www.MinahasaLagoon.com is in the last corner after an hour drive from the Manado Airport on Sulawesi. A quaint little metal-sheet roofed village of 2000 people near by a dangerous river merely 300 meter away from the Ocean front and there, where salt- and sweet-water meet, rests a 15 villa Dive Resort with a tiny but fancy kitchen. I am invited to finish my Dive Master course in exchange of sharing some cooking secrets with the kitchen staff. Although this seems a fair deal, right now my focus is the immediate improvement of the menu and this takes a while to implement. Currently the guests are foremost from Switzerland, but soon the rest of the world will discover that this special little place offers breakfast and boarding the dive-boat from the same terrace; quite a divers heaven! Minahasa Lagoon is not just the nicest and most hidden of all dive resorts I know about; This place is right on the doorsteps of the worlds most famous Gunung Tangkoko National Park and the dive-famous Btungas Islands and Bunaken flat reef’s and coral life. The few dive expeditions I enjoyed have been astonishing, seeing critters I cannot describe; cute little “creeps” and pigmy sea horses that only vegetate in these waters that would inspire Doctor Zeus characters.
THIS PART IS PENDING…
Now, while waiting being shipped back to the United States I am dormant, ‘kinda happy to have some time off and immensely enjoy teaching a few rural chefs the magic of French Cookery. Not that this could be done in the short time I will be here in Indonesia, but certainly, everything I have to share is being absorbed with passion. I probably will find myself relocating to Los Angeles, my home again. Already contacted old familiar clients for whom I enjoy to cook. Maybe I find the time to draft a new script, an old story I have in my head and follow up with the neglected hobbies of painting and playing my violin. I will be missing South East Asia and returning for visits. All in all it was a blessing having the chance to experience this part of the world. Go travel you people!
An incredible journey has come to an end. It was great fun developing and training a great team of chefs for this TCM/French Restaurant project for the Eu Yan Sang Group in Singapore. I’m honored having crossed path with wonderful souls and a great traditional culture that is newly discovered as essential in health care and in the maintenance of human wellbeing. I wish this baby all the success it needs to survive without me.
Towards the end – my attempts to stay involved on a consultant base did not work out favorably, foremost for the lack of receiving a clear draft of my future involvement brought forward by the management; I was forced to accept a very difficult decision to end my participation. As sad as I am about the final quarrels about my departures – still worried about compensation – I certainly support everyone involved with this concept; truly a fascinating idea. I had great fun as long as it lasted. Good luck!
A short visit to Bali was an amazing and relaxing journey. I stayed at the meditative Four Seasons Hotel in Sayan, build by a river into the jungle – if ever there is paradise…I’m off to new adventures. I am still writing on the TCM cookbook and having great fun with it; I will start a TCM website as soon I have enough material to entice some curious minds about my working with herbal remedies. In the mean while I have added a few links of media clippings currently in the news about my cooking for RWP. Even Times Magazine honored me with a short reportage. I have pitched my idea to a new level, new corporations and hopefully soon will have a clear outline of work on my horizon.
In the short term I will be going to Sulawesi, still in beloved South East Asia and finally finishing my Dive Master class which I had interrupted when moving to Singapore last Fall. Soon you will read a blog on diving with great pictures, since now I even have an underwater camera!
Life is great fun and with every door closing, it seems another one immediately opens up. I am blessed the spirits that keep me sane, humble and foremost kind to others, regardless of how difficult situations appear to be.
Happy mothers day Mom. I love you! No excuse I forgot you this year! Son Raphael