Casing the Menu {Worth Casing Wednesday Link Up}

Real Food Journey | Sally Woods | Agent Mystery Case

Casing the menu | Agent Mystery Case | Reviews, Recipes and more


This week I’m casing the menu, with Food Reviews hitting the blog in a big way next month, starting with my TOP TEN favourite places to brunch here in Perth. In preparation for this, I’ve been honing my food photography skills lately by putting my new Sony Xperia phone to the test.


While I’ve been reviewing eating establishments as part of my ‘mystery shopping’ work for a number of years, this rarely required any photo taking on my part. In fact the minute you draw attention to yourself or receive preferential treatment the mystery shop is void.


I strongly believe pulling out your DSLR, draws too much attention to yourself. Staff would no doubt assume you were there to review or blog about your adventures and in a lot of cases you wouldn’t necessarily be on the receiving end of a real customer experience. Which is what real reviews are all about.


These days though, everyone seems to be taking photos of their food and getting away with a quick photo or twenty on your mobile phone seems more normal than it should be. It certainly makes sneaking the odd photo to accompany a review blog post easier.


Timing is another huge consideration, especially when it comes to the temperature of the food.  I don’t want the photography side of things impacting on how I review the food. If it takes me five minutes to set up the perfect shot, I can’t complain or report about my hot food being a touch on the cold side.


Ideally, I need to grab the perfect shot in just a few seconds. That means spending a bit of time getting to know my new phone a little better by taking lots of food photos when time isn’t of the essence.


It also means that when an invitation to attend a food demonstration on Valentine’s Day with local cook Sally Woods from Real Food Journey arrives in my inbox, I jump at the chance to attend and try to grab some not so sneaky photos while I’m there.


I had initially planned to take hubby along and call it a Valentine’s Day date but he rather oddly had other plans and Miss 13 (about to turn 14) joined me and true to form ended up helping with the demonstration at one point.


Sally’s cooking demonstration at Westfield Innaloo was impressive to say the least, providing me (and Miss 13) with the perfect recipes to make a gourmet Valentine’s Day picnic.


Sally has a real way with food and people in general. Especially the narky little man that felt the need to pop up behind her and put more than his two cents worth in on how you should cook meat during her demonstration.  I believe he was insisting it was twelve whole minutes either side.


I was disappointed when he went back to his shopping and didn’t stick around for a taste test. Although I’m guessing he might have been stuck in his over cooked meat loving ways.




with Sally Woods from Real Food Journey

Valentine’s Day Cooking Menu

Potato cakes with lemon dill cream and smoked salmon

Tender seared beef and rocket salad

Caprese salad

Red Berry Pudding with vanilla sauce



I wrapped the recipe leaflet up and gifted it to Mr C, with a massive HINT HINT scrawled across the front. Sadly, I’m still waiting for him to produce the perfect picnic or any of my Valentine’s Day wish list (blogged here).



Miss 13 joined Sally Woods at Westfield Innaloo cooking demonstations

Real Food Journey | Beef Salad | Sally Woods

Caprese Salad | Real Food Journey | Sally Woods

Agent Mystery Case | Real Food Journey Sally Woods | Salmon and Potato canapes

Real Food Journey | Sally Woods | Westfield Innaloo

With a cafe about to open and several cooking classes on the horizon, I’m looking forward to ‘casing’ Sally Woods and her Real Food Journey in a big way this year.



If you have a blog post worth casing this week, this is the place to link up:


If you have any tips for photographing food when eating out, I would love to hear them.


A massive thanks to everyone that entered my ‘getting to know you giveaway‘ last week. I’m having a bit of time out, due to facing my fears head on and will be offline over the next few days. I will be emailing our winner, catching up with comments and casing your blog posts as soon as I’m back online.

About Mystery Case 462 Articles
Follow Raychael aka Mystery Case on her mystery adventures 'casing' people, products and places to bring you her worth casing favourites.


  1. Whipping out the DSLR definitely brings attention to us bloggers so I’m also trying to perfect my photo taking skills with my phone and even my iPad … love the photos in this post … they look great!

    • With a family of foodies it’s hard not to have them involved when it comes to free gourmet food.

      Call me delusional, but after the song and dance hubby performed in the lead up to the day, especially given he announced he is heading to sea next month, I was expecting big things, or anything. We did manage breakfast at 6am. It was after just 2 hours sleep on my part, so you can imagine how delightful I looked and felt. lol

  2. Raych, I think you did a great job with your photography! But now I will whine…..I WANT TO EAT THERE! It looks fabulous! The thrity some hour flight might be a bit too much…

    Glad Miss 13 got to go! 🙂

    • I’m only online very briefly following my MRI yesterday. I had a bit of a reaction and needing time out with more tests about to commence. I will pop by your blog as soon as I can. Have been thinking about you.

  3. I’ve never heard of the phone you have but gee it takes good photos!! I know what you mean about being discreet when taking photos of your food at a restaurant or cafe. I feel quite self conscious doing it and because of that usually snap pretty crap photos with my phone. No way would take in my DSLR though LOL unless it was a prior arrangement with the said restaurant and cafe and I was being paid!! The food at this place looks fab. Shame Perth is so far away from me! Boo hoo!

  4. I do a lot of food photography and yes, I whip out the DSLR. Just so much better in low light. I also embrace the fact that I take photos now. If I notice someone looking I give them a nonchalent “What? You don’t take photos of your food? How odd are you!” look. I do try to be discreet though and have the camera ready for a few quick snaps as the food arrives so my love doesn’t get antsy.

    • I wouldn’t mind whipping out the DSLR if it was an organised event. Not for a review though. Luckily for me, I’m starting the blog reviews with breakfast and brunch and hopefully by the time I get around to dinner, I will know my way around my new phone camera. It has night functions, I just haven’t experimented with them.

  5. Yum, yum yum! I want some of all of it right now. Good thing I have some banana bread just waiting to me to eat it for dessert… 😉

    • I feel so bad taking photos at these things and holding proceedings up. Mind you, my quick shots was nothing on the guy that stood up mid demonstration and stopped everyone in their tracks so he could take photos.

  6. I spend a lot of time travelling to far away places, and my photos always include lots of foody ones! Could be something to do with me being a chef I suppose!

  7. I always feel a bit weird taking photos of my food when I’m out so I tend to rush them and then when I go to use them, I never like them. But perhaps I just need to give it some more practise. I’m glad I had dinner before looking at your pics though, otherwise I’d be drooling (again).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.