Crockwell Photography


'Northern Soul Food' - WestJet Magazine

The June edition of WestJet Magazine features a story about 'Northern Soul Food', which targets several restaurants in Newfoundland. The Merchant Tavern and Chinched Bistro were my two assignments to photograph.

Scroll through the slideshow below to read the article, written by Valerie Howes. Then check out more photos from my visit to each restaurant...


The Merchant Tavern

My restaurant visits have been few and far between, since my life with twins began almost two years ago. It was long overdue for me to try out The Merchant Tavern, so I was lucky to finally get an assignment to take me in there.

I had worked with Jeremy Charles before, but this was my first time meeting Nick Walters, executive chef, and Celeste Mah, pastry chef. The food prepared by all three was perfect for shooting, and delicious to eat (you can't serve photo food to customers, and its a sin to throw out... so I do what I must). 

The high ceilings, large windows, and open kitchen make for an excellent shooting space. I had taken photos in there before, once with a married couple, and once with an engaged couple, because of these attributes. But this time it was all about the food, and the people making it.

Watching this meal come together from scratch was a special treat. Preparing such delicious and beautiful food is truly a talent. 

As Jeremy began preparing this meal, he asked how I liked my steak. After these photos were finally done, I can tell you that I liked my steak very much ;)

Here is chef de cuisine, Nick Walters, working on a special scallop dish. This is not necessarily indicative of The Merchant Tavern's personality, but a great example of Nick's ability.

Celeste Mah, working on one of her best selling desserts. "The vinegar pie at The Merchant Tavern has a buttery sagamite (heritage-corn) crust and a filling that combines house-made apple-cider vinegar with smoky maple syrup and sweet cinnamon." - VALERIE HOWES

This meal is probably more familiar to Merchant Tavern's lunch regulars. This burger makes me want to be a regular. And the fries, if not already, should be recognized as some of the best in the city.

He's an interesting subject, and a good sport about it. "Thanks for the first-class lunch bud."

Chinched Bistro

Chinched Bistro has a place in many people's hearts. It could be the subtle styling influence of everyone's favourite domestic omnivore, or it could be the relaxed, intimate atmosphere. It most certainly has something to do with well made food. In the heart of downtown, Shaun Hussey and Michelle LeBlanc have created something special, and they deserve the international recognition they have garnered. As an amateur food critic and well experienced food lover, I highly recommend spending an evening at Chinched. Chances are, you already have :)

One of my favourite images from this visit.

From within the restaurant, I found bokeh (blurry lights in the background). This will be a theme I think...

The vibe of any restaurant starts in the kitchen, and the team in the back of this restaurant feel like a group of friends, a family. 

"...a curing blend of salt, sugar, peppercorns, foraged juniper and pine buds, and house-dried organic chili flakes made from hot peppers grown at an organic farm on the edge of St. John’s. - VALERIE HOWES

Shaun gets to work on the foundation of his charcuterie platter; house-cured Newfoundland meats.

  "...candied nuts, local cheeses, house-made pickles, sticky condiments and house-made bread sticks and crackers." - VALERIE HOWES

"...candied nuts, local cheeses, house-made pickles, sticky condiments and house-made bread sticks and crackers." - VALERIE HOWES

A great chef, a successful entrepreneur, and a best kind of fella. Missing from this photo is the equally pleasant and hard-working Michelle LeBlanc. Can't wait to come back :)

Visit to learn more.

Chris Crockwell