November 2018

Joakim Blockstrom Exhibits ‘If These Hands Could Talk’

Charity, Exhibition, Joakim Blockstrom, Portraits


“If these hands could speak, the stories they would tell…” was the initial sentence which sparked the idea for renowned food photographer, Joakim Blockstrom’s, stunning and important new project: Chefs’ Hands. 

Joakim has captured beautiful, candid images of the hands belonging to some of the biggest chef names in the industry, all of which tell their own unique story. No doubt for many, it’s become one of toil, exertion and precision. Each of the participating chefs, which include Tom Aikens, Nuno Mendes, Philip Howard, Nieves Barragan, Ollie Dabbous, Angela Hartnett and Tom Kerridge, have been asked to give their own story of struggles within the industry.

“Most chefs go through a rocky road before achieving success. And even then, a professional kitchen is an extremely tough environment, both physically and mentally; and while famous chefs’ faces may appear on magazine covers, their hands often reveal a less glamorous story. I have been working on a series of photographs in which I take a close look at the hands of chefs, and shine a light on how real, beautiful, scarred, vulnerable and strong they are. Each image will hopefully reveal a part of their personality and engage visually in the conversation around the strain on mental health in the restaurant world. — Joakim Blockstrom

Chefs’ Hands is a project raising money and awareness for the campaign, Pilot Light, which addresses mental health, particularly in the culinary workplace; a notoriously gruelling environment. The exhibition is on view at Carousel until January 2019.

Pilot Light was originally conceived in November 2017 by chef Andrew Clarke of St Leonards restaurant. It is affiliated with Time to Change, a long-running campaign that addresses the stigma around mental health. Their common goal is a manifesto for restaurants, to commit to making a real change in working conditions of staff in professional kitchens. Pilot Light will officially launch in February 2019.

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