2006 was a nice year.

I still find my self surprised about the events of actions life involved me within 2006. It was a beautiful year. I grew a little, learned a lot and foremost shared a bundle of my cooking knowledge; more so than ever before.

My events all blurr together making a typical picture of my turbulent life:

I still miss Lou, my friend who unexpectedly parted in March, I have him on my mind quite often. I don’t know why. I simply miss you.

My friend Mathieu who like others stopped talking to me, possibly because I left Los Angeles and moved to South East Asia in September. Feels like it only was last week.

I wrote the script of Ann Lee’s life. I worked on the project three month.

Next, the strenuous training of two entire kitchen staff took all my energies. In Thailand for a Hotel that turned out to be a bloody Management nightmare and only under great difficulties that I pulled through the four month of my contract.

Diving on Phi Phi Island. Life is beautiful!

And back into the self-training of basic TCM and adapting and developing a unique menu for this new job here in Singapore.

The creation of a completely modern way from a culinary perspective; Infusion of TCM into Healthy French Cuisine/Spa Cuisine involving food experimenting and training of another kitchen staff which now is in action. We curently proudly prepare the worlds first professional French Cuisine infused with TCM. We ought to be the standard of future Eateries with the foresight and wisdom that our very health will depend on the quality food we intake.

This time I am supported by Sous Chef Chris Black who has shown lots of talent and great enthusiasm in helping me pulling  this huge menu into reality. On of the Chefs, Rach joined from Thailand, a familiar face in my kitchen and I love his dedication and loyal work ethic. Richard told me in his first interview he was not sure he wanted to cook anymore has now completely bloomed and possibly enjoys  the best culinary moments of his carrier. Maynard who is slowly “waking up”, a loyal soul with quite an understanding for TCM. There is Shing, I treat him like a Chef, although he is in the very beginning of his carrier and fortunate to be in my kitchen. I watch with surprise how fast he learns and adapts. Quite surprising. Not to forget the many kitchen hands, some of them only here for a short term, but fun characters indeed.

I have my struggles, as it is in any new business: fighting for every corner and idea. I try not to be ego driven but cant help chuckling when my cooking and actions are questioned by the very people that hired me. In such moments I hear myself saying my familiar “relax, trust me” wishing in the same moment I had a little of that temperament of my colleagues that would burst into a furry of angers. I choose a more careful approach, keeping in mind it my health I have to live with.

I am not sure what my future in 2007 holds on surprises for me. I too ones wanted to stop cooking, right after Thailand. Working for red white & pure is a great opportunity, but it requires a greater response. We just opened the doors to the public and  I’d like to see from within a stronger feedback and a 100% positive attitude; that is what fuels a kitchen team and my passion.

My mom has been very strong. Her health playing the tricky games of age. Our relation ship has strengthened since she read the script I gave her;  an attempt to write my biography.

Last, not to forget my partner Q; something old familiar but new in my life. Thank you for being there, although far away. It gives me such joy to know there is a soul out there spelling positive thoughts and energies. We both promising to spend more time together in 2007.  I think about Q every day.

To all the friends and supporters of my blog: Happy New Year!

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Last stage construction

I find myself in an odd clinch between adjusting to Singapore culture and defending my parent business without clashing too strongly with the emotionless and non-responsive representatives of architect firms and construction managers. Coming from the US where we speak out when unfair dealings occur or agreements are ignored, it is surprising that here in South East Asia large construction firms are under the impression they can produce sloppy and incorrect craft without being reprimanded. So I stepped up to the plate and started to show some teeth. The kitchen construction is delayed. Within alot of us have to adjust to new guidelines, deadlines and jungle around with sensitive deliveries. For a kitchen machinery product orders are a specially difficult task, maintaining a good relation ship with vendors depends on both ends being efficient and accurate. Needless to say I am a bit a wreck, overworked and foremost, I can’t sleep well.

This morning  I had a dream: I laid in bed looking out the window fascinated  about  the other buildings across swerving left and right. It was a storm outside. Suddenly I realized it was my building swerving. I was the one in an unstable house.

Uncertainty has never been my favorite of all feelings. I am analytical and quite logical. As fast as I can adjust to most circumstances, the confrontation with inaccurate floor designs and the daily discovery of botchy work is infuriating; having to debate and negotiate with inflexible and rather unwilling construction managers is awful. When I point out the obvious solutions that should have been adapted from the gecko I receive ugly looks and fascinating excuses. So I confront basic thinking and the lack of good planning. Sometimes my boss looks over my shoulder,  I feel as if my credential as an excellent chef  is being tarnished by having to be a bulldog on the construction site and I dislike my momentary position. We now see a light at the end of this tunnel.

My Sous Chef Chris is being a good back bone these days. Adjusting quickly to my ideas and actually staying calm admits the never-ending daily dilemmas. Hyzue from the front house F&B is equally important and has shown leadership strength.

To cheer up our situation I painted invitations for everyone in RWP and hope we will all get together  for a Christmas party on the 28th. We will play “Elephant Christmas Exchange.” It’s a fun game where everyone brings a unisex present that is placed under the tree. All get a number and in that order number one by one retrieves a present from under the tree. The first one now unpacks it in front of everyone. Number two now can either “steal” his present or pick one from under the tree.  He too unwraps is and when number three comes along he either can take the present from one or two or pick himself a new one. Once you have “stolen” a present, it finally belongs to you. It’s a fun game.

I better keep going back to the construction; since yesterday it starts to look like a kitchen. Within I am getting more and more relaxed and excited.

Mom yesterday asked me: You are so stressed out  about the construction, how are you going  to feel when you guys have  to prepare  for the opening. “That, dear mom is absolutely joy and no stress to us…”

Where is my coffee?