Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris recently retained three Michelin stars for 15 years running. Chopstix caught up with Guy Savoy himself, one of the most personable chefs in the business, on a recent trip to Asia.
Who inspired you to become a chef?
My mother. Firstly, I liked to eat and my mother was a good cook. I didn’t imagine how much work went into it though then I watched my mother one day. I saw how she blended flour, butter, eggs, salt and sugar. The ingredients were not interesting separately but then they became a cake. For me, it was like magic.
What is your food heaven and hell?
I love ice cream; it is an addiction. I don’t like capsicum. When they’re cooked they’re ok but I can’t eat raw ones.
What do you like to cook for yourself?
For a snack: toasted rustic bread with a thick layer of cold bread and some sardines and ground pepper on top. The most important thing is to have cold butter.
What would you be if you couldn’t be a chef?
Nothing. I can’t imagine being anything else.
Who would you most like to cook for?
What would you prepare as a last meal?
I am too too young to think about that!
What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten?
Crocodile finger at Justin Quek’s restaurant in Singapore [Sky on 57 at Marina Bay Sands] and then a month ago, ants in The Amazon. In France we eat frog’s legs and snails, that’s part of our culture. Eating ants is not normal for us.
What’s the best restaurant you’ve never heard of?
My mother’s. I’ve never found better.
If you’re in Hong Kong on January 29th make sure you have a room with a view – of Victoria Harbour for the Chinese New Year fireworks. Here’s our lucky number eight for firework dinners:
View of the fireworks in the harbour from the Intercontinental hotel
The Interconti is perched right on the harbour’s edge so many of the guest rooms have fantastic views as well as the Harbourside restaurant and Nobu if you can bag a window table. Both restaurants are offering a Chinese New Year Fireworks Dinner Menu.
Some 30 metres beneath the streets of Reims lies a labyrinth of chalk cellars housing millions of bottles of champagne. These ‘crayeres’ – limestone mines originally dug in the 4th century purely for materials – form a natural habitat for storing the French fizz. The caves’ temperature, humidity and tranquility are perfect for holding the bottles while the wine undergoes the secondary fermentation that will turn it into champagne.
Piper-Heidsieck, the champagne house that landed on the map when founder Florens-Louis Heidsieck presented his wine to Queen Marie-Antoinette, owns 47 of these chalk pits. Unlike some of the neighbouring champagne houses that own chalk cellars, Heidsieck is not open to the public, so the crayeres have a gentle, ethereal quality, enhanced by the ‘cathedral’ style in which the caves have been dug out.
Guo Pei – Singapore Fashion Week 2016
As Guo Pei opened Singapore Fashion Week last night Chopstix looks back at meeting the couturier at Haute Couture Week in Singapore:
Beijing born Guo Pei has been called “the Chanel of China” and credited with inventing Chinese haute couture but the 45 year old, now in her 15th year of designing*, is philosophical about the monikers.
“In China, we sometimes believe in destiny,” she says matter of factly. “Haute couture was right there in my way of working at the beginning but I didn’t know it. I was merely trying to get the best out of my designs. It was not until a year or two later that I was told that what I was doing was called ‘haute couture’ in global fashion.”
In one of the more surprising moves of the year, chef Uwe Opocensky left his decade long role as executive chef at the Mandarin Oriental to join burger joint Beef & Liberty. The switch has been cheekily described as swapping fine dining for flipping burgers but chef Uwe very definitely won’t be asking you if you want fries with that (even sweet potato ones). Instead he has been busy refining the concept of bar snacks at Beef & Liberty’s recently opened California Tower outlet (itself a new departure for the group with an industrial design by Autoban).