I am delighted to present Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog Photographer 2015, Renée Kemps, as the host of our next Lens & Larder workshop which will take place at the beguiling Irish country estate, Ballyvolane House, April 26-29th, 2016.


Participants will pay a special visit to Cork’s artisan English Market as well as gather ingredients from the stunning forest and walled garden of Ballyvolane House to craft their own editorial food story and discover an exciting translation of food through the lens.

Over the course of three nights and two days, students will get to learn from Renée as she demonstrates her methods of styling and photography, and gain insight into her overall process and philosophy from working with light, to composition, editing, blogging, and social media while enjoying the relaxed luxury and friendly atmosphere of historic Ballyvolane House.

Here are a few stunning examples of Renée’s work…

_MG_7229 _MG_4439-2 ZQ3U1149 _MG_8873-3 ZQ3U9061-2 ZQ3U8759-2 ZQ3U8745-2 _MG_1055 _MG_0993 _MG_0691 _MG_0476 _MG_4265-2 _MG_0376

Included in the retreat:  3 nights luxury accommodation at Ballyvolane House, 1 welcome reception and dinner, 3 full Irish breakfasts; 2 lunches; 2 dinners including wine and cocktails; all food with a focus on locally sourced, artisan ingredients (vegetarian options will be catered for).

Excluded: Travel to Ireland and transportation to Ballyvolane House; Travel insurance; Extras

Cost: EUR €1850/$2012USD per person sharing dual occupancy. For private accommodation, please enquire and will be available on a first come, first served basis.  An 80% non-refundable deposit will be required to secure your spot. Final 20% Payment will be due upon arrival at Ballyvolane House.

Due to timing logistics, there will be absolutely no refunds for this workshop. Please make sure you can attend before securing a space for the retreat. We strongly recommend that you to take travel insurance. Owning an SLR camera is preferable.

Please email lensandlarder@gmail.com for more details & registration.


Renée Kemps is the author of “Harvest”, a blog about seasonal ingredients, local produce and sharing food with loved ones. She is the winner of the Saveur Best Food Photography Awards in 2015, has contributed to Food52, Vogue Magazine, and is currently collaborating with Yotam Ottolenghi for Jamie Magazine. Renée grew up in Delft, a small village in The Netherlands, and moved to the countryside when she was 10 years old. Growing up outside, with apple trees in her backyard, strawberries in the garden, and chickens running around made her fall in love with a life where we know where our food comes from, how it grows, and how we can take it into our kitchen to enjoy it together at the table, with good conversations and cozy nights.

Slan Abhaile,

Imen xx

Tags: , , , , , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

There was a time, pre-Irish farm life, when the term foraging was designated to sample sales or an early opening at Saks’ Off 5th on a Saturday morning. Things are much different for me here in the Irish countryside. Foraging has become a weekly part of life it seems, as I pack up our son each weekend to go hunting and gathering for all things edible around the farm and down by the wood along the river when the weather permits.

This weekend we were finally able to pick some wild blackberries, although it was lean around here as the weather hasn’t cooperated much this season. We also spotted quite a few ripened sloes which are a month early, again due to weather conditions.

Last year at about this time, Justin and Jenny Green of the incredible Ballyvolane House were perfecting their Hedgerow Martini, which, of course, sparked my curiosity. A hedgerow martini is basically a combination of fruits and berries picked from the hedge, mixed with gin or vodka and then shaken, not stirred.  This year I thought I’d give it a try myself since we have sloe gin on hand from last season and fresh blackberries as well as loads of elderberries on the tree outside the farm kitchen window.

We have visitors arriving today so hopefully a wild foraged martini will go over a treat before dinner this evening.

We made our way down to our secret foraging location…

And we were delighted to see our first ripe blackberries at last!

Puree some blackberry and elderberry,

then mash them through a sieve,

and pour into the bottom of a jam jar & cover with a handful of ice

Add in your sloe gin, shake and pour into the glass of your choice

garnish with more blackberries and elderberries..maybe a leaf or two

And then, Sláinte!

An Irish Hedgerow Martini

One handful of blackberries

One handful of elderberries

1 tbsp caster sugar

½ cup of sloe gin (to taste and comfort level)

½ cup of ice

1 jam jar

Puree blackberries and elderberries with sugar in a food processer. Push mixture through sieve to remove seeds. Pour into bottom of a jam jar, cover with ice and then sloe gin, then shake and pour into glass of your choosing. Garnish with elderberries and blackberries.


PS. You could use any foraged fruits or herbs from your area for this cocktail.

Slan Abhaile,


Photos & styling by Imen McDonnell.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·
Saveur Sites We Love
Recent Posts