that offers multiple atmospheres.  There is an initial dining room encased mostly in high glass walls that allow plenty of light.  Behind that is a more secluded, comfy dining area that allows for a more intimate experience and at the rear of the restaurant is the bar and covered patio with plenty of seating options to enjoy drinks and edibles.  Family run by the Anthony’s along with their son Justin, the setting is classy and cozy and if they treat their customer’s like they treated me, then you should be pleased.  Check out John Kessler’s most recent review here.

All content ©Mark Petko Photography (click here for permission)


Chicken Curry-w/ traditional South African spices and herbs, yellow & white rice served with sambals

Peri-Peri Chicken- Marinated Cornish hen, butterflied and char-grilled.

Di's Delight-Warm, moist fruit sponge cake served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

All content ©Mark Petko Photography (click here for permission)

We’ve Moved!  Check out the updated website with new coverage of food photography in your city at The Spoon Feeds.com

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Written by Mark Petko

September 24th, 2010 at 2:54 pm