25 Years, 1 Month, 23 Days

Me, in the late eighties, a degenerate, but then still functioning  meth head.

Me, in the late eighties, a degenerate, but then still functioning meth head cook.

Our names meet, separate, and meet again, but the people going by the names do not remain the same. – Salman Rushdie

If you had met me on January 6, 1990, or indeed nearly any time in the few months before that, you would have met a youthful, slim, handsome, but clearly shifty, degenerate, in the early years of a burgeoning full-time occupation (it started as a hobby) as a methamphetamine addict. If you met me in the few weeks after that I would have been the one wearing a prison jumpsuit. Continue reading

Human Conveyor Oven

A view from my second shop looking down on my first shop.

A view from my second shop looking down on my first shop.

CNN in all it’s wisdom, has awarded the Hong Kong Escalator as one of the coolest forms of urban transport. As a Honkie who owned a few businesses on the escalator over a span of 8 years, one of them in which I commuted from the central ferry pier to Caine road and back at least 5 days a week for as many years, I think I am very qualified to comment. Continue reading

Inertia or apathy, either will do in a pinch.

Well it’s Friday, the day I have to decide to continue being a member of the chef association or decide to quit. To be more precise the day I said I would answer the following questions, so here goes… Continue reading

Spreadsheets! (Cough Cough)

In the late nineties a good friend and colleague and I presented a politically challenging project we were both excited about, to our boss. He shut us down with the phrase of the headline. The boss used those words in disdain of the fact that we had dared bring our data (data that would have saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars) in handwritten notations, on various documents. We saved him the time of actually thinking about how to dissuade our unpopular (but profitable) plan by failing to present that plan in spreadsheet format. That, just a mere 2 decades after spreadsheets were invented.

Since then, but I don’t think because of that, I have found a slight perturbation every time I see spreadsheets used for words or pictures, or worse for numbers but with only manual calculations. In any case to say they have revolutionized the way we work is an understatement. Planet Money has a podcast out now, on just how revolutionary spreadsheets are, and how they came to be. It is well worth your time.

Not a Magic Fan

Airflow-Image_1aA friend of mine, who has no money, but a lot of time to dream of things he would buy if he had money, has for some time, urged me to buy everything ever made by Dyson. Not the sphere guy, that I could get behind, but the appliance guy. I looked over his vacuums and found they used a lot of the same gobbledygook the food marketers do, when they have no real point but want to sound all science like and official. The vacuums have one thing going for them, they have a price comparable to market, but otherwise I remain unimpressed. Continue reading

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

This indecision’s buggin’ me (Indecisión me molesta)
If you don’t want me, set me free (Si no me quieres, librame)
Exactly whom I’m supposed to be (Dime! ¿Qué tengo ser?)
Don’t you know which clothes even fit me? (¿Sabes que ropa me quedar?)
Come on and let me know (Pero tienes que decir)
Should I cool it or should I blow? (¿Me debo ir o quedarme?)

So, it is the time of year again where the Hong Kong Chefs Association, holds its AGM, and as well has it’s largest crowd of membership renewals, including, by tradition, mine.  Continue reading

Food Magic End Run

So as more and more becomes clearer and clearer (excluding of course to the true believers) about the fact that food is just food, it’s not magic, expect to see media and marketers changing up to try and sneak one in where we aren’t looking using weasel words and obfuscation.  Continue reading

Not Gonna be the Future Soon

SCMP ran what appears to me to blur the line between news and advertisement with the largely fluffy press release styled “Could smart kitchens make eating in the new going out?”  Continue reading

It’s (not) Frankenfood!

Following yesterdays theme let me lob another grenade at everyones favourite food demon: GMO. One of my weekly podcast subscriptions, from before it was cool, is the wonderful Skeptoid, by Brian Dunning. It is an extra treat that this week Brian (who is away on forced sabbatical) hosted the show instead of one of his guests. The episode lists and knocks down all the favourite tropes of anti-GMO advocates. For those who prefer, the episode is always also transcribed (at the link) for easy reading. In the end we are left with no reasonable objection to the continuing progress of our “farmacology”.

It’s Food, not Magic.


Throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be, not magic.

Tim Minchin, penned the above excellent notion, as part of his wonderful beat poem Storm, which if you haven’t heard you probably should…but I digress. For some time now, I have said that food is just food, not magic. Indeed, I said this exact phrase in a keynote speech on developing healthier fast food, that I gave at the Healthy Products Asia Expo back in 2009.  Continue reading