How did What To Cook come about?
Sophie: When my brother, Eddy, and I were young, Dad took over the cooking from our Mum whose inspiration for weeknight cooking was diminishing. Dad came at it from a whole different angle – passion instead of convenience. Eddy and I could instantly tell the difference and would get excited about dinner every single night. Dad became more and more interested and inspired by good food and cooking and it’s only intensified over the years. This has instilled a very prominent foodie gene in me too.
I fell in love with photography after I started my own personal blog, The Littlest Things. I was living in England at the time with my now husband, George, and got a Nikon D3000 for my 21st birthday. I became obsessed with taking photos to document my life in England and the passion for photography kept on growing.
During an extended 4 month visa-related visit back from England to Sydney, Dad & I would cook up these amazing long weekend lunches together for family and friends! We would get so inspired and excited about what we would be cooking every week. Dad and I would go to the market together, collect all the produce, come back home and cook up a delicious lunch for everyone. I would always be documenting these lunches through photography for my blog. It was around this time when the idea of starting something like What To Cook popped into Dad’s head. He said that we should combine our two passions together and form a website to help people get inspired to cook during the week.
We have now expanded it out to also include lifestyle aspects that revolve around food, but our main focus is posting 3-5 new recipes a week to help beat that dreaded 5pm question of “what should I cook tonight?”
What is your food philosophy?
Ultimately our food mantra is….”don’t over think it!”. We really believe that food (and wine haha) is one of the best things about life so why not enjoy it? We eat (and post) a very balanced array of meals that are healthy and will make you feel good. 99% of the time we get our vegetables from our local fruit & veg shop, we get our seafood from our local fishmonger; we get our meat from our local butcher. We think this makes a big difference on plating up a healthy dinner that you’re proud of and makes you feel good. You know that the people selling the produce are passionate about what they are selling you.
We love pasta so we eat pasta. We love red meat so we eat red meat. We love butter so we cook with butter. We just don’t have toooooo much of each and balance it out with lots of greens or fresh veggies in general.
This attitude towards what we cook seriously reduces cravings for food that’s obviously bad for you (e.g. takeaway, milk chocolate or any sugary treat) and that can only be a good thing!
How do you come up with the recipes?
Andrew: This is a funny question for me to answer because honestly I don’t really know how I come up with them. Sometimes I am completely stumped and uninspired but then next second I can come up with 4 new recipes to cook out of nowhere. It usually comes down to a specific ingredient, region, genre or season. Then Soph and I will start spitballing about what to cook around that specific element. Soph comes up with recipes too, but it will be more based around what recipes she thinks will be photogenic :)
What camera do you use and what editing tools do you use?
Sophie: For the photos that we post on the website I use a Canon 5D Mark iii with either a 50mm f1.4 lens or a 24-70mm f2.8 ii lens. I edit the photos in Lightroom, which I find extremely easy to use.
For the photos we post on Instagram, I use my iPhone 6 (unless I post an image from the site – in that case I’ll use the hashtag #notiphone). I then edit those images always with the VSCOcam app and sometimes with Afterlight (in addition to VSCOcam). The iPhone is an amazing tool to use for food photography. All you need is to remember to clean the lens of your phone and to shoot in nice natural light. (It’s very hard to edit a photo that’s taken in poor light or is all smudged :)
How many calories are in this recipe?
We don’t calorie count our recipes. However, we do always make sure there is a good balance of deliciously fresh vegetables and salads :)
Can you repost this to be gluten free and/or vegan (or insert special dietary request here)?
Unfortunately we don’t have a big enough team that includes a gluten-free or vegan expert and we definitely are not experts ourselves as we aren’t vegans and we eat gluten. There are so many amazing websites out there that cater to specific diet requirements but with ours we tend to stick to what we know best. In the future, we have grand plans of have semi-regular contributors for diet-specific recipes so stay tuned.
Where/how did you learn to cook?
Andrew: I learnt to cook in my home kitchen by trial and error, reading cookbooks & Gourmet Traveller, watching cooking shows, and by hosting dinner parties with my wife, Judy. I’m completely self-taught and have never been to a course or workshop. Cooking is easier than people think, my two bits of advice for becoming a whiz in the kitchen is remember mise en place, and to invest in good knives. Oh and have someone else worry about the cleaning up :)
Sophie: I learnt to cook through being Dad’s sous chef :)
Where/how did you learn/study photography?
Sophie: Like dad, I am self-taught. In the beginning it was all trial and error mixed in with ‘Google it’. Which is what I still do to this day, plus I practice every single day too. I’m still learning and come across challenges regularly. There are so many photography workshops I want to do to hone in on my skills and expand my knowledge but until then I’ll continue to shoot and research daily. My three bits of advice for food photography is to shoot with a good lens (not a kit lens), always shoot in good light and don’t shoot with a flash :)
How come you’re always together? Do you still live at home Sophie?
Sophie: Haha yes I do. I am so incredibly lucky to have the two most amazing people as my parents who are very happy for George and I to live with them. After George and I moved back from London to Sydney in September 2013, our plan was to live with my parents for a couple months until we found a place to rent. However, the deal at home was so much better than essentially wasting money on renting a place we didn’t love. So we changed gears and have decided to bite the bullet and save to buy a house. Luckily for us, my parents are incredibly supportive of that.
Andrew: We would be happy for them to live with us forever haha,
Where are you based?
We are based in beautiful Sydney, Australia!
Have a question that we haven’t answered here? Email us at email@example.com