Not long ago, catering on a shoot meant uninspired ordered-in sandwiches and a limited selection of school-dinner-like fillings. But now, this lacklustre industry has been completely redefined by a new wave of savvy entrepreneurs, with a taste for great food and an eye on health and sustainability. The talent of some of these new players means the culinary offerings on shoots now matches up to the creative brilliance that’s being captured on camera. The transformation is really rather remarkable.
Leading the charge on this front is TART, a London-based catering duo made up of Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison. Formerly a photographer, Lucy had first hand experience of what was offered on shoots and noticed it was an area that could do with a revamp. With a loyal social following, an array of delicious, healthy, home-grown recipes and a knack for offering something for everyone - from wispy models to hungry security staff and everyone in between - they earnt fans in all the right places.
Now, hundreds of shoots later, the duo have delivered two sell-out pop ups, hosted a Mallorcan yoga retreat and bagged themselves an Evening Standard magazine column. And, they’re currently penning their first cookbook.
We caught up with one half of the incredibly busy Tart duo - Lucy Carr-Ellison - to find how they did it.
Hi Lucy. Can you tell us a bit about how the idea for Tart came about?
I had returned from studying in New York and was helping out cooking on location photoshoots in Northumberland, where I am from. It started there, I then went off on my own and did a very fun job in Houghton Hall with the photographer Tim Walker for the cover of Love Magazine with Kate Moss. It just snowballed from there.
You’ve come a long way since then - how has it evolved?
It was a natural progression, it grew very fast and I needed to do it with someone so Jemima Goldsmith joined. We had great fun and worked very hard. We then wanted to spread our wings from just catering so took on our first pop up in Queens Park.
What are the benefits of having other presences, for example your ES food column?
Its brilliant, we are very lucky to have the column. It is great fun coming up with the recipes, they are very kind and let us have a pretty free run of what we want to do.
You’ve done two pop-ups so far. What did you want to get out of them?
The longer one, which was a couple of months was amazing and so much fun. We changed the menu every couple of days, coming up with exciting new recipes depending what our green grocer bought us that morning from the market. We had a few parties too which was great, although took its toll with the early starts!
How did you feel after you’d done it?
The feeling of walking in in the morning, with the spring sun shining through the windows, thinking ‘this is ours!’ was the best feeling ever.
What are your plans for the future?
After that pop up we realised this is what we want to do - we want our own permanent place.
And we are also just finishing our first cookbook.
Tart’s first cookbook, published by Penguin, will be available in Spring 2018.