Marshall To discovered his affinity for photography after a friend prompted him to start a “food instagram”. “I had no idea food photography was a thing but quickly learned that it was not only a thing, but an extremely popular thing!”. Just under two years ago, Pursuit of Gluttony was born. Marshall’s love for food and photography has continued to grow ever since and what was once a gallery of humble, rustic meals and gatherings, has now evolved into an archive of evocative, raw and almost painterly travel photography, capturing honest and natural moments from camp fire feasts in the Pacific North West to exploring the abandoned, graffiti clad buildings of Berlin. Pursuit of Gluttony continues to remind us how beautiful the simple pleasures in life really are. It celebrates adventure and exploration and, most importantly, the experience of sharing good food with good people.
What is so important about coming together and connecting over food?
Growing up [my family] used to go out for dim sum every Sunday, connecting over food was very important. I can guarantee you not everyone got along all the time but when we sat down around a table we all had one thing in common and that was food. Food helps us to stay connected to each other in a more personable way without phones and all the other things that disconnect us from having one-on-one interactions with each other.
Food helps us to stay connected to each other in a more personable way without phones and all the other things that disconnect us from having one-on-one interactions with each other.
You often cook in remote places on your adventures, on just a wood fire with a skillet or two. What are the bare essentials you take with you on a pursuit to the outdoors to cook a feast?
A cast iron pan, a sharp knife, cutting board, tongs, tea towel, matches or a lighter and easy ingredients that will cook fast over a fire because, unlike an actual kitchen, you can’t regulate the heat.
Have you experienced any unexpected challenges or successes since starting Pursuit of Gluttony and how do you think it has changed the way you cook?
I never expected this to ever get to where it has, so it is all unexpected. It’s such a new experience for me but it feels incredibly natural. There are times when I only cook things that I know will get a lot of “likes”, [on instagram] but often times it’ll be something I’ve never cooked before so in many ways it’s helping me grow as a chef and has helped me discover my style of cooking, which is more family style.
Where have been the most inspiring places your pursuits have taken you?
The South of France was an amazing experience. I have a friend that lives there and I was fortunate enough to experience the lifestyle and the food with his expertise. Spain was also a place that inspired me, especially experiencing the Northern coast (Basque Region). Going out for Tapas and wine was my favourite thing to do. Anytime you can fully experience a different culture is inspiring, from the food to the people to the wine; these are all the things that make the culture so romantic to foreigners like myself.
Any advice for cooking newbs and those intimidated by the kitchen?
Start off with really easy things and work your way up. The more comfortable you get with cooking the more you’ll be able to do in the kitchen. Start off with things like pasta, proteins that don’t need a lot of attention or time to cook and add herbs to everything! Think of it as a piece of canvas that needs paint.
Also having the proper tools like a decent sharp knife helps a lot, if you have a dull knife then you’re making it even more difficult on yourself . With that said, learn to hold a knife properly, you want to control the blade and not the handle. Once you’re comfortable with that it’ll make everything so much easier and fun.
Recipe: Spanish Shellfish Skillet.
This is by far my favourite recipe for the outdoors; It’s my Spanish Shellfish Skillet.
1 lb of clams
1 lb of mussels (rinsed and cleaned)
1 lb of peeled prawns
1 carton of grape or cherry tomatoes
3 chorizo sausages
1 shallot diced
2 roasted red peppers
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of Salt
2 tsp of smoked paprika
Half a bunch of flat leaf parsley
A very generous pour of dry white wine
Fresh cracked pepper and extra virgin olive oil to finish
Put the cast Iron in the hottest part of the fire and add oil, it won’t take long for the pan and oil to become hot, once it starts smoking then you’ll know. Start off with cooking the chorizo, you’ll want to cook it till it’s almost fully cooked then cut it up and put aside, there will be excess fat and flavour from the chorizo so you won’t need to add extra oil. Continue by adding shallots, salt, smoked mussels and clams adding the garlic a few minutes later, add prawns to cook for another few minutes, smoked paprika then pour the wine in, let it reduce about a quarter. Cooking is all about timing, every ingredient has its on timing, mussels, clams will open when they’re done and prawns will curl up. Once it’s done take it off the fire carefully with a mitt or wrapped up tea towel and most importantly taste to test. Finish it off by drizzling with olive oil, pepper and sprinkling parsley (remember, fresh herbs are to be added at the end as opposed to dry herbs) rip off pieces of bread to dip and enjoy!
What advice would you give to people about to pursue what they love?
I would say that nothing good ever comes easily but be persistent, realistic and try to stay true to yourself and follow your heart. Just like anything it’ll lead you to interesting places and failures but it’s all a learning process and is worth it all in the end.
Playlist Pursuit of Gluttony
Whether I’m cooking or traveling or driving, I’m listening to music. It helps me think, cook, sleep… you name it. There are few things in life that evoke emotions like music does.