Winner of Shoot the Chef 2013 Peoples' Choice Award: Teodora Tinc's "Say hello to my little friend!" featuring chef Dario D'Agostino from Za-Za's Cucina and 5 Piatti Cucina.
Winner of Shoot the Chef 2013 People's Choice Award: Teodora Tinc's "Say hello to my little friend!" featuring chef Dario D'Agostino from Za-Za's Cucina and 5 Piatti Cucina. Photo: Teodora Tinc


The winner of the Shoot the Chef photography competition Peoples' Choice award has been decided. The winning image, captured by photographer Teodora Tinc, depicts Italian chef Dario D'Agostino from Za-Za's Cucina and 5 Piatti Cucina, Melbourne, with his "little friend", depicting a famous scene out of the movie Scarface.

Tinc's photo 'Say hello to my little friend!' was the most popular with readers. She was inspired by humour, and the action and infamous mafia themes made famous by the movie.

Here is an edited interview with the winning photographer:

What’s the story behind the fish?
We could have used any type fish really, however the species I selected for this shot was yellow fin tuna. Why? It’s a warm-blooded fish that is an incredibly strong swimmer. The body is designed for speed. It is symbolic of Dario in that he has had to be strong and agile to survive as a chef. Tuna are prized for speed and strength which illustrate Dario's speed and strength in running his kitchen. The small fish coming out of the tuna's mouth symbolise Dario’s role as a consultant chef. He passes all the finer details and information to other chefs.

What was your inspiration for the shot?
Firstly, this was a team effort. I took the shot and retouched the photo with the help of photography assistant Duta Alamsyah. Chef Dario and RW Marketing helped with the creative direction, and Aquanas Seafood supplied the fish and location. We wanted to produce an image that incorporated humour, action, sexiness and some Italian drama. It is based around a familiar and well known theme – the Italian mafia. We chose to re-enact a scene from Scarface. The film represents power, success, drama, money and most importantly it had an Italian in it! We then swapped certain elements such as the gun, the location, the outfit with things that represented Dario as a chef in order to meet the competition’s criteria. The fish substituted the gun so we needed a fish that was big, dominant and really made the picture! Tuna is also Dario’s favourite dish to cook. The way it is seen in the image is the way it was in reality! To add more action to the image I photoshopped small fish (representative of bullets) with smoke coming out as if he was shooting with the fish.

How did you take the shot?
Aquanas Seafood allowed us to take the photograph in their factory. They also supplied us with the fish. I also had a great assistant, Duta Alamsyah, who helped me take two separate images - one of chef Dario with the fish, and another with the background alone. The factory is absolutely spotless therefore I had to do a lot of photoshopping to make it look more grungy and dramatic.

How did you set up the fish?
Initially we wanted to photograph the portrait in a studio, but the fish was too difficult to transport. We therefore took the photo in Aquanas’ factory. We kept the fish on a huge table and when it was time to shoot, Dario would pick it up, pose for a minute then put it down. We did that a few times. How long did it take to get the shot? To set up and shoot the portrait and background took around two and a half hours. It took about six hours to edit. The editing always takes the most time.

Have you entered Shoot the Chef before?
No.

Why did you decide to enter the competition?
Dario and I have worked together on several occasions in the past, photographing Pizza Revolution, Pastry Revolution. We have become a close team together with RW Marketing. When we saw previous entries for the competition we knew we had a strong concept, great connections, and had a competitive chance to win.

Why did you choose that particular chef?
As mentioned before I have been working with Dario and RW Markerting on Pastry Revolution photographing the Sugar Master and Pizza Revolution, as well as several other projects. We are a strong team and realised the great opportunity it would be to produce something great together.