As Spain began to re-open after the COVID-19 lockdown, chef Martin Berasategui put a plan in place for opening Lasarte, his three Michelin star restaurant in Donostia-San Sebastian. Spain’s weekly magazine, El País Semanal, sent Bilbao-based photographer Markel Redondo to cover the chef’s approach to staying safe while dining out.
It depends on the region, but generally, restaurants in Spain have been open since June, with restrictions.
Together with writer Jesús Ruiz Mantilla, Markel went to Lasarte to interview chef Martin Berasategui and capture visuals of the safety protocols that the restaurant had put in place since their reopening. One of those safety measures was ensuring that the number of staff members onsite was limited to maintain proper social distancing guidelines.
Before entering the restaurant, staff members checked Markel’s temperature, as they do with all of their staff members and any interested diners. While the photographer walked around Lasarte, he kept his mask on and maintained two meters of distance between himself and others.
It’s quite a big restaurant and because it wasn’t open yet there was enough space to move and work around.
Markel was tasked with getting a variety of shots, including portraits of Martin Berasategui, shots of prepared food, and action shots in the kitchen. The photographer found that it was difficult to show how the chef and Lasarte staff had changed their approach to dining through still images.
As the story was related to COVID, it was difficult to portray the challenges that the chef and the restaurant were having during COVID times, apart from showing the masks they are using. Because the restaurant was closed, it was difficult to show the measures they have adopted to protect clients.
After two days of shooting stills, Markel had one more day to shoot a video for the online version of the article. In the video, Martin Berasategui speaks about the panic that ensued after he realized he would have to close Lasarte and the measures that he has taken to prepare the restaurant for reopening. Markel used the video to show the aspects of COVID preparation that did not show up as well in still images.
The staff wearing masks was the obvious thing. The temperature check was done every morning to staff members. It was easier to show the distance between tables on video than in photographs.
Markel is a regular contributor to El País Semanal. His images and video from this shoot can be seen in the article “El regreso de Martín Berasategui: cómo preparar un tres estrellas Michelin ante el coronavirus” on El País Semanal’s website.
See more of Markel’s work at markelredondo.com.
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