October 18, 2015

Maman & Le Collectif Food Styling Workshop

In the heart of the Toronto Financial District there is a little heaven of simple and rustic French aesthetic that makes you feel like you may have just stepped into a small piece of Provence. Painted cabinetry, vintage chairs (imported from France), old glass bottles, pitchers and baskets, a long wooden communal table, blue-patterned tails and china, lavender and thyme create an idyllic atmosphere – the perfect contrast to the industrial-style downtown hangouts. Called Maman, this bakery café is the second outpost of the popular New York city SoHo bakery, launched by a Michelin star chef with La Chassagnette (a restaurant in the south of France) in partnership with a group of friends. Their passion for authentic food is tangible through the deliciousness of croissants, baguettes, thyme madeleines, lavender loafs, pumpkin quiche (divine!), salads and sandwiches like croque "maman".
I couldn't think of more perfect place then Maman to host together with Le Collectif – two talented young women, the most charming and beautiful food styling workshop and brunch gathering I have recently attended. From the fresh baked goods and the lovely flower arrangements to the pretty props we got to play with, everything was organized in an elegant and tasteful manner. "Less is always more" was the leitmotif of the food styling tips Danielle and Meg shared with all of us. It is something I have always believed in, but I am not sure if I am always able to attain simplicity, especially when it comes to styling food. I am also not convinced that it is necessary on all occasions. This brought a number of old and new questions to mind such as, what is style and how do we define a personal sense of style.
If style is a personal "manner of doing something", can style be taught? Is it a combination of interests, desires, beliefs, inspirations, lifestyle and choices of clothing? Are there certain techniques that can help us develop style or is it something innate that we grow and live with – unique as our thumb prints? And if it is in fact personal, then how we dress, how we style our homes, cook our food and feed our souls should be a unique part and reflection of who we are.
Candidly, I took part in the food styling workshop because I love what Maman and Le Collectif do and wanted to support their efforts. My reason wasn't necessarily to attain this popular minimalistic look of food styling which I adore but isn't always who I am. I am simply curious and open for new knowledge. And I am grateful for the wonderful experience I had on this early September morning – being surrounded by beauty and good food, I met those young, proactive people (among whom, I guess, I was the only middle-aged woman :) who reminded me how important it is to stay true to myself and my personal sense of style. Style, I believe, is authenticity, first and foremost. 

"Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it" ~ Julia Child 


  1. It's fun to learn and grow, yet, I agree with being true to your own unique eye for beauty and style. Your photographic eye is already perfection in my opinion!

  2. First of all, a French feel is always good....rustic, real (no plastic, artificial feel), and a sense of old world. But I must comment on something here....you and a handful of other bloggers have taught me so much about photography. I know now that LIGHT and SHADOWS are our mediums. However, what is still a pleasant conundrum to me and what I seek to capture is the TONE you always seem to find. This brown, perfectly brown, gray and white tone with unlayers of sage green. Another blogger out in Bavaria also seems to have a pure palatte of pure white in her field of vision (nothing photoshopped to the extreme) with a few natural tones of brown and gray. This is what I lack. No matter what I do to eliminate the "noise" in my photos, I always end up with unwanted tones. But your styling is impeccable, Sylvia. Always with the natural woods, perfectly set tables, even the clothing others are wearing in your photos are perfectly matched to your signature color. Outstanding.

  3. Gorgeous! I follow Maman NYC on instagram, even though I live no where near there! They just have such a beautiful aesthetic, how could I not? :)

  4. Your photos capture the essence of your experiences as always. How I would have loved to have been there! How can you stand all that loveliness?

    Jane x

  5. Love your style! Your blog is so refreshing, love the photos.

  6. Such a beautiful post. We were so very happy to have you a part of this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I love your blog! The photos are stunning. All is neat and serene. Thanks for sharing!


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