The Value of Vocation

For three weeks this summer Henry and I stayed at our first, and probably last airbnb. We have no true horror stories to share, we were not robbed, or cheated, nor were we in any danger. At worst we experienced a few minor inconveniences or injustices. However, what airbnb gave us was a reminder that Hotelier, like Chef, or Writer (to name just a few), is a serious vocation, not something just anyone can play at (my written word is evidence enough). Continue reading

All Borders Are Fiction, Perhaps Especially Food Borders.

I came across a rather silly, surprisingly stupid article from NPR yesterday. Surprising because regardless of leaning NPR is more often than not known for intelligent content. Still we must try to imagine all experts as if they are mammals, and in this NPR helps us out. The piece in question (at once answering a common question on the existence of stupid questions) asked: “When is it OK to profit from cooking other cultures food.”  Continue reading

How The Mighty May Have Fallen


As many in Hong Kong know, Dan Ryan’s in Pacific Place is closing down after 27 years. I hasten to add the group is still alive and kicking, even though the flagship is about to close. Dan’s was not only one of the first tenants of Pacific Place, a once singular hub of Hong Kong shopping elites, but was also one of the first authentic, successful, freestanding, restaurants here. Dan’s was founded in part because the group of bankers who started it were sick of what they called hotel food. At that time about the only way to get imported western food was to eat at hotels. Hotels often tend to fuse things and in so doing make passable but often inauthentic or caricatured dining experiences. Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving You Turkey!

IMG_8760Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It speaks directly to the kind of chef I have always wanted and tried to be. It is a purely American, purely secular holiday of conviviality. The sharing of warmth and familiarity with loved ones, around a table piled high with good, rustic, homey, and wholesome food. It is the opportunity to assess the bounty of ones life, ones kith an kin, ones larder, ones fortune…and in so doing appreciate all that there is rather than being mindful of what is missing. Continue reading

The scales fell from my eyes. 

I have been fighting a protracted “battle of the bulge” since my late twenties (more on that perhaps elsewhere). In a previous campaign some 18 years ago I bought a then, top of the line body analysis scale from Tanita. It did weight and body fat (probably not accurately but still, data is data). It was steel and something of a tank, no doubt one of the last before materials sciences gave us the modern era of lightweight polymers. It served it’s purpose well enough but is a bit worse for wear and has become obsolete through modern software innovation more than anything else. As a scale it still does a good job. Continue reading

Chef Paul

PaulPrudhommeSigningHolgaACropI have often dismissed the outpouring of regret when a celebrity passes away. In those times I usually like to point out that while the celebrity lived (and died) pretty well, many unfortunates lived and died in horrible circumstance, unnoticed. No less can be said of one of my culinary icon’s, Chef Paul Prudhomme. Having said all of that, I would like to take my moment to eulogize a person that had no small amount of impact on my life (and to be sure, the lives of many).  Continue reading

Goodbye Mother Chik

Last night, shortly after being served dinner by her younger daughter, Henry’s mother stopped breathing. The hospital staff was unable to revive her and so she died, around 8:30PM, she was 83. In life she was a house maid, then after marriage she worked doing garment piece work from home while being a homemaker for her family. She is survived by four good, kind, and productive children, and two budding grandchildren. She won’t be remembered in the press, but her small acts are part of the great human condition, and her memorial will be the expanding works of her progeny. We will all be fortunate enough to have had such a long life, leaving such an excellent legacy in our wake.

And let me tell you why…

Last week I may have been misunderstood to by wining about my lot, or perhaps some even thought I was depressed. Far from it, I assure you. I have a near bulletproof emotional state in this regard, and while melancholia occasionally graces my doorstep, I quickly and easily shoo it away.

Rather, I was, and remain woefully disappointed in the state of both the culinary industry as a whole (at least in my small town, but likely on a global scale in some respect) and perhaps more-so with the culinary associations with which I have become intimately involved. Continue reading

Scan Complete – Fragmentation Detected.

My dear reader, I know I promised an update on my back, post MRI, and so here goes: The scan turned up what we already knew. Not only am I a fine specimen of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, but I also have a broken tail bone ( of unknown origin) that is subluxdediding (however you say it). I’m seeing a back specialist next week who will probably give me more meds and tell me to play nicely for a time. There is not usually much else to be done, unless one goes for chiropractic or Chinese bone setting…I don’t. At any rate, none of this is important, what is important is that the focusing scan of the MRI proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have a brain. To all you doubters, I told you so.