In the Spotlight : Helene of Tartelette

{image by William T. McSweeney, Helene’s new book}

A little about you, your business, your inherent you-ness:
HM: I launched the award-winning blog Tartelette in 2007, which I dedicate to the art of food, photography, and styling. I wanted it to be my blank page to create, whether it was with food, writing or photography. I just let it evolve organically as months went by and it didn’t take long for photography to become more than a hobby. I started getting photography assignments for local and national magazines. I also began photographing and styling numerous cookbooks.
A former pastry chef, now living in Charleston, South Carolina, my photography reveals a passion for natural light, seasonal and fresh ingredients, as well as a love of travel and genuine interest in people.
I am thrilled that Tartelette was among the 50 Best Food Blogs nominated by The Times Online, that Forbes magazine included the site as part of their 8 favorite food bloggers and that it has been featured in Elle Magazine, Martha, and more. But ultimately, it is the chance to work with so many different clients such as restaurants, publishers, magazines, food companies, etc..that fulfills me the most because I get to create something new, not just contribute a picture I have already taken month ago. I am constantly amazed at the opportunity offered to my eye and my camera every day. The world is truly one’s canvas.
When people ask where you’re from, how do you answer?
If I am in Charleston when they ask, I’ll say “Provence in the South of France”. If I am on a plane or somewhere else traveling, I’ll say “Charleston by way of Provence in the South of France”.
Your best friend is coming to visit Charleston for the first time. Where would you take him/her to:
eat? Lana’s Restaurant
drink? Bin 152
sight-see? Anywhere around Church street and the streets off of the Battery
chillax? Bowen’s Island for oysters and beer

Your ideal Saturday afternoon is spent . . .

HM: Starting with the farmers market with my husband from 8am til 9am. We get there first thing to make sure I get the freshest of everything, milk eggs, bacon, fruits. It gets hot and muggy fast downtown. We come home and after unloading and taking the dogs for a long walk, I fix us a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast. I never eat in the morning so this is more lunch to me than anything else. If I have a shoot that day, I have to skip this whole ritual, and if I have one in the late morning hours or after, it’s a good way to get one decent meal in my belly! If I don’t have to work, I’ll take that opportunity to assign myself a shoot to practice something in my photography or assign myself a shoot for the blog. It depends. No matter whether I have to work or not, Saturday nights are for staying in for us. After spending the first 12 years of our married life with my husband playing music every Friday and Saturday, this is the first year we can just be together that night and instead of going crazy on the town as we used to see it, we like to just watch an old movie and have a nice glass of wine. The week nights are more social and Sundays are meant for suppers with friends.
What’s just one thing that sets you apart from your peers? Don’t be bashful!
HM: Honestly? Nothing. Everything. We are all different and yet deeply the same. It’s a bit of everything and nothing at all.
What’s one (fun/weird/crazy) thing we wouldn’t know about you?
HM: Just one? I have what we call in France a “Coeur d’artichaut” – like an artichoke with all its layers of leaves, my heart has many, many layers of falling in love moments. I crush all the time. For people things, moments, ideas. It keeps me going and inspired.
Hollywood calls and they’re going to make a movie of your life. What’s your opening musical score (or the top hit on the soundtrack?)
HM: If Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, basically any of these giants of Big Bands and jazz would come together to write an opening score, that’d be my dream one.

No day-in-the-life-of-you is complete without . . .
HM: Writing a few lines in my journal. It helps me get centered, write down what moved me, bothered me, fueled me. It helps me get anchored in the present as well as clear my mind for the future.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your business?
HM: I get to work on fantastic projects with people who have the same passion for sharing, for food, the visual arts, being a community. I bring in all my heart in a project and I take home an even fuller one. That’s priceless.

Editor’s note: You MUST pick up a copy of her latest book, Plate to Pixel : Digital Food Photography and Styling.


  1. Leigh

    I love getting a peek into Helene’s world! Now to take her up on that farmer’s market shopping trip…. 🙂

  2. Helene

    Thank you for the very nice words and feature! You, Leigh and I definitely need to get together at some point!!