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

An addendum to Dan Ryan’s 

  We dropped in again today to enjoy the nostalgia, but are again stymied by a poor service mindset. In this case it goes to the head office, though the staff remains about the same as last time…unfriendly, downright grumpy, and technically incompetent.

The headquarters has switched this shop to a limited menu eliminating many of the classics (like all of the sandwiches). It seems (though I have an incomplete survey) that they eliminated lower priced items. Meanwhile their two other Hong Kong shops sell the full menu, so their is no logistic or supply reason for the cut in service, just one of serving themselves over the needs of their customers. Perhaps an avaricious last dash to grab as much cash as possible from the Pacific Place store. One could assume that many coming in this period, are their most loyal fans. Though to be frank we are again sitting in a restaurant nearly devoid of customer on a day where it would have once been overflowing with trade and good cheer. That’s a crying shame.

 

An Unknown Soldier.

Blair and I (upper left) at an after work bitch session somewhere in Wanchai 1995.

Blair and I (upper left) at an after work bitch session somewhere in Wanchai 1995.

I learned last night that a former colleague and friend died suddenly of a heart attack at the relatively young age of 56. Blair Anthony Sweet and I both worked for Dan Ryan’s at the same time, when I first moved to Hong Kong in 1994. He had arrived about a year earlier, and as such was my first Chef friend in town. We worked each in one of Dan’s two Hong Kong shops so we always had a bit of friendly sibling rivalry going. Continue reading

The Bread Was Vital.

FA Bread Basket, Taipei, 2014.

In late 1997, not long after Hong Kong was formally handed over (back?) to China from the British, Andy Chworowsky, Dale Willetts, and I, began meeting in secret. As colleagues, we met through a shared frustration at work, and a dream of a better way to succeed. We met to envision, invent, and discuss, opening our own place: Fat Angelo’s Italian Restaurant.  Continue reading

Making a show.

Hey friends, City Super’s wonderful culture club Executive Chef Charmaine has invited me to help out with a few cooking classes coming Christmas week.

1. On December 20th I will do a “Christmas Family Roast” of inverted turducken (Chiduckee?), along with twice baked potatoes and glazed winter veggies.

2. On December 22, I will make “A Very Vegan Christmas” featuring a Portobello Wellington, along with Quinoa Pilaf in a Baby Pumpkin, and Winter Berry Trifle.

Please feel free to sign up so that you can criticise my inept culinary skills first hand.

Hohoho.

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

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