In recent years, at-home dinner parties have become less popular in Asia, which may be due to the fact that urban households are getting smaller and smaller, and people tend to dine out more and more often. I have always liked to entertain guests at home, but since I took “being a gourmet” as a my career , my life and work are inseparable from food. In addition, I have a higher standard for home banquets and an obsessive-compulsive personality andall that makes me not feel like entertaining guests at will. My emotions were all brought back by the at-home dinner party held by the owner of Fika Fika Cafe in Taipei, James in mid-October. I received the invitation a month before the banquet, and I was told about the location only few days before. I called the host after arriving at an inconspicuous factory in Nangang, then the iron rolling door slowly opened, and the host's figure slowly emerged. There is some mysterious fun in the whole thing.
Cantonese cuisine emphasizes techniques and there is no standard procedure. It usually takes years of hard work for a chef majoring Cantonese cuisine to master the essence of it. Chef Max Wo, a celebrated graduate from the famous fine dining spot Lei Garden in Hong Kong with over thirty years of culinary experience, has welcomed renowned chefs both from Taiwan and from other countries at Silks House in Taipei since he took the helm from 2019. It has not picked up a Michelin star yet but it is my No. 1 Cantonese cuisine restaurant in Taipei.
Entering the ninth year in Taipei since he traveled from Tokyo back in early 2014, Chef Ryohei Hieda is among the first of the new-generation Japanese chefs living in Taiwan. As one of the foreign chefs to have unearthed some of the best ingredients that even locals didn’t know about, Ryohei Hieda has pioneered a brand new perspective where he believes that the quality and variety of vegetables in Taiwan are well suited to Japanese cuisine. Before opening Shoun RyuGin, Ryohei Hieda and Seiji Yamamoto, founder of Tokyo RyuGin travelled around the island in search of the best regional produce, hoping to deliver similarly creative cuisine leveraging the richness and diversity of local ingredients.
Situated in the north of Italy, Bologna not only houses the almost 1,000-year-old University of Bologna, but the city is also known as the food capital of Italy, and not just for pastas. You may wonder if there is still any place for Michelin restaurants in this paradise of budget-friendly meals.
Located in the heart of Emilian Appennines, Trattoria da Amerigo was opened in 1934 in the fertile Samoggia Valley, perched in the middle of the Modena and Bologna hillsides. Half an hour's drive from the center of Bologna, the restaurant serves dishes that remain rustic but are characterised by refined techniques and an elegant master of time. It has always respected tradition and has been one of the few members of the Premiate Trattorie Italiane.
In Italy, apart from Michelin-starred restaurants, there are also old-fashioned yet popular restaurants that locals love to visit, though they are no less difficult to get a table. Centered around Milan, we drove to a number of "hard-to-book" trattorias in the surrounding towns and ran into many delicious encounters.
There is no pizza like Franco Pepe's. Nowadays everywhere is accessible, but the best pizza in the world still gets you on the road to explore the old, narrow, cobbled alleys of Caiazzo. For food travellers, it's always worth the effort.
It's been over three years since I last visited Reale, a celebrated restaurant situated in the remote town of Castel di Sangro nestled in the mountains of Abruzzo in central Italy. It is not a tourist town and takes about 1.5 hours driving from Naples. It is interesting that a world-famous three-starred Michelin restaurant is housed in a time-honoured 16th century monastery.
It might be a bit of a cliché, but the story started when a boy fell in love with a girl. "I started working as a cook when I was seventeen and that was a lot of years ago. Before doing catering school, I did a technical school. But this school was not suitable for me, also because to find a girl was like finding a needle in a haystack. I was very young with my hormones totally out of control. When I went to catering school, it was a great party for me, because eighty percent were girls." After finishing school and several experiences in high level restaurants, he attended university and had the luck to teach in a catering school to maintain his studies. He decided at that time that he didn’t want to be a professional cook because it was a very hard job and he wanted to continue studying.
There are places you pass by and places you stop for, and Pietro Zito's Antichi Sapori is certainly the latter. This is how the story begins: Antichi Sapori is a traditional Italian restaurant run by a third-generation farming family in Puglia, the heel of the boot-shaped country. Most ingredients in its cuisine come from its own farmland or from local suppliers. How did Pietro Zito become a chef? He says it all started with hunger and willingness to succeed in the restaurant business.