Sharpe Chefs


Part Five in an On-Going Series About The Making of Sharpe Chefs


Adele James

Special to Sharpe Chefs, Guest Author: Sue Harris  ~

Picture a group of women living across the globe. We had a variety of jobs from teacher to farmer to psychologist and had one thing in common – the desire to produce a cookery book for charity. As part of this dream, we not only had to produce the recipes but, without financial backing, we had to take our own photographs as well. Some of us were confident photographers, some considered ourselves the 'point and shoot' sort and some were not happy if we had to record a day at the beach. However, with enough will to sink a battleship, we set out on the grand adventure.

I consider myself to be a reasonably competent photographer and I have learned to use an image processing program to correct and enhance my own shots. I, therefore, became the person who forgot to take one step back with the rest, and was chosen to collect and collate the incoming photos for the first Sharpe Chefs book. Like most of the rest of the group, I only had half an inkling, at this stage, as to what I was doing. I knew we had to have a selection of examples of each dish at a sufficiently high quality for professional reproduction. I had a good eye, but was not sure I could produce a good enough cross-section for this purpose, having no previous experience. Consequently, I sent a few of the photos to our designer, asking for his opinion and comments. He is a very understanding person and sent me some extremely useful suggestions without making me feel that I would be better off snapping souvenir photos at the beach! I duly passed on to the other chefs the snippets of information he gave me.

I dread to think what the other women thought of me by the end of the enterprise, but some of them were asked to repeat their photographs more than once and, if necessary, a stalwart little band took on the rush job of cooking and photographing some dishes at the very last minute.

For the second book, (Sharpe Chefs II: On Campaign),  we were more organised. Before I issued guidelines to the chefs for the food shots, I ran them by the publisher to make sure they were what they required. Luckily, I had it right first time. I also did a proper job of editing and sent what I considered to be the best of each dish, with the understanding that the designer could have as many more as he wanted if they weren't suitable.

Adele James is the founder of Sharpe Chefs and its fabulous sequel, Sharpe Chefs II is NOW AVAILABLE!

You can order your copy of Sharpe Chefs I & II here.


All images and text are property of Sharpe Chefs and ITV, Picture Palace, Rex Features.

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- Point and Shoot -

The Sharpe Chefs Hit Their Target

Three rounds a minute! Be glad the women of  Sharpe Chefs were using cameras instead of rifles!

It was incredible to see how the standard of the photographs I received had changed in a year. Every single person had taken their game up at least a notch and very few changes needed to be made. Anyone who had to re-shoot did so with a professional attitude and in good time. All this made my job much easier. In turn, I decided to avoid mass emails to the designer and put the shots up in folders on a server, where he could access them at his leisure. The result was a second, more professional looking book that made us proud – again!