Travel Tales……. From Chef Eon
Food memories are an integral part of holidays and celebrating life. From a traditional hangi on my first trip overseas in 1976 to cooking risotto under a cherry tree in the Veneto and slurping noodles from a favourite street stall in Bangkok are treasured mementoes that evoke emotional, physical and olfactory memories that remain deeply ingrained in me
I have always captured images of the meals, food, cooks and restaurants that been an inspiration to me, long before the expressions of “foodies, selfie, influencers and social media commentators” entered our vernacular. All the restaurants, cooks, chefs & hospitality workers who dedicate their life to nourishing us have inspired me and I treasure their influences.
My top 10!
- Best food capitol – Bangkok! From its undisputed street food culture to the fabulous “wham bam” rooftop bars and restaurants. Still thrilling after 40 years of visits
- Most memorable dish…ever! The chilli sesame chicken, Made In China, Grand Hyatt, Beijing. Oh the duck was incredible. Book a table opposite the duck ovens for that added theatre.
- Italy and its respect for the culture of food and its embracing warmth – from that first delicious espresso in Bar Durini, Milan, rockmelon and prosciutto on Piazza Navonna, a wild strawberries and cream dessert at Trattoria Omero in the hills outside Florence or afternoon Aperitivo sitting at the bar in Peck, Milan…. and then there is the art!
- Exciting food scene – Bali. From the uber stylish, Plantation Bar & Grill to food heaven Ginger Moon or regular haunts in Ubud, The Tropical View Café, Mosiac & Restaurant Locavore.
- Food Festival – Food & Wine Classic Aspen. A gathering of the best the USA has to offer for food and wine devotees – cooking demonstrations and wine tastings. The AMEX restaurant trade programme runs concurrently allowing hospitality professionals access to top chefs, restaurateurs and business leaders. Best bits! Aspen in summer and a super Tuscan wine tasting @ 9.30am. Divine!
- China – vast, complex and an exciting food scene. TRB, Beijing pure dining theatre with immaculate service, The Country Kitchen at the Rosewood Hotel Beijing putting a mod twist to classic Chinese cuisine, those wonderful warming deep fried onion cakes off the street in the French Concession, Shanghai or “things on sticks” stalls off Wangfujing Street Beijing.
- Food scene Malaysia with its melting pot of cultures and the dedicated zeal to the best food carts in KL! Best memory – drinking Penfolds Grange in the middle of a rubber plantation and eating local dishes that were caught or grown on or the plantation. The restaurant was just 4 upright poles, a thatched roof and an open kitchen with a wood fire!
- Cooking classes – Spending a week cooking in the Veneto with American chef Joanne Weir was a career highlight. Private dinners, wine tastings. Highlight – Prosecco with the legendary Francesco da Mosto in his palazzo near the Rialto markets.
- Friends – travelling with friends is always a highlight. Shared memories and experiences last our lifetime. I always get to pick the restaurant! Dining at Chez Panisse with actress Yvonne De Carlo at the next table, tea with John Le Mesurier at Fortnum & Mason, shopping at the Rialto markets cooking for P&C, exploring California with the acutely observed wit of C&R and the “fabulous” trips to Salone di Mobile, Milan with ECM.
- Planning! The next trip, always the next trip. Laos and Bangkok at Christmas. Restaurants booked, street food stalls on the list, market shopping and meeting up with friends