Monday, December 1, 2014

The joys of cooking with heart and soul. And about the wonderful movie, "The Hundred Foot Journey," and the pressures of the Michelin stars.

From the movie "The Hundred Food Journey."
Photos courtesy of the distributor.

On the way over to Manila on Japan Airlines' fantastic new 787, living a Travelife, I watched an interesting movie called "The Hundred Foot Journey."

This movie is about the proprietess and staff of a Michelin one-star restaurant in the south of France and their interesting and evolving relationship with an Indian family that had opened up an Indian restaurant complete with flashing lights and loud music right in front of their genteel establishment.

From the movie "The Hundred Food Journey."
Photos courtesy of the distributor.

It's a feel-good movie, of course.

But the end result was that it inspired me to cook more, especially now that I'm in one place at least for several weeks.

Scroll down to read more...




A SECRET COOKING LESSON 
WITH A FAMOUS CHEF

Coincidentally, in Tokyo last week, one of the most interesting things I did was to spend an afternoon with a Michelin two-star chef, brushing up on my cooking skills.

I promised not to write about it which is why this pretty special experience never made it to this blog.


From the movie "The Hundred Food Journey."
Photos courtesy of the distributor.


This chef is always asked by celebrities and society figures to cook privately for them, or to organise a cooking class for them, and he has always turned them down because he says he is not that sort of a celebrity chef, even if he has two stars to his name.

He would rather focus his efforts on his cooking, to earn his third star, in Tokyo, the most competitive city in the world for Michelin stars.

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a Travelife to Japan 2015

The ultimate Tokyo & Yokohama food trip
June 6 to 11, 2015

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July 3 to 8, 2015

The hidden Japan
August 29 to September 3, 2015

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AN AMAZING AND ENJOYABLE AFTERNOON
WITH A FAMOUS CHEF

But he let me into his kitchen one afternoon last week, in Tokyo living a Travelife.

I set aside everything in my usually busy schedule, donned an apron, and together we made a proper three-course French meal while comparing notes on the great chefs of the world and their cuisine, and discussing the joys of cooking.


I only cook with Le Creuset,
whether in Manila, Tokyo or Fuji.

My Le Creuset pots are actually color-coordinated,
according to house. :)

Yes, it was like the most amazing private cooking lesson in the world, but it was also fun and relaxing -- and I got to eat what I made afterwards.

I have to say, my cooking, with "a little help" from this famous chef, was pretty good.

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"Best trip ever."

Join the next Travelife to Morocco
April 18 - 27, 2015



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MY LUCKY FRIENDS

Now I can invite my friends over to my house, already done up with my Moroccan lamps in a matter of hours upon landing yesterday, and practice on them.

But this movie today reminded me what cooking is really about -- just like that afternoon last week in Tokyo, with a famous chef as a tutor.

COOKING IS PURE HEART AND SOUL

From the movie "The Hundred Food Journey."
Photos courtesy of the distributor.

Sure, cooking needs the basics and recipes.

But once you have learned the basics, I feel you can throw the recipe book away and wing it, because cooking is really about heart and soul rather than measuring ingredients properly.

From the movie "The Hundred Food Journey."
Photos courtesy of the distributor.


You need to taste what you're cooking and adjust it according to your gut feel, rather than measuring everything in cups and spoons.

You need real emotions to cook well, too, in my opinion. You need to love life with a passion, because cooking -- like travel -- is all about loving life in whatever forms it comes in.

THE BASICS FOR COOKING WELL.
AND IT'S NOT A RECIPE BOOK.

From the movie "The Hundred Food Journey."
Photos courtesy of the distributor.

Here are a couple of other things you also need, to cook well.

You need to love food, you need to have tasted the masterpieces of the great chefs of the world in order to know how high your bar for quality should be, and you need to have artistry rather than technical skill -- and preferably both.

The only exception to this is baking, which needs accurate measurements.

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Sometimes I meet young chefs with promise and lots of ambition in Manila, who tell me they want to go big-time and get a Michelin star someday. Or even two or three stars.

When I advise them to go out and see the world and to see the current happenings in the international culinary world for ideas, they look at me with blank faces and mention something about having too busy a busy life.

LEARNING FROM THE MASTERS

Cooking is about learning from the masters, just like art, and then finding your own way.

Restaurant reviews are the same. You can't possibly write a proper review if your standards for review are only the best in this small town. Or if you're only eating freebies and writing about them.

The culinary world abroad is just so different and so dynamic, and there is so much to learn from it.

A TRAVELIFE IS ALL ABOUT HEART AND SOUL.
AND A PASSION FOR LIFE.


In Morocco until last Sunday
with some of our Travelife Magazine readers and friends

And if you've ever been on a Travelife with us, you'll know that we're all about heart and soul -- whether it's cooking or discovering a new place, or just plain living an interesting life every single day.

Travelife isn't a business. This is a joyous way of life, and one that we're eager to share with as many of our dear readers and friends as possible. We don't care who you are, what you do for a living, or what your family name is.

We want to know why you're passionate about travel, where you've been, and how these travels have changed your life for the better.

And this, in my humble opinion, is why we're always going to be number one. Fingers crossed.




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