September 10th, 2012

Window of opportunities

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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?
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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…)
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Anyway, through this blog, I’ve made new friends & have met lots of interesting people. This blog has been a window to opportunities.
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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?
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Another opportunity I get is to be invited to food related events. This Summer, I went to three.
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La Maison du Chocolat:
Coco&Me - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and Me - La Maison du Chocolat - Picadilly Circus - Chocolate bonbons. selection -  CEO Geoffroy d’Anglejan & head chocolatier/ creative director Nicolas Cloiseau
Coco&Me - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and Me - La Maison du Chocolat - Picadilly Circus - Chocolate bonbons. selection - CEO Geoffroy d’Anglejan & head chocolatier/ creative director Nicolas Cloiseau - piping bag pattern on surface
(the pattern was made by dipping piping-tip.)
Coco&Me - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and Me - La Maison du Chocolat - Picadilly Circus - Chocolate bonbons. selection -  CEO Geoffroy d’Anglejan & head chocolatier/ creative director Nicolas Cloiseau - chocolate tree
(La Maison du Chocolat CEO Geoffroy d’Anglejan & head chocolatier/ creative director Nicolas Cloiseau, with the 2012 chocolate tree inbetween them.)
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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.
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El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (2011):
Coco&Me - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and Me - El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (2011): - preview screening - flim - Ferran Adrià
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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.
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Pastry Network:
Coco&Me - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and Me - Fred Ponnavoy, Head Chef of Gü
(pic with Fred Ponnavoy, Head Chef of Gü, with the new recipe book out next month.)
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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 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

31 Comments »

  1. Wow wow wow wow! Oh dear tamami, how I wish you had your own show! It is a shame it is not happening but I’m sure you will be snapped up one day surely. – Thank you back for blogging too!

    Comment by Louise - September 10, 2012 7:30 pm

  2. Louise! Awww…! Thank you for the most kind comment!!!! :) Lovely to hear from you as always! Best, T xx

    Comment by Tamami - September 10, 2012 7:35 pm

  3. Loved the post T :)
    Fingers crossed for a lot more opportunities to head your way!!!

    Comment by Little Chan - September 10, 2012 8:17 pm

  4. Hey Little Chan!!!! :) :) Cheers hon. To you too!!!!!!!!! xx

    Comment by tamami - September 10, 2012 8:41 pm

  5. Hello Tamami
    I think you derserve all those opportunities. I have been reading your blog for some time and I can tell tht you work really hard. By the way have you considered doing podcasts? For us who don’t live in London can not get to your stall to meet you in person, I am curious to hear what you sound like! You have to find more means to share your knowledge. You know so much that you can teach also. :-)

    Comment by May - September 10, 2012 10:23 pm

  6. May, wow, thank you very much for your kind words!! – Podcasts? I see! That’s a good idea! – Like you say, I need to figure out for myself how I could share knowledge besides this blog. xx

    Comment by tamami - September 11, 2012 12:29 am

  7. Well i hope if you ever make it on TV, i hope it’s get pirated and uploaded to Youtube so we can watch in Australia, :-D

    Would you consider venturing into Japanese desserts too? There isn’t enough of it on the web in *English*

    Best of luck

    ps. When i first entered this webpage from Google Reader, my anti virus programme came up with a viral warning. Decided to risk it and re-enter

    Comment by Tian - September 11, 2012 5:55 am

  8. Tian, lol, thank you~! :) :) :)
    As for Japanese sweets, I suppose you mean stuff like red bean right?
    One day I will, but some of the ingredients I can’t get or is too expensive in UK… a ‘future’ project I think…!
    And oh oh… o.m.g, viral????? Thank you so much for letting me know, I’m asking my web designer friend to have a look at this issue.

    Comment by tamami - September 11, 2012 7:43 am

  9. Wow! What a great opportunity :) Is that Christmas tree entirely made of chocolate?! How fares your young man & schooling?

    Comment by jonquil - September 12, 2012 3:43 pm

  10. Jonquil, cheers!!! – And yes! The chocolate tree is indeed painstakingly HAND made of just chocolate, & if one wants to purchase it, it is £750!!!! – As for schooling, my son started last week already, & as for my daughter, she is starting from tomorrow!!!!! So hopefully more blogging and stuff… I’ve been neglecting the blog too long!! xx Hope you’re well!!!!

    Comment by Tamami - September 12, 2012 4:25 pm

  11. T, this was a most interesting post, as always. I am so happy that your hard work has resulted in new opportunities and that you are generous enough to share some of them with us…Thank you so much!

    Comment by Heidy - September 12, 2012 5:48 pm

  12. Heidy, thank you very much for always commenting! It is always good to hear from you. xx

    Comment by tamami - September 12, 2012 6:01 pm

  13. Dear Tamami, I am so happy to know all the fun things you’ve been up to. You deserve every bit of recognition you get and much, much more. I’ve told you before but I am telling you again, your generosity in sharing the recipes for things that you actually make a living out of, is really something else and your recipes have brightened many “not so good” days for me (and I am sure for many others). I am 100% sure that with your talent and personality, a TV show is not as far out as you make it sound and it will happen sometime in the near future. Have a wonderful day!!

    Comment by Poornima - September 13, 2012 11:36 am

  14. Poornima, oh wow, your comments are so encouraging always…, I really appreciate it…, thank you!!!!!!! The tv show thing, I wasn’t so bothered that it didn’t move forward anyway though! Although it’s always nice & very humbling to know that I’m recognized & be picked up like that… I guess if it happens, sure it will be super-duper amazing, but if it doesn’t, well, there’s plenty of different fish (projects) to fry for me. Besides, I’m happy & stable where I am – the work/ family balance is good! – Poornima, wishing you the bestest days ahead! Warmest regards, T

    Comment by Tamami - September 13, 2012 1:22 pm

  15. Hi my dear friend, Tamami! It’s Akiko and I’m so proud to have you as my friend though it’s a shame we don’t live in the same country. Wow, wow, wow! Congratulations on all the offers and achievements so far! I really don’t know how you do it all with 2 small kids but you have proven that nothing is impossible with hard work and determination. I have SOOO much respect for you. I am also going to be a mother of 2 soon in November (it’s a girl this time!) and looking forward to the challenges of raising 2 kids but after a few more years, I also hope to follow in your footsteps and do something that I am truly passionate about. Thank you for always inspiring me and making me want to become a better person :)

    Comment by Akiko Manabe - September 14, 2012 7:46 am

  16. Akiko cha~n!!!!!!! O. m. G!!!!! Second one?????! Jeez, that’s fantastic news!!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! November? That’s so soon!!! Boy? Girl? Akiko, the mother of two, ei? :) Boy, time flies…! I remember fondly the Captain Hook (was that the name?) days… LOL! Take care akiko chan, and revel in the freedom before november! Lol, it’s gonna be super busy from then on, I’m tellin’ ya! Lol! ;) Thank you for telling me. It really is a shame we don’t live close – I’m a little ashamed that I haven’t been in close contact recently… Right, that’s FB attack from now on, okay!? Love, t xx

    Comment by Tamami - September 14, 2012 8:01 am

  17. Oh, and thank you very much for your very kind words, it’s especially special coming from you!! xx

    Comment by Tamami - September 14, 2012 8:02 am

  18. I believe the name of the pub was Captain’s Cabin!
    And I’m having a girl next! Just like you!
    xxx

    Comment by Akiko Manabe - September 14, 2012 9:58 am

  19. Akiko, a ha ha, oh yeah, trust me to get the name wrong…!! – girl?! yay!!! perfect, one each!! I’ll contact you properly later! xxx

    Comment by Tamami - September 14, 2012 10:26 am

  20. Tamami-chan! You deserve every bit of recognition for this great little blog of yours. I only wish I could be closer to taste your products first-hand – someday! ;)

    Please keep writing and sharing your wonderful recipes!

    xo,
    Hana

    Comment by Hana - September 14, 2012 3:52 pm

  21. Hey hey Hana chan!!! Lol!! how lovely to hear from you! xx Thank you very much! By the way, your site is looking beautiful! And the pictures look amazing too!! xx

    Comment by Tamami - September 14, 2012 4:32 pm

  22. Wow! How amazing – and so very well deserved! :) I feel honoured to have played a very small role in all this happening.

    I don’t know if I’ve already said this, but you are one of the bloggers who inspired me to start my own – so thank YOU! xx

    Comment by Rachel - September 16, 2012 2:13 pm

  23. Rachel, yup, you’ve played an important role for sure! You’ve been regularly commenting since almost the beginning!! So THANK YOU VERY MUCH Rachel!! All the best, t xx

    Comment by Tamami - September 16, 2012 8:35 pm

  24. Hey Tamami! I would LOVE it if you got your own tv show! You’ll have to tell us if that ever happens!

    I think I last commented when I was just about to give birth. Well would you believe it, my baby daughter is now 7 months old! Time really flies!!

    Btw, I can’t imagine you getting an E for English lol! I’ve always thought your writing was really good!

    Take care xx

    Comment by Jan - September 17, 2012 4:58 pm

  25. Jan!!!! o.m.g, Your baby is seven months old already!?? Doesn’t time fly…!! How’s the new motherhood thing? ;)
    And er, yeah…, E for English… LOL! It’s true! Thanks for the compliment! Y’know what ~ I realized that the best thing to do is to write like how I speak!
    Take care darlin’. Enjoy!!!! xx

    Comment by Tamami - September 17, 2012 6:25 pm

  26. Hi Coco,

    lots of love and support from Bosnia!

    Comment by Amela - September 17, 2012 11:12 pm

  27. Amela!! Thank you for your support!! x

    Comment by Tamami - September 18, 2012 8:51 am

  28. I went to Broadway market last week and brought the fruit tart and banana bread from your stall! I just want to say it is amazingly delicious and I will definitely come back for some more!!!!!! Don’t stop baking please!!

    Cheryl

    Comment by Cheryl - September 20, 2012 1:05 pm

  29. Cheryl!!! Oh how amazing that you like the cakes & that you’ve commented here! Thank you very much for your kind words!! Please come visit the stall again soon!! Take care!! T x

    Comment by Tamami - September 20, 2012 1:42 pm

  30. Hi Tamami,
    As I told you before I love your blog.I ‘d realy Like to see you on TV show or to hear your voice on radio.Thanks to Clotilde we also read you in France.Keep on writting and cooking and loving.Take care!!

    Comment by Anne - October 28, 2012 5:53 pm

  31. Hello Anne!!! Awww…, so touching to be told so…, thank you very much…!!!! Y’know, your encouraging words lift my spirits up, I’ve had a very tiring day today! Take care, t xx

    Comment by Tamami - October 28, 2012 10:59 pm

 

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