Jamie’s Interview@Time Out Hong Kong

Time Out HK

What was the first thing you ever cooked?
J: The first thing I ever cooked? Well… when I was about six. I remember my dad teaching me ‘when the oil’s hot, the pan’s hot’. The first thing I probably cooked was a classic English Sunday roast chicken with roast potatoes, gravy, all veg and I did that when I was about eight or nine.

You’re known as an advocate for food education. What do your own kids eat?
Well I’ve got a 13-, 12-, 5- and a 4-year-old currently. And they’re pretty good. I mean like most kids, they can have their good and bad weeks and go through little phases. Every parent struggles with their kids at certain times, but ultimately we have a lot of fun around food. We go to the markets, we let them make choices, we let them be part of what we’re going to eat for the week. You know we spend most of the time saying no to crappy sugary snacks and obviously trying to get them into the culture of trying new things. My wife is pretty ninja, she’s got it down. I speak to a lot of parents and tell them not to think too much about what their kids don’t like, just concentrate on what they do like and what they might like.

It’s the tenth anniversary of your School Dinners documentary this year, how effective has your food education campaign been? I know that you have got programs in Hong Kong as well, what’s your next step?
Ten years ago in Britain, kids were going to school every day, eating one – possibly twice a day (breakfast and lunch) – food that’s supplied by the government. That’s 190 days of the year from the age of 4-18, of a child’s meals provided by the schools. In a time of diet-related disease, obesity, you know one in three kids were overweight or obese. We were the most unhealthy nation in Europe. So I did a campaign that raised the question of why do we treat our children – the future of our country – in such a bad way. The food was all processed, all bad quality and there was no love or soul or education involved in it. The result was quite funny because at the beginning we struggled to get access to the government, but after the first documentary went out, I could get an interview with the Prime Minister within a week, so it was a very powerful campaign. Eventually, we found 500 billion pounds over six years to invest in the food system that hadn’t been invested in for 40 years. Now – broad-stroke terms – all the standards were raised at least a minimum of 30 percent. Another success story is that we have been campaigning for about six years to make it law that every single child learns to grow and to practically cook in school, and that law was passed last September. Our next plans are about harvesting the power of our Food Revolution Day – this May 15th is Food Revolution Day and we want people – including people of HK – to sign a petition asking for it to be law in all countries to guarantee that children are taught about food, where it comes from and how it affects our body. We think it’s a child’s human right to learn these at school.

What do you think will be the main occupation in terms of food in ten years? What will we be looking at?
I think in ten years, it will be an amplified version of what we have now. I think more research will be out and more data will be out. The prevalence of specific diseases, diet-related diseases are responsible for about 68 percent of most people in hospital in the Western world. Last year was the first time in world history where more people died from eating too much of the wrong stuff than having too little. But this is the kind of big moment in history where really not enough people are talking about it. I work in countries of famine and I work in countries where they eat too much of the wrong kind. And this is a very uncomfortable position to be in – how would I justify it or how do I have a conversation with you about two such desperately awful things. This year we’re trying to get people to sign that petition – it’s a global campaign and then I’m gonna take it to the G20 in Turkey and present it to the governments there. Now we’ve got seven on board and have signed up to have compulsory, practical food education already. There’s another 25 that we need to get. As you know with politics, it’s a bit of a game – there’s about three or four that might be on the edge, once we get those, hopefully the others will follow.

Your restaurants are famous for focusing on quality eco-friendly ingredients. Where do you source most of the ingredients at Hong Kong’s Jamie’s Italian from?
The sourcing for the Hong Kong branch is quite mixed for various reasons. We focus on a lot of ethical issues like sustainability, traceability and not using certain pesticides. In that respect, we’re quite hard to work with. For example, there’s plenty of fish we could buy here but we can’t buy pork because there’s none that’s approved by our in-house standards. So everything you see here is actually a mixed bag.

If there’s one ingredient that you’ll take away from Cantonese food, what would that be?
I think it’ll have to be ginger. Ginger’s like one of my best friends in the whole world. It has so many uses from sweet to savoury, in drinks and in soups. I had some beautiful congee today with the most amazing hit of ginger in the morning and I’m like YESS. It’s such a beautiful thing. Also it’s quite hard to grow ginger in England, so it’s always romantic to have access to something that I can’t grow.

What’s your favourite food in Hong Kong?
Probably dim sum. It’s just a lovely world of beautiful things – the Italians have antipasti, the Spanish have tapas and you guys have dim sum. It’s so beautiful. I love dim sum as Sunday brunch, it’s the best thing ever. The diversity of it all. That’s definitely the favourite.

You weren’t physically here for the launch of Jamie’s Italian, whereas Gordon Ramsay was for the opening of Bread Street Kitchen. What took you so long to get here?
Obviously there’s only one of me. So, first of all, I think it’s fair to say that I run more consistent and efficient restaurants than Mr Ramsay. He’s the type of guy who will turn up at the launch, do the jazz hands and disappear. I really like to act more like an owner than pretending to be a celebrity chef because it’s not honest. You’re not going to me on the line in the kitchen, let’s just be really honest about it. I never over promise and we don’t pretend that I’m there every day. Anyone that would presume I would be is misinformed. Of course, I always try and get there for the launch, but in actual fact it’s not very useful. All it does is it puts extra pressure on the team when they need to focus.

You’ve been expanding globally and there’s no stopping you. Do you have any concerns about brand dilution?
When you open multiple restaurants, after the second restaurant, you’re physically never going to be in that restaurant like the first one. I only work with people who I feel I trust and we only evolve at a speed that’s appropriate. We’re very protective and try to choose the right partners. When you have a restaurant in another country, it’s a bit like giving your baby away. And you only want to give your baby to someone you can trust. I have a bible that I’ve written about how we buy and how we purchase food and another bible about how we train staff, how we hire people. What’s really nice is that we have a really tight team [in Hong Kong].

Join Jamie’s Food Revolution; foodrevolutionday.com

Source: Time Out Hong Kong

名廚,只剩下 …

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只剩下Anthony Bourdain          

今天打開電視,想看一集似樣的飲食節目,極不容易。本地製作,蒼白沒營養,不值一提。以前隨便轉去有線電視的旅遊飲食台,有很大機會可以坐下看一會,現在,也不行。青黃不接,經過好幾年的百花齊放之後,由盛而衰,再無新意。

Jamie Oliver也疲倦了。畢竟,要兼顧旗下幾十間餐廳,真夠忙。上年倫敦的Fifteen十周年,我特別去吃了一次午餐,唉,疏於管理,甩甩漏漏,看着那塊毫無味道的燒豬腩肉,沒法吃得完。他最近示範一些據說三十分鐘可以煮成的菜,噱頭居多,功夫下得不夠,在鏡頭前面,騙不得人。真懷念他在《 School Dinners》裏面扮成一條大粟米,哄小朋友吃蔬菜的日子。Nigella Lawson竟然還在。我從不相信她懂烹飪。有一次無意中轉台,看到她在做肉丸Pizza,差點嚇死。隨着愈來愈肥,她拋媚眼,吮手指,以及舔大湯匙的次數亦愈來愈頻密。切完一個洋葱,好像已經來了幾次高潮。Nigella被稱為 ” Queen of food porn” ,到了今天,還在賣弄這些招式。Fat Duck大廚Heston Blumenthal 當然有極高的廚藝,他以前古靈精怪的分子料理節目,好玩之至。在《Feasts》中有一集,Heston扮電影朱古力掌門人,做了一個朱古力屋,裏面鋪滿有味道的牆紙,以及朱古力瀑布,是令人難忘的經典。現在的 《How to Cook Like Heston》,正經八百,講解如何煎牛排,燒雞柳,技術一流,不過好像在做教育電視,悶死人。我要到真正煎牛排,遇到難題的時候,才會想看他的節目,然後上You Tube 搜尋。

Gordon Ramsey幾年前有一系列,專門去國外學習當地食物,與本地人煮幾味,充滿熱情,很有內容。現在重複播着的《Kitchen Nightmares》,看過幾次,再沒興趣。當然不是因為粗口太多,我們做餐廳的,本來就是粗口大王。不看,是因為太假。每次都是大廚去到一間瀕臨倒閉的餐廳,在解決問題期間與老闆員工發生摩擦,然後有些人在鏡頭前面哭一輪,跟着互相諒解,攜手煮出美味新菜被客人讚賞,大團圓結局。這些令人難以入信的例牌情節,大廚自己也受不了,每次被訪問,他都會這樣說:‘I do the TV shows as a whore so I can support my fine dining restaurants’。絕對看不下去的是Adam Richman 的 《Man vs Food Nation》。一個人一次過猛吃二十磅漢堡包,或者吞三呎長的熱狗,四十隻辣椒,如此無聊,竟然是美國的三甲飲食節目(如果這也算飲食節目的話) ,長做長有。

很多人認為肥仔主持 Andrew Zimmern 的《Bizarre Food》,專吃羊眼穿山甲大肥蟲,十分噁心。我沒這想法。蛇可以吃,水魚可以吃,為甚麼大肥蟲不能吃?Andrew Zimmern其實是正宗廚房紅褲子出身,拿過不少獎狀。他常自嘲,外形所限,鬥不過其他靚仔廚師,惟有另闢途徑。去過幾十個國家,古怪食物吃得七七八八,最近的節目,重回美國境內,立即變得沒趣。美國人,最厲害也只不過是豬腰批豬腸餡餅,與在芬蘭吃海豹及滿地可吃韃靼馬心,差幾皮。剩下的,只有 Anthony Bourdain在支撑大局。幸好還有他。

今天的 Anthony Bourdain,跟十多年前不一樣,不再啃藥,再婚,有了小朋友,而且還戒了煙。對,真不能相信他戒了煙。我們還記得Thomas Keller請他吃午飯,怕他煙癮起,特別做了一個萬寶路Mousse的菜給他頂癮的那一集,是很久以前的事了。當我們擔心他變成富户,會自動河蟹的時候,Anthony Bourdain依然故我地尖酸刻薄,繼續在駡:Alain Ducasse是大壞蛋,他的餐廳經理拿一盤萬寶龍鋼筆出來給客人簽單,是他媽的發神經;煎鏟也拿不穩的所謂名廚,如 Sandra Lee, 如Rachael Ray,上電視教人煮食物,是一班垃圾;那些所謂fine dining餐廳的服務員,每一道菜都煞有介事地說幾分鐘介紹,影響食慾,簡直是狗屎;然後,他會毫不猶豫地說出其他食評家的名字,如Alan Richman,叫他們去死。每次都指名道姓,絕不含糊,當然,其中還包括大量粗口,十分痛快。Anthony Bourdain是唯一會說破皇帝新衣的人,看完電視,還要再看他的書。不過這最後堡壘,亦可能要失守。ABC電視台最近做了一個新節目,四位飲食教練各自帶着一班廚師比賽,其中兩位是Anthony Bourdain以及減了肥的Nigella Lawson。大家沒看錯,真的是Anthony Bourdain與Nigella Lawson,很令人擔心呢……。

作者 : 葉一南有書唔讀,走堂去做廚師。有會計師唔做,寧願去做餐館佬、魚販、酒商。學藝二十年,飲飽食醉,近年從澳洲回流香港,著起西裝,做回一個企管人。

資料來源 : 飲食男女 | ET169  |   專欄  |   中環人食錄  |   By 葉一南  |   2013-03-29
圖片 :  Renée S. Suen