In early 2017 I had a call from Wayne Chadwick of York Roast Co looking for a food photographer to create images for the launch of his new Yorky Pud wrap. Since then the Yorky Pud has become a sensation, going viral on social media and being featured on the BBC and in the Guardian. Crowds have been queueing outside the shop to sample it. Here’s the story…
York Roast Co is a family owned food business founded by Wayne and his brother Stephen. They have two cafes in the centre of York serving the good people of York and the very many visitors with a fresh roast dinner experience that can be taken away or eaten in the cafe. And they deliver. They also have cafes in in Chester, Shrewsbury and Salisbury.
They serve up freshly cooked hand carved roast meat sandwiches and giant filled Yorkshire puddings with fresh seasonal vegetables, roast potatoes, gravy and stuffing. The new product was a Yorkshire pudding wrap – a flattened tortilla-style Yorkshire pudding wrapped around fresh roast meat of your choice with red cabbage slaw or vegetables, stuffing and gravy.
Everything is prepared and cooked fresh on the premises so it was soon decided the obvious and practical solution was to shoot upstairs in the Low Petergate cafe in the shadow of York Minster. In the only room big enough – on the boardroom table in Wayne’s office which he vacated.
The images were to be used on A2 shop posters and online for the launch. York Roast Co’s designer Phil Ward of Black Sheep Design wanted a dark/black background to be consistent with previous images with space to allow alternative crops. I contacted home economist and food stylist Gill Marczak to help Wayne tweak the ingredients. And together we decided to bring a selection of olive wood boards to sit the wrap on. Then on the day of the shoot Gill prepared and styled the wraps from the ingredients cooked and prepared by the kitchen downstairs.
On the day of the shoot I needed to unload lights and gear before Low Petergate went pedestrian-only until the evening. Once we were set up Gill prepared a “dummy” wrap to work out the position and angle of the wrap on the board and in the frame and for me to sort out the lighting.
The Capture One software I use allows me overlay and position the images over the designers layout as I shoot. It lets me know I’ve got a composition that works in the layout and let’s the client visualise the finished artwork and approve the shots.
With the composition approved by Wayne and his managers, I got the lighting more or less as I wanted it and the real thing was made up. It was a case of working quickly whilst it still looked fresh and before the gravy had run too far. We shot a few alternatives with slight tweaks to lighting until we were happy.
Then it was a case of shooting the “meal deal” image with roast potatoes and a soft drink. Lighting the can as well required some extra lighting and reflectors and we shot a couple of alternatives.
Then as we were on a roll (or a wrap) we shoot a new image of a roast turkey dinner-filled yorkshire pud.
That was February 2017. Sales of the Yorky Pud wrap went well after the launch then in August things just went went crazy…