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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Recent Book Buys

When friends visit my apartment for the first time, they're often surprised by the number of cookbooks and food books my wife and I own. One whole wall of our living room is devoted to these books. And while, compared to the collections of some other foodies we know, our stash isn't that large, it still manages to astound non-foodie friends.

We add to this collection often, sometimes 1-2 books a month, sometimes 4-5 books a week. This past week, we picked up 4 new books, pictured here.

We bought Frank Stitt's book because I love hearty Southern food, and while my wife has never visited that part of the USA, she appreciates this delicious and homey cuisine. We really like the Best Recipe series. Steaks, Chops, Roasts and Ribs is a great reference tool. My wife bought me Formulas for Flavor today, and while I haven't had time to go through it thoroughly, it looks like a really great and handy book to read and use. Porter's English Cookery Bible we bought for fun. It has great essays on British cuisine as well as some fun recipes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Chocolate Sables

Not something I made, but happily came home to find on my dining room table. My wife and a friend of her's, who works in the pastry kitchen at a local hotel, made these yesterday, following (but also tweaking, I am told) a recipe from Pierre Herme's new Chocolate Desserts book (authored by Dorie Greenspan). Yummy. If you haven't got the book yet, click yourself over to Amazon and order one now.

A Great Tea Shop

On my last trip to Paris, walking from one appointment to another, I passed by a gorgeous little tea store. Unable to stop then, I went back later that evening to check out the store properly, and because I knew that my wife would really appreciate the gift of some really high quality tea.

I had originally planned to head over to Mariage Freres, in the Marais. When my wife and I were last in Paris together, we stayed a short walk away from this institution. However, upon stepping inside the Betjeman and Barton shop on the Boulevard Malesherbes, I quickly decided that the teas coming home with me were going to come from here.

The shop is small, but beautiful, and filled with a symphony of aromas rising up from the dozens of teas available. To be honest though, what caught my attention first was not the delicious smells or the obvious high quality of the teas, but the gorgeous tins on display all over the shop. I’ll admit freely, I love good design. These metal caddies, available in a whole range of colors, including fun shades like orange, pearl, red, chocolate, green, and violet, and in a variety of finishes, won me over instantly.

I decided to buy three different kinds of teas—an Earl Grey (one of her favourites), a Darjeeling (which I knew she wanted), and one flavoured tea for me. With the help of a very sweet saleswoman who didn’t make fun of my rather garbled French, I chose some “Earl Grey Finest”, some Jungpana Darjeeling and a blend called “Un gentleman a Deauville” which has a wonderful floral but also chocolate aroma. These went into, as you can see from the pictures, a matt red, glossy orange, and glossy chocolate colored caddy.

I should also say that the tea is wonderful, and I scored some major points for bringing these home. Here’s the shop address, but if you aren’t going to Paris anytime soon, the company does do international mail order via their website.

Alix checking out the teas

Betjeman and Barton
23 Boulevard Malesherbes
75008 Paris
Tel: 01 42 65 86 17

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ahodori's Website

In reference to my previous post, I've discovered that Ahodori has a website, linked to its name here. Check it out. The English site is small, but the Japanese site is pretty extensive with a sake page and a photo page, which has pix of food celebs Violet Oon, Chef Justin Quek and Chef Tetsuya Wakuda.

Great Yakitori in Singapore

Last night, at the recommendation of a restaurateur friend, my wife and I tried what he has called, "the best yakitori restaurant in Singapore." Ahodori is a very small, slightly dark, but charming restaurant on the first floor of Cuppage Plaza.

The restaurant has a long counter and a few tables. Aside from one rude Chinese patron and one very chatty but nice Indian businessman (there with a Japanese client), we were the only non-Japanese in a quite busy restaurant. We sat at the counter, in order to watch the chef cook our food.

The first thing we noticed when we sat down was this bowl of yummy baby potatoes, coated in a sweet-salty sauce. (Again, my Treo camera takes really sucky photos in low light!) Of course, we ordered a bowl of them to start, as well as a wafu salad and a bowl of cooked mushrooms with egg. The potatoes, for the record, were amazing, and throughout the meal, I was tempted to grab some more from the bowl and pop them in my mouth.

The yakitori was excellent, with a few exceptions. The menu offers a variety of chicken yakitori and veggies. No other meats are served. We had chicken with wasabi, chicken skin, chicken cartilage, chicken liver, and chicken balls (tsukune). All except the liver and balls we had "shio", cooked just with salt. We had the balls and liver "tare", coated in a dark sweet sauce. The liver was amazing, just cooked, and as soft inside as great pate. We liked it so much we asked for another order, this time "shio." It was, again, delicious. Not as good were the non-chicken dishes. We had leeks and sweetcorn, but I don't think we'd order those again.

We also polished our meal off with about 600ml of good, cold sake. The perfect way to start the week.

Monday, March 28, 2005

A Holiday Dinner

This past weekend, my wife and I had some friends over for dinner. Weekend dinner parties are always an excuse for us to show off a bit. We both really enjoy taking the time to look through our pretty large collection of cookbooks, pull out recipes we love or want to try for the first time, work out wine pairings and also some table setting ideas. One thing I also enjoy doing is designing and printing out menus—let’s just say it allows the graphic designer in me to have a little fun.

Since this past weekend was a holiday weekend, i.e. 3 days, we had more time to prep. My wife decided to devote a good portion of the extra time to prepare crabs. After working out 3 recipes that called for shelled crabmeat, she went to the market and brought back 5 Sri Lankan crabs, which she steamed and then spent several hours shelling.

Suffice it to say the dogs were going insane, sitting at her side and drooling in hopes that she’d accidentally drop a claw or a handful of meat.

With the crab, we served three small starters. The first was a “deconstructed California roll”, inspired by a dish I had eaten at Yu’u, one of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne. This is a simple dish of crabmeat, avocado, ebiko and wakame tossed in a sauce made from white miso, mirin, mustard, wasabi and grapeseed oil, and topped with some lemon-infused ikura. Second was a mentaiko (spicy cod fish roe) pasta, tossed with the crabmeat and some bacon and topped with nori. The third was crab cakes, following a recipe from Chez Panisse, and served with a homemade sweet chilli-mayonnaise. We served the first two starters with a Jacob’s Creek sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir and the crab cakes with a D’Arenberg The Stump Jump 2004, a good and extremely affordable blend of Marsanne, Sauvignon Blanc and Reisling.

mentaiko pasta with crabmeat

For a main course, my wife tried (for the first time) a brined roasted rack of pork recipe from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook. The rack is brined for 24 hours and then roasted for an hour. I paired this with a macaroni and fresh truffles recipe by Joel Robuchon, found in Patricia Wells’ Paris Cookbook. I must admit, though, that we tweaked it quite a bit. First, we used elbow macaroni intead of the 16 large long pieces the book calls for and instead of making truffle butter using fresh truffles, we blended butter with Tetsuya Wakuda’s jarred-truffle salsa (one of the greatest products available today). We served this with a Torbreck The Steading 2001. This Aussie GSM (Grenache, Shiraz, and Mourvedre) is one of my favourite wines.

For dessert, I made a lemon soufflé, following a Mark Bittman recipe and paired it with a homemade chocolate ice cream that my wife made in her fantastic Musso, following a Maison Du Chocolat recipe.

In all, it was a good, satisfying meal. What amused me most was that for placecard holders, we used Cadbury Peeps—little marshmallow chicks put out for Easter. We created little flags with toothpicks and paper, wrote each person’s name on one, and stuck them in the Peeps, which we plated at each seat. While they were meant to be decorative, I discovered while cleaning up after dinner, that our guests had all eaten their Peeps, all except one guest who ate her Peep’s body but could not bring herself to eat the head.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Singapore Picks, Part One

People are always asking my wife or me where they should go eat. Whether it’s for a family meal, a special occasion, or just a quick bite, we get queries by phone, email and SMS on a regular basis. Not that we mind too much. After all, for a good part of our professional lives, the two of us (separately) wrote about and critiqued restaurants. And although we don’t travel as often as we’d like to, we do try to keep current on the new cool places to eat in cities we like.

But since Singapore is home for now, and since long posts tend to strain eyeballs, I’ll limit this (first) very short list to just a few picks from Singapore, for now.

Best gourmet experience (European): Iggy’s
This to me is a no brainer. While other Western restaurants often pull off amazing meals (especially Les Amis, Garibaldi, and Oso), for a special degustation meal as delicious as it is inventive, there’s no place better than this tiny, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon inspired, restaurant in the Regent Hotel. Lunch is a great deal here. They have 2 course and 3 course menus, as well as a 5 course for S$55. I recommend sitting at the bar and asking Iggy himself to suggest wines for each course.

Best Japanese: Tatsuya
While many prefer Shiraishi and Aoki, I have always found the first too expensive, while excellent, and the latter too expensive, but not worth the money. I’ve known and amired Chef Ronnie, owner and sushi-master of Tatsuya for over a decade. This is the one restaurant my wife always wants to go to on special occasions.

Favourite Chinese: Hu Cui
Many will question this choice. There are, after all, a large number of excellent Chinese restaurants in town. And specifically for that reason, I have listed this as a “favourite” and not “best”. Quite simply, I like the style of food here. I love the river shrimp in salted egg yolk sauce; the tofu with crab roe; the bean curd sheets with broad beans; the braised pork belly; the xiao long bao; and many more dishes. Maybe it’s because I’m one quarter Shanghainese. But this is my favourite Chinese restaurant in town.

Best Burger: (big) Seah Street Deli, (tiny) Iggy’s
I used to be loyal fan of the burgers at Whitebait & Kale. Honestly, it was the only thing I would order there. More recently, however, I have found a burger I like better. Sadly, I’ve forgotten the name of the specific burger, but at Seah Street Deli, in Raffles Hotel, they serve a burger with cheese and onions on toasted rye bread that I love. The bread is always very fresh and light, and the meat always juicy and tender. If, however, a big burger is not for you, go to Iggy’s and try the one there—bite for bite, it is the best burger in town. The only problem, though, is it's size, maybe 3 inches across at best.

Best feels-like-eating-in-someone’s-home experience: Mag’s Wine Kitchen
My wife and I have only discovered this institution recently. Tucked into a cosy room, Mag’s whips up good Continental food nightly on what may be the smallest restaurant kitchen in town—well, actually Buko Nero’s might be smaller. The menu changes daily, according to what’s fresh. Since the kitchen is open and the room is tiny, interaction with Mag and her staff is requisite. Which is fun, especially when one specific, occasional but always tipsy waitress is on duty.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

My Favourite Pasta Dish

In my last post, I mentioned Buon Ricordo in Sydney. For those who have been, you'll know what I am getting to. For those that have not, boy, do you have a treat in store for you (if, that is, you take my advice, and go... as soon as possible!). In fact, I envy you. That first bite of the Fettucine al Tartufovo is something I'll never forget, and, unfortunately, never be able to recreate.

Of course, the second, third and even 30th bites, on return visits, are still fantastic enough for me to easily--and by a landslide--declare that my favourite pasta dish is Chef Armando Percuoco's "Fettucine with Cream and Parmesan, Topped with a Fried Truffle Egg, Tossed At The Table."

I'm not alone in praising this dish. The Sydney Morning Herald called this, "undoubtedly, Sydney's best pasta." I don't know any one who has tried this who hasn't been amazed and astounded by this beautiful, simple, but decadent recipe.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture to share. But there is a tiny one on the menu page of the restaurant's website. Go check it out. While there, make a reservation and then call your travel agent and book a flight to Sydney. This is one dish worth flying for.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Great Restaurant that Closed Down

Ever had a favourite restaurant that, despite serving consistently great food, couldn’t survive?

In 2001, my wife and I tried a new restaurant in Sydney called Restaurant VII. We were very excited to go—the two young Japanese chefs, Harunobu Inukai and Noriyuki Sugie, we were told, had been trained by Robuchon (Haru), and Trotter and Tetsuya (Nori). That weekend had already been pretty indulgent. We had dined at Tetsuya already, as well as at the always fabulous Buon Ricordo (whose Truffled Egg Pasta deserves a whole blog onto itself).

VII was a real treat. The food was fantastic, more French than Tetsuya and equally inventive. We also got to spend some time chatting with Haru and Nori, who we also saw when they came to Singapore the following year to cook in the World Gourmet Summit.

Sadly, only two years after opening, and despite consistently rave reviews from all the critics, VII closed its doors in 2003. In memoriam, pictured below is one of my favourite dishes, Haru and Nori’s egg cocotte, served chilled and topped with gold leaf (it’s also one of my favourite food photos—that is, that I have taken).

Fortunately, both Haru and Nori have gone on to good positions. Haru is executive chef at Galileo in the Observatory Hotel in Sydney. Nori, more famously, helms the much talked-about Asiate in the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. It’s nice to know, even though VII is closed, these two are still whipping up great things, albeit in separate kitchens.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Making Pasta

A couple weeks ago, I tried making a batch of homemade ravioli. I used a DK Pasta book (I know, I know, that already should have been an indication of sure failure) for the dough recipe. It asked for 300g flour and 3 eggs. To cut a long story short, let's just say that the recipe was far from perfect. Not only did I have to throw in a lot more flour, but the process outlined was quite a bit off the mark. In the end, while the filling was yummy (duck sausage and foie gras), the pasta dough could have been much better.

My brother's girlfriend J, who made the amazing pappardelle I rave about in an earlier post (Cooking with Truffles), recommended I try Paul Bertolli's recipes. So, this weekend, my wife and I gave pasta making another shot. Stupid and stubborn as I am, I didn't turn to Bertolli first. Instead, I tried a recipe from Marcella Hazan--after all, she is supposed to be the grandmama of Italian food. She asks for 200g flour to 2 eggs. Maybe this works in Italy, but in a hot, humid climate like Singapore's, all I got was a sticky mess.

So, on to Bertolli, who recommends 280g flour, 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon of cold water. Et Voila! As predicted by J, perfect pasta. Here's some pix of the wife rolling out the pasta and balling it up for drying.

The only challenging thing, we found, was (in our climate) ensuring that the fresh pasta, when drying, wouldn't stick together. We had to dry it a little, and then when the stickiness was gone, roll it up and let it dry some more.

Unfortunately, we left the pasta to dry on our dining table and a while later, when our backs were turned, we discovered one of the rolls on the floor with our ever-greedy golden retriever Sascha chomping on it.

Fortunately, Sascha had only eaten one of many rolls. Over the weekend, we finished off the rest, using one batch for Carbonara and another with some homemade pesto. I've included a photograh that I like a lot of the pasta with the pesto sauce at the very beginning of this post. You can click on it to see a larger version of it.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Delicious Nasi Padang

This is a real short post. My colleagues and I just had a wonderful lunch at Mayang Sari Nasi Padang, at 54 Zion Road.

Zion Road is famous for Nasi Padang (originally from Sumatra, this simply describes rice served with a variety of dishes, many of them spicy). This is thanks to Nasi Padang River Valley, a coffee shop that has reigned as one of the city's best Nasi Padang purveyors for decades. Very recently, however, a competitor (Mayang Sari) has popped up, right next door.

Ever since Mayang Sari has opened, I've heard various rumors. The most popular is that the original owners of Nasi Padang River Valley had sold out and then started Mayang Sari right next door. Another was that Mayang Sari was started by the old chefs of River Valley. An SMS from KF Seetoh, the "makanguru" of Singapore, informs me that River Valley (for those who go--it's the one on the left when facing them) is "still" the original.

Being a tad adventurous, and because one of my colleagues had recently been to the "original" and had been disappointed, we tried Mayang Sari. And it was fantastic. The 9 of us ate like pigs and kings, stuffing ourselves silly for just S$50. New, old. Doesn't really matter so long as the food is good and the price is right.

Totally Shameless Self-Promotion

Okay, I feel a tad guilty and shameless in fashioning this post, but I figure since I'm not exactly just promoting myself, then it's not so bad.

A few months back, I helped write the Six Senses Cookbook, published by Editions Didier Millet (EDM), which covers the cuisine served in the various resorts and hotels under the Six Senses group. The resorts are pretty well-known and are very, very expensive. The fab Maldivian resort Soneva Gili is but one example.

Anyway, for this book, I wrote essays on each of the resorts. The hard part of the book, collating the recipes and shooting all the pix, were done by others. If you get a chance, check out the book. The pix are really great. And it will make you want to visit these places.

My wife was also commissioned by EDM to work on Singapore's first Wedding Planner. This book also came out a few months back and I am told is selling very well.

The last image here is (badly taken on my damn Treo) of the very first issue of Revolution, a new magazine for watch enthusiasts created and helmed by my brother. It's a fabulously thick first issue -- 288 pages -- and chock full of real intelligent content and some pretty sexy shoots. Well worth the S$10. Unfortunately, it's only available in Singapore... for now.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


I've realized that while I've subtitled this blog "Musings on Food, Wine, and Marriage", I really haven't done any real musing. So, here's something I've been mulling over. A little while ago, I was thinking about getting some really nice name cards made for my wife. I discovered, in Venice, this amazing small but super cool stationary shop named Gianni Basso--which is also the name of the guy who owns it. Some celebs like Susan Sontag and Hugh Grant got/get their calling cards here. Actually, to call Gianni Basso a stationary shop is a disservice. This wacky artisan, who refuses to take orders over the phone, fax or via email, handprints cards and paper on old Gutenberg presses using hand-mixed paints. The cards from this shop are, essentially, unique and truly stunning... and also pretty durned expensive.

Anyway, as a present for finishing her PHD, I figured I'd get my wife a set, with her new title ("Dr") and profession printed on the cards. However, I was stumped by what to call her. I've already said that her PHD is on how mass media has changed or influenced eating trends in urban centres (with a focus on celebrity chefs). I felt that the old title of "food writer" wouldn't cut it any more. In that case, what do I call her? Food Historian? She's not really a historian. Food Sociologist? Maybe, but what a mouthful. What about new descriptors like Foodologist or Gastronomer? I quite like Foodologist, but will people think that's simply another way to say Glutton?

Gianno Basso, in case you get to Venice, is at Cannaregio, F. Nove, Calle del Fumo, 5306.

Curry Katsu

I've always loved really unhealthy meals. And while my lovely wife grumbles occasionally that the way I eat (and cook) is going to kill me quickly, she does entertain my vices. Case in point: she's become a fan of curry katsu--a wonderful dish of rice, deep fried pork loin and some pickles, all smothered in this fantastically rich curry sauce. The sauce, by the way, is instant, i.e. out of a box.

It's an odd curry, and I know many who aren't fans. It's thick; it's sweet; and it tastes nothing like Indian or Southeast Asian curries. Urban legend is that this curry came to Japan via the British, who themselves had already bastardized it. It's also almost universally made from one of several instant curry packets. In fact, I don't know anyone, Japanese or other, who makes this curry from scratch. Most packets tell you to just add water and stir. When my wife and I make it, we add a whole bunch of chopped up veggies as well as some homemade stock.

Once you have your sauce, all you need to do is bread the pork loin and deep fry the suckers. (Which sounds easier than it is, but it ain't... and boy are hot oil stains painful.) Chop the fried pork up and plate with hot rice and some sweet pickles. (We've thrown some boiled eggs in just to make the dish even more unhealthy.)

You can either smother the rice in sauce (like I do) or pour it into a fancy gravy boat, as they do in many Japanese curry restaurants.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

My Favourite Ham and Cheese Sandwich

I mentioned in my last post that my last couple of trips to Italy have been to Venice. While that's true, unfortunately, those trips have been work trips. So, instead of enjoying what many consider the world's most romantic city with my wife, I usually end up there with colleagues. The last time I took my wife to Venice, in fact, was in 2000--when I proposed to her. Hopefully, when I go back in June, on another work trip, she'll find some time to come with me (that is, so long as her doctoral thesis is completed or close to completion).

This is, I should also say, a pretty random post. But I was looking at this (pretty godawful) picture I took (on my Treo 600) and decided to share what I am sure many will feel is an unjustified or even incorrect opinion. I think the best ham and cheese sandwiches in the world are the fried ones sold at Harry's Bar in Venice.

I'm well aware that the restaurant has its detractors. People call it overpriced, over-rated and a lot of other unpublishable names. I, on the other hand, have always loved the place. Maybe my love of its history has clouded my taste buds, but I have always had great meals there (and also at its sister restaurants in NYC and Hong Kong).

The ham in these sandwiches is Parma. The cheese is emmental mixed with egg yolk, cayenne pepper, and worcestershire sauce. The whole sandwich is fried in olive oil and served hot at your table. These sandwiches are also one of the cheapest things available at the bar. At only E4, they cost 1/3rd of a Bellini (the other reason to go to Harry's Bar).

If you can't get all the way to Venice (or any other city where there's a Cipriani), grab a copy of the Harry's Bar Cookbook. The recipe for these sandwiches is inside and they're a breeze to make.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Cooking With Truffles

The first time I ever ate a truffle was when I was eight years old. My family had been invited to attend a friend's annual Christmas party. Among the many canapes being passed around on highly polished silver trays was foie gras with truffles on toast. I had never had foie gras before, let alone heard of it. And while I took French at the United Nations International School, I hadn't yet learned the word for "liver". These family friends (Mr and Mrs M) had great taste, and over the years since this incident, I have been fortunate enough to eat in some of the world's best restaurants with them. While their home is in New York, they spent and still spend a good portion of each year in France. And as gourmands, indulge in all the best produce available there. That Christmas, the foie gras was, as is their practice, simply the best, fresh off a plane from Strasbourg, and studded all the way through its middle with black truffle.

One bite was all it took. I was hooked, on both the liver and the shroom. Today, my reaction and follow-up action have reached slight epic status (of course, only among friends and family). Mr and Mrs M like to tell people that I shortly devoured the entire tray, obviously embarrassing my parents to no end, but earning a place in their hearts forever.

Over the years since, I've had the fortune of eating both black and white truffles, in a variety of dishes. I still love foie gras with truffles but now equally desire a myriad of other truffle-infused delicacies. As does my wife.

And so, for her birthday, which was last week, I got a chef-friend of mine to bring in 100g of black truffles for me. On the eve of her Birthday, I made a dinner for her and 3 friends. It was a simple but fun meal. The first course was Baked Eggs with Tetsuya Wakuda's Truffle Salsa (now available in jars). This was followed by a Chicken slow-cooked "en cocotte" with a Truffle-Butter Sauce and Braised Japanese Leeks. The main was a roasted Tenderloin served with an XO Sauce and Baby Carrots.

Amazingly, despite being pretty liberal with truffle shavings, both in the Truffle-Butter sauce, and tucked under the chicken's skin, I only managed to use about 40-50% of the truffles.

So, yesterday, my brother's girlfriend and my wife collaborated to use up the rest of our truffles. Six of us gathered in our tiny apartment for a wonderful meal. J (my brother's girlfriend) prepared a home-made Pappardelle with Porcini, drizzled with White Truffle Oil, and my wife ("S") made a variation of Tournedos Rossini (steak with foie gras and truffles), using Ribeye and a cognac-based sauce.

Both dishes were amazing. J's pasta was better than anything I've had recently in Singapore or Italy (although truth be told, my last two trips to Italy have been to Venice--which we all know is not the best place in Italy to eat). S's Tournedos was also divine. Instead of pan-frying or grilling the steaks, she slow-roasted the whole chunk of meat at 75 degrees Celsius for 5 hours. It was delightfully juicy and tender. My only regret is that, being in Singapore, we had to settle for Australian beef, which, in my opinion, is too lean. I much prefer US beef, but unfortunately, that's still banned here. But, that should be the topic for a future post.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Intros and tooting one's own horn

As a first post, I figure some kind of introduction is standard. Suffice it to say, as can be seen from the title of this little on-line rant, that I'm married and a foodie. Actually I'm also married to a foodie, which is great because I've never been able to tolerate women that don't enjoy food (and wine). In fact, there might be nothing I hate more than seeing some skinny chica take two bites from her plate and then spend the rest of her meal playing with her food. But as I was saying, my wife, in fact, is a professional foodie, which puts her on a level way above my simple greedy enjoyment of preparing and consuming food. She's a food (and cookbook) writer and ex-food magazine editor. She's actually taking a break from her professional career at the moment to try and complete a PHD. Not surprisingly, her PHD topic is foodcentric. It's an investigation into the evolution of today's celebrity chef, as created or enabled by media and globalization, i.e. more Jamie and Nigella than Ducasse or Keller.

Once she finishes her thesis--fingers crossed--she's already been engaged to start work on a couple cookbooks by two chef friends of ours, one in Shanghai and one in Taipei. Oh, yeah, I should add that we live in Asia--Singapore to be exact. In fact, and not to toot my wife's horn too much, she also wrote the below book, for Lonely Planet.

Truth be told, I'm tooting my own horn a tad too. I worked on the book as well, but as its main photographer. I guess that admission means I should probably elaborate a bit more on my own background. I'm an ex-journalist, occasional author and even more occasional photographer, i.e. one of your typical Jack-of-all-tradesmen and master-on-none. My full-time gig right now is in the civil service.

What I am good at, but still by no means a master yet, is enjoying food. I enjoy eating it; I enjoy cooking it; I enjoy talking about it. And, inspired by so many others who are so much better at this than I am, I figured I'd try my hand at blogging about it. Now, if only someone paid by the word!