It’s the scars and battle wounds of chefs – not their food – that have captured the attention of Katie Wilson for the past decade.
The photographer has zoomed her lens onto the palms, fingers and nail beds of those at the helm of a spectrum of the capital’s eateries for the exhibition Fifty Chefs – The Hands That Feed London.
The hands of two pals first sparked the inspiration behind the charity exhibition for FareShare, opening in Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street next month.
“I was fascinated by how these guys got these scars and what went on in the kitchen,” said Katie.
“I find hands as interesting as faces – they say something different about you. I've got horrible hands, so I don’t know why. A lot of chefs work incredible hours but are so passionate about what they do. It’s the process of someone making something with their hands, something for you to eat.
“It’s a particular type of person who wants to cook and to nourish people – it’s so blindingly obvious, but we don’t think about it often.”
Her project – which began at The River Cafe – has seen her snap everything from palms scorched with burns to the various tattoos of The Chiltern Firehouse’s Nuno Mendes.
At east London’s Pellicci’s, an Italian family-run cafe rated by cuisine whizz Mark Hix, Mr Pellicci, his wife and family tackle the grub, including peeling and chopping potatoes by hand for the business.
“There’s something really interesting about it,” said Katie. “I think the Kray brothers used to eat there.
“It’s just a real institution. Pellicci’s and kebab shops are delighted to be on the same list as the The River Cafe and Michel Roux Jnr. But then again, Michel and others are equally delighted to be on the same list as the Beigel Shop in Brick Lane.”
The show, at Londonnewcastle Project Space, runs from April 3-6. All proceeds go to FareShare.