When I set about blogging back in 2006, I wonder, would I have ever known of how well that decision to write would turn out to be?
Looking back, I suppose I could have not blogged at-all, considering I have never been a confident writer to start with.
(…I have a dismal history of getting a rather discreditable grade E for English at GCSE school… Lol! Now laughable, but not so at the time! Add to that shame, I got a grade F for French… Wouldn’t it be funny if I had studied German & then get a grade G? I could have accomplished a hat-trick of obtaining lowly grades in alphabetical sequence! It’ll atleast make a mildly good story to tell in a pub…)
Anyway, through this blog, I’ve made new friends & have met lots of interesting people. This blog has been a window to opportunities.
In fact, unimaginable opportunities have been thrown my way this year - new business proposition from amazing team of people with renowned backgrounds, offer to become an instructor for a regular chocolate-making workshop, & even an (albeit very initial) enquiry about own TV show (!?) Ha ha, yeah, I know, the last one’s especially surprising/ crazy/ amazing/ bizarre/ humbling/ exciting, right!? Although let me point out once again that it was just purely an enquiry in their initial/ ideas stage. So nothing has come of it! And I never followed it up. Still, nice to be asked though, huh?
Another opportunity I get is to be invited to food related events. This Summer, I went to three.
La Maison du Chocolat:
(the pattern was made by dipping piping-tip.)
(La Maison du Chocolat CEO Geoffroy d’Anglejan & head chocolatier/ creative director Nicolas Cloiseau, with the 2012 chocolate tree inbetween them.)
One was an invite to check out the 2012 Christmas collection
at La Maison du Chocolat
. Dearest readers, I know you’ll totally be on my side here when I say, “who can resist”, right? Who am I to turn down an offer to sample chocolates from one of world’s finest chocolate shop?
→ → → From the first bite, the very enchantment restored the faith in me that THIS is what real chocolate is about. And so, quite naturally, as you can expect from yours truly, I took on the occasion & ate through a many bonbons. All the while, I listened to chef chocolatier/ creative director Nicolas Cloiseau explaining each of the flavours of these refined morsels. Delectable. Delightful. Perfection. Bliss. Paradise. Need I say more?
→ → → Meeting the head chocolatier/ creative director Nicolas Cloiseau
was an amazing experience too. I explained to him that my first ever experience of eating macarons
was from La Maison du Chocolat back in 2004 & that it was a life changing experience by no means an exaggeration. I was ‘in’ to only chocolates back then, but it was the awe-inspiring deliciousness of their chocolate macarons that made me start to bake on a serious level. Inspired & obsessed, I experimented numerous times to re-create macarons at home. As you might know, macarons are notoriously diffcult to make, & it certainly was not a wise choice for first baking project. At first, I simply couldn’t get it right – mine cracked & there were no jaggedy ‘feet’ that is the must feature of any good macaron. When I did finally get it right
, by the end of it I was hooked on the joys of baking & here I am today, baking professionally for 7 years.
El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (2011):
As some of you may already know, I finally started to twitter
this year. And it was through twitter that I was invited by Artificial Eye
(a film distributer) to a preview screening of the El Bulli docu film
. I’ve been curious about this Ferran Adrià fellow & his restaurant from some time ago, & so I went.
→ → → What did I think of the film? Well… let’s first say that I ought to leave personal tastes aside. Because ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ & you have to respect that. The food’s not my cup-of-tea, I’d salivate over homey & soul-warming foods ten-fold, but it doesn’t stop me from greatly respecting Ferran’s quest for new-worldly, artistic, conceptual cuisine.
→ → → Y’see, there, it’s not just fine-dining, but I would rather coin it as “fine-art-dining”. It’s so concept-led, going to his restaurant must have been like participating in a fine-art exhibition! When you hear that there used to be 2 million people applying for the 8,000 bookings available in a year, I do think it’s a little silly & faddish though. But I guess you have to understand that these people who can afford to splash a small fortune to getting there & paying for the 30-course menu are after ‘the experience’ & ‘status’ of having eaten there, so that they can get the badge & form an opinion, & that’s fine for them.
→ → → This fly-on-the-wall docu film lets us observe what a year at El Bulli was like (it’s closed down now). And it is a precious record of the phenomenon that was El Bulli. If you want to witness something that will surely be talked about in food history, this film will be right up your alley & I will recommend it. Despite being a success already, the man clearly still has the passion & the burning ambition to better himself (& others). And people with dreams & ambitions gets my vote, fully.
(pic with Fred Ponnavoy, Head Chef of Gü, with the new recipe book out next month.)
My friends F
& S organize a gathering group called Pastry Network
, of which I am now also a member. Once-a-month, pastry chefs meet to exchange information as well as make friends with people who you have a common ground. I have great admiration for F
& S to take time out of their very busy schedule to organize such group. It is clear that they are passionate about pastry. They pass on their knowledge freely, & I think it is a sign of a great person & teacher.
So far this year, they have organized head baker of The Berkeley Hotel
to talk about ‘What it take to make fantastic bread’
, & on a different month, member chefs brought in their favourite cookbooks to share.
→ → → This month, we heard Fred Ponnavoy, Head Chef of Gü
guest speak about Gü’s branding & product development. Despite that I won’t ever go down the same road, it was nevertheless a priceless opportunity to learn the inside story of how a successful company like Gü operates. And the talk left me with great respect for their dedication to create delicious gourmet products that’s now sold in all major supermarkets, a feat in a market which is otherwise saturated with inferior quality desserts.
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PS: Dearest readers, especially the readers who have been taking their time to write a comment, I’d like to say… THANK YOU very much! Did you know that YOU make this blog happen with me? Without your encouragement, & without the knowledge that I am being listened to, understood, I don’t think I could have achieved half as much & have quit this ages ago. And that is the truth. So thank you!!!
Warmest regards, Tamami xx