Words by Olivia Lennox

Images provided by Holy Cannoli, photography by Simon Schilling / Crossed Lines Media

Somewhere between folklore and history lies the rumour that cannoli first came into realisation around 1000AD, evolving into not only a Sicilian staple but a gastronomic symbol of national pride. Fast forward a millennium, and some 9000km away, a duo has cooked up a concept. Born from at home cravings during lockdown, Holy Cannoli came into fruition as a business at the end of 2020.

Ask someone to name the most famous Italian desserts, and in the brief list most likely comprising also of tiramisu and panna cotta, cannoli will surely get a mention. Yet before now, Hong Kong was yet to be introduced to the Italian delicacy, at least on this scale, and so the team behind the concept decided to respond to the pastry-shaped gap in the market. Where strong culinary customs reign supreme in Italy, Hong Kong is open to the experiment and innovation of talents new… Now introduced here is the marriage of tradition and inspiration.

The holy trinity consists of Marco Antonio Li Voti, Anna Zhou and their rescue dog (aptly named Cannoli). Unafraid of breaking boundaries, they thrive off the challenge of educating through flavour and experimentation. As with most great ideas, it embodies simplicity in concept and excellence in realisation.

Their classic range comprises of Nonna’s Originale, Dark Yuzu, Rose & Raspberry, White Chocolate Pistachio, Salted Caramel and Pistachio Bacio. If that wasn’t enough, with a preemptive apology to Nonna, they run through some collaborations, past, present and future – which range from cocktail flavours with Quinary Hong Kong, Shady Acres, and 001, to surprise menus airing on the side of savoury.

Their channel of communication is the simple cannolo. They offer them pre-made, the locations at which are discoverable on their interactive map (the Holy Cannoli pilgrimage). DIY kits are also available, allowing customers to make them at home while getting creative with fillings and toppings. For now a lot of their return customers discover them at their pop-ups, and if their success is measured in something other than numerical value, let it be by anecdote – one customer after tasting a cannolo, ordered forty more on the spot to be served the next day at an outdoor event. Knowing that once you try a bite of Holy’s cannoli it becomes hard to stop, the team always make sure to include more of the filling than is necessary – the initial taste test is of course of utmost importance, and when the filling is as well made as this one there is (almost) no judgement for going straight from nozzle to mouth.

Marco

With something so simple, there is much room for error and nowhere to hide. But even as a young chef, Marco has years of experience behind him having worked in esteemed restaurants across Italy, Germany, USA, the UK and Hong Kong. He sites one of the main inspirations in his career as working briefly with Lorenzo Cogo of El Coq, a chef unafraid of pushing boundaries within cuisine. With cannoli it is a fine line to tread but one he has managed to with expertise, striking the perfect balance between traditionalism and experimentation. But the recipe development is thorough and exact, with an average time frame of a month to launch a new flavour. The brilliant irony is that Marco doesn’t have a sweet tooth, and so the cannoli need to be perfect if he is going to be content with the outcome.

Anna

The other charming irony is that Anna – with a wealth of global business and hospitality experience – dislikes typical marketing strategy, and that is most likely why she is so good at it. As her own toughest critic, their visuals exude the ethos perfectly. Business – but make it fun. They thoroughly champion collaboration, and Anna emphasises that they believe in community and elevating other businesses as well as their own. They are also determined to involve customers in their growth, running competitions to design the best new flavour and showcasing videos of customers’ “first bite” in pride of place on their Instagram highlights. 

This ‘little tube’ is creating a bridge across cultures, as a gratuitous homage to Italy’s culinary heritage and Hong Kong’s open-mindedness. Marco dreams of a return to Italy when travel allows, and a pop-up in Sicily to present their hard work to the toughest judges – the locals. There may be wry concern that the small yet mighty team will be met with a reenactment of The Godfather but having had a taste of what Holy Cannoli has to offer, the Sicilians would no doubt, “take the cannoli”.

“No Brasil os restaurantes ficaram soltos à sorte de cada um”

Texto de Miguel Pires

Quando no início de 2020 propus que o título da reportagem sobre o Corrutela na Cook Inc fosse a fala retirada do filme Joker, de Todd Phillips, “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?”, estávamos longe de imaginar que um vírus que afectava severamente uma cidade na China viesse tragicamente contaminar o mundo inteiro. Na época, a escolha, ilustrada por uma imagem em que o Chef César Costa pulava em cima de um carrinho de supermercado com uma expressão demoníaca, serviu para dar maior ênfase ao trabalho que ele vinha fazendo no seu restaurante em prol da sustentabilidade – como um protesto face ao excesso de consumo e ao desperdício alimentar. Porém, quando a revista foi publicada, em Março de 2020, qual profecia de Nostradamus, o título ganharia um outro significado. Nessa altura, um pouco como em todo o planeta, também no Brasil os restaurantes começavam a fechar temporariamente por causa da pandemia. Foram quase cinco meses em que o Corrutela sobreviveu com alguns apoios governamentais e através de um sistema de delivery de seus pratos e produtos dos seus fornecedores.

O restaurante viria a Abrir em Agosto e, uns meses mais tarde, a entrada no 50º lugar na lista Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants viria a dar-lhe um precioso “boost” em termos de afluência de público e de faturação. Porém, já recentemente, no dia 6 de Abril, passado pouco mais de um ano após o início do primeiro confinamento, o Corrutela voltaria a anunciar (no Instagram) novo fecho “por tempo indeterminado”. Ao telefone, César Costa confirmou-nos a notícia dizendo que foi uma decisão racional. “O dono de um restaurante coloca muita emoção, muito da sua vida nele e é difícil vê-lo como um negócio. É unânime, estava perdendo dinheiro, fechado sangra menos”, refere. E desta vez não haverá entrega de comida em casa. “O Corrutela não combina bem com um modelo de delivery. A minha comida não é feita para viajar”, afirma. 

Com 30 anos completados recentemente e a dois meses de ser pai pela primeira vez, César Costa não sabe ainda por quanto tempo permanecerá encerrado, depende de como for evoluir a pandemia, em São Paulo. Porém, não pretende atirar a toalha ao chão, até porque vai manter o ponto (local), onde investiu muito para instalar o restaurante – entre uma composteira no salão, painéis fotovoltaicos e outros apetrechos em busca de reduzir ao máximo a sua pegada ecológica. César Costa diz querer procurar fazer algo nesse hiato e admite ser “um privilegiado” por, embora com muito custo, poder tomar uma decisão destas. Além do mais, chama atenção igualmente para o “prejuízo psicológico” que é estar a operar numa conjuntura extremamente adversa como esta. “Esse fator não é muitas vezes mensurado”, afirma. A concluir, o chef brasileiro diz não querer mais embarcar nessa “roleta russa” de ficar abrindo e fechando de acordo com o agravamento ou levantamento das restrições – o Brasil atravessa o pior período desta crise sanitária, com uma média de casos que chega a ultrapassar as 3000 mortes/dia e com uma polarização extremada em termos políticos, com muitos Estados procurando contrariar o governo Federal anti-lockdown, liderado por Jair Bolsonaro, um polémico ex-militar de extrema direita, que tem tido um comportamento errático e negacionista durante a pandemia. Ainda para mais, no que diz respeito à restauração, desta vez não estão previstos auxílios do governo. “Os restaurantes ficaram soltos à sorte de cada um”, refere por último César Costa.

Words by Olivia Lennox

The second in the online series hosted by Mad about Denmark in collaboration with the Danish Agriculture & Food Council was held on the 30th of March. Andrea Petrini acts once again as moderator and is joined this time by Kamilla Seidler Trebbien and Christian F. Puglisi, as well as repeat panellist René Redzepi.

The opening sentiment from an ever dapper Petrini is that sustainability as a term needs a “beyond”, a consideration as to what it means and how it can evolve. This also comes with addressing the meaning of ‘sustainability’, a polluted terminology at this point given that there are no formal boundaries to uphold a standard within the word.

Kamilla Seidler Trebbien when addressing the quest for sustainability opens with the consideration that “Sustainability means very different things to very different people depending on where you are in the planet. ”This is a chef who has worked previously in a somewhat divergent context as head chef of Gustu in Bolivia, before returning to Copenhagen and opening Lola in 2019. The comparisons she draws are that, even in Denmark which is recognised to be at the forefront of environmental sustainability, there are a lot of social aspects that need to be included if we are to talk about a true sustainability. Trebbien references the programme she now runs through her restaurant called Lola Impact, an initiative to provide employment to those struggling to find work. Her point rings loud with validity, that this should be part of normal practice, not an exception; as industry leaders and as people, social sustainability should be of equal importance.

René Redzepi agrees fully with this sentiment, matching that while Noma has been going for eighteen years, it is only in the last couple that they have been able to achieve something closer to an inclusive sustainability in terms of the social and personal aspects of the business. He reinforces his message from the previous talk of last month, that if food is cheap, someone or something is paying the price. The chef revisits a conversation with Petrini that they had some ten years ago, that when asked about the future of food, his answer was then and continues to be now that food needs to be more expensive – the way we value food is simply too cheap both in practice and attitude. Redzepi claims that if there is a case to be won in fair prices for produce, it needs to appeal through hedonistic means – deliciousness is necessary if sustainability is to convince anyone, and the “to infinity and beyond” power needs to come from the chefs’ culinary talents.

Under the consideration of the sustainable future of fine dining, Redzepi firmly announces his belief that the pandemic is not going to bring around an ecological revolution. He is assured through faith that a change – an improvement – is coming, but not as a response to the pandemic. Some earnest hope come from the chef in the certainty that “once humanity has tried everything else, we’re finally going to do the right thing”.

With a much more stoic attitude, Christian F. Puglisi sees social evolution as a tell that humans continuously make the wrong decisions in terms of environmentalism. He shares that this obsession with technological advancement providing the solution is teeming with useless hope. Addressing the increase in meal delivery services which is made possible through streamlined technological platforms, only emphasises how people need to get into the kitchen and not further detached from it. The chef is a firm advocate for getting close to the source of making as the tool for communication, and this is exactly what he did with the launching of his Farm of Ideas in 2016. The intention in its dawn was to hold responsibility for some expansion of biodiversity, but as noted by the esteemed Puglisi, it’s very hard to translate it into a business:“I can say after 5 years, I looked in, it was really scary,”admitting now through gesture that the weighted door is getting heavier and heavier to keep open, or maybe even to want to. Puglisi found that the solution to finding his own personal sustainability was to close two of his famed Copenhagen restaurants – Relæ and Manfreds –  in 2020, a decision he has recently credited as his biggest achievement.

The panel conclusively delve into the idea that a lot of the issues lie in legislation, and that sometimes the hardest thing about sustainable choices is that they can impose financial costs. Many potential solutions are put down out of fear of something going wrong – a problem which doesn’t allow for the poetic potential of human trial and error. This is the difficulty of operating in a world that shows itself being extremely intricate and extremely political. The three agree that what lies beyond sustainability is responsibility, that as industry leaders and business owners they also have to be, and are expected to be, policy makers. Detachment from food and people will not repair a broken system.


Noma Burger Bar
Credits: Giuseppe Liverino

Words by Olivia Beba Lennox

Photos courtesy of Reboot

The 23rd of February saw the webinar Reboot Copenhagen, the first in a series of events hosted by Mad about Denmark in collaboration with the Danish Agriculture & Food Council. It has become the norm to shine a light on Copenhagen for its cuisine, and rightly so. Not only is it the home of restaurants Noma, Amass, Sanchez and (the no longer with us) Relæ, to list but a few. It is also the capital of a country that collectively purchases the most organic produce globally and has chefs like David Zilber partnering with bioscience company, Chr. Hansen to develop solutions for a climate-friendly food system. Copenhagen glows with an idealistic haze, one which it had certainly earned in the fifteen years it has been progressing to gastronomic superstar status.

Andrea Petrini acts as moderator, and opens by suggesting Copenhagen serves somewhat as a culinary lighthouse, a beacon guiding the lifeboats of the restaurant industry into harbour.

Tivoli Det japanske tårn
Credits: Reboot Copenhagen

Lisa Abend, panellist, affirms this, but remains grounded with the reminder that Denmark was in the mildly privileged position of lockdown having been minimal for the first part of last year, that mortality rates were comparatively low with the rest of Europe and governmental compensations were generous. This nordic stretch were relatively lucky – as much as that can mean in consideration of a global pandemic. She suggests that this has allowed Copenhagen to be in an arguably better position to engage with inspiration.

Amass Fried Chicken Opening Day
Credits: Amass

Second panellist Renee Redzepi, who already holds a reputation for addressing issues in kitchen culture (see his critical 2015 essay), leads the conversation in the undercurrent of problems that the pandemic closures brought to light. Not only were the restrictions introducing constant issues, but they revealed the existing ones in a system that has been working to fit a pre-modern model which is well past its sell-by-date. He affirms that the culture of working gruelling hours cannot be returned to, and the aim for the future of Noma at least will be to be one of the best places to work, not only the best to dine at.

When asked if ratings and guides will always be relevant however, his answer is a quick and clear “Yes. There’s no question.” Perhaps that would be anyone’s answer who’s restaurant has been ranked Best in the World four times in the last decade and has a list of accolades as long as a Noma recipe. This is of course why the esteemed chef more than anyone is equipped to make a sound judgment on the way the system works. But this comes from him with a contingency that the considerations need to reflect the changing times, with sustainability at the forefront of restaurant trends in the coming year – and not as a token buzzword, but an inherent driving force. He states that the fundamentals are “Getting through to people that food is never cheap. That every time we expect food to be cheap, something or someone is paying a price – a person, a worker, a mountain being chipped away at.)”

Popl 
Credits: Giuseppe Liverino

Matt Orlando, the third panellist to join, confirms with certainty that the rating system will always remain relevant. With concise certitude he elaborates that what is of importance is that sustainability remains the focus of the future of rankings and awards, and that they adjust to the way in which restaurants work now and not the other way around – a considerably justified statement. Maestro Petrini probes on the subject of sustainability addressed in the rating system with dry criticism – “A shift beyond the greenwashing?” – an imperative question, the answer to which only time will tell.

Orlando’s project born of last year was Bowline, a collaborative group of hospitality industry professionals leading the way in discussion around all things food. This key project is a self supporting collaboration, an essential movement to re-harmonisation and a return to Copenhagen’s roots and values as he notes that a sour competitiveness that exists in other food cities had been creeping into the scene in recent years. There is undoubtedly no longer the luxury of selfishness in an industry that needs collaboration to survive.

Popl opening
Credits: Giuseppe Liverino

It is said necessity is the mother of innovation, and here the necessity came screaming into the European world in March 2020. Noma was quick to launch Popl, their neighbourhood burger restaurant, and Amass began serving up AFM (Amass Fried Chicken). Other Chefs too have adjusted to the changing climate and transformed completely their valuable identities on which their restaurants survive. And take-away may not be groundbreaking, but the ability to adapt from Michelin starred service so readily can be. This is the democratisation of dining, allowing locals the opportunity to experience the restaurants their city is so well known for. Orlando remembers Redzepi’s words, that as chefs they have a responsibility in uplifting their community and their city. And this community focused shift is exactly why to pay attention.

Denmark may not have seen the worst of the restrictions and have adapted well to the continuous hardships. Yet this means that now they can provide inspiration for when restrictions can finally and permanently ease – the likelihood of a swift return to ‘normal’ being low. The city of Copenhagen is mapping out a model that can translate to a safer and more secure European future food scene.


Words by Olivia Lennox

            L’Observatoire De La Gastronomie (The Gastronomy Observer) has released their first annual report. The report produced by La Liste is based on hundreds of sources from their database, as well as an archive of reports and interviews. It’s aim is to share findings on the effects of the pandemic on the restaurant sector with a global perspective, addressing trends, changes and alterations made by the industry of food and drink.

            Summarised in no uncertain terms is that the hospitality industry is in trouble. Despite the now extensive time spent in this unprecedented situation, the specifics on restaurant closures are still shocking, and even those of prominence have not been spared from becoming collateral. Varying degrees of Governmental support are assessed, the success and sincerity of which are debatable, but it is evident that subsidies are bandaids at best.

            And not only for the extreme financial costs brought by a year of constant adjustments, but trouble exists in terms of stigma towards the food sector. Hygiene standards are called into question, and those in the industry must battle to keep a customer base when there are suggestions that their livelihoods are causing danger to others. Discrimination is not an equal act, as the report discusses the sorry disparity of stigma in English speaking countries towards Asian food businesses more than most.

            Yet here there is hope, the possibility to welcome a more genuine attitude of togetherness that depends on surviving all together as an industry or not at all. Presented with a collection of powerful stories of activism, here is the evidence of true solidarity amongst chefs as campaigns found their way round the globe. From South Africa’s Jobs Save Lives online campaign to the Save Hong Kong F&B alliance, it is shown that a positive voice for the industry is one that deserves to be collectively shouted. Some time away from service has given space to take a critical look at how #MeToo and Black Lives Matter rightly found their way into the kitchen, acknowledging that a change in kitchen culture is forcedly overdue.

            The take away is that the inspirational solutions have come from the ground up, that those who have been hit hardest have been spurred by necessity to become creative with solutions. Adaptability has been key, and with that comes an openness to finding inspiration. There are only so many ways to rearrange tables, to alter service style, to be creative with opening times, and what is evident is that the industry is keeping afloat by remixing and regurgitating inspiration. Pioneers have led the way with innovation and brought others along with them so that the hospitality industry might be in with a chance of surviving if it is done together.

            Poor mental health and exhaustion are of major concerns at this point and it is understandable  given the constant, lethargic nature of the language of the pandemic. Gastronomy’s Observer serves to remind and recognise that this is an industry that has been tirelessly rallying, relentlessly innovating, and in true hunter-gatherer style, continuing to adapt to survive. It can be read in full in English and French here https://www.laliste.com/en/

MILANO, ITALY – August 18, 2015. Contraste restaurant owners portraits. © 2015 Guido De Bortoli

Words by David J Constable

Photos courtesy of Thomas Piras

With the first national lockdown announcement that all restaurants in Italy most close by 6pm, the hospitality industry was dealt a heavy blow. Businesses were forced to adapt. Chefs and restaurants had no choice but to adjust where possible – if possible. The second lockdown has been different, although no less challenging. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is make-or-break for many when you consider that a lot of restaurants are only open for dinner service, while others depend on night-time drinking and the sale of alcohol to cover rent and wages.

With lockdown 2.0 now lifted (once again, for lunch service only), will the industry be in positive, festive mood? A good December can mean everything to restaurants – the Christmas period bringing in enough to cover the difficult months – but things won’t be the same this year.

The COVID pandemic has revealed the fragility of the hospitality industry, from Starbucks to kebab shops, food trucks to Michelin dining. All of a sudden, and without warning, people find themselves homebound and looking for new options for a good night in. For the team at Contraste in Milan – who have only ever been open for dinner service – attention once again turns to an earlier serving, but they also have business ambitions far beyond the dining room.

Thomas Piras, one of the three founding members and management, along with Simon Press and Contraste head chef, Matias Perdomo, calls it “a period of reconstruction and diversification.” He says, “I hope people are learning to adapt and are better prepared now?” The primary concern, however, is the uncertainty surrounding government decisions. Are the government going to say: you can only open on these days or announce another curfew? We don’t know. No one knows. “We must stick to our values; that is what we are all about,” says Piras. “We considered takeout options, but that’s not Contraste. Takeaway is not a substitute for eating at the restaurant. Contraste has always been for the people. If it was a restaurant and an experience developed to make money, then we’d be closed by now – trust me! You do it because you love it, you believe in it.”

MILANO, ITALY – August 18, 2015. Contraste restaurant owners portraits. © 2015 Guido De Bortoli

Piras continues, “Even before this pandemic, we were working on launching new projects. This is not a reset or change of direction, but an opportunity to broaden ourselves and offer something new to the people. We know that our trade isn’t just tourists and office workers, but locals too. We wish to support our neighbourhood by offering them something that is quality and above all, affordable”.

With that in mind, the team have launched EXIT, a kiosk-restaurant serving high-quality food at a lower cost. “Launching EXIT has kept us creative and engaged,” he says. “We wish to elevate mainstream food, but there’s no reason why the cost should rise, too! This is about supporting our staff and presenting new options to the public”.

But EXIT isn’t the only business opportunity, the businessmen have up their sleeve. They have also launched ROC (Rosticceria Origine Contraste), opening December 10th, which Piras tells me “is like opening a second restaurant except there is no in-house dining.” Instead, the online platform will operate as a traditional grocery store, offering customers a collect and delivery service – using organic and sustainable packaging – with a four-course menu priced at an affordable 30 Euros. “It’s a more basic offering than Contraste, family at-home meals, with everything is prepared onsite with a focus on freshness. It winks at the neighbourhood rotisserie, and will be something sincere, generous and extremely casual.” Perdomo and his kitchen team dedicate hundreds of hours to researching, sourcing and applying the finest ingredients, perfecting it on the plate for the customer; and that commitment remains in place here.

MILANO, ITALY – August 18, 2015. Contraste restaurant owners portraits. © 2015 Guido De Bortoli

The takeaway and delivery market continues to grow, in Milan and beyond. The fast-food arm of this industry is congested, even more so since the pandemic with everyone trapped at home, looking at their phones. Big players like UberEats, Deliveroo, Glovo and the supermarket chains have increased their presence in an attempt to consume the market. Now, operating delivery and door-to-door is a requirement.

“That’s what I mean by adapting” says Piras. “For us, ROC have been ideas for a long time, way before COVID. We have long seen the advantages of offering and preparing such a service. It has also meant that we have been able to keep our staff employed, rotating the kitchen team; so they’ll work four days in the Contraste kitchen, one day in the lab kitchen and then have their two days rest. Contraste has 24 staff, with only two from the Lombard capital, so we needed to make sure that everyone was safe and could remain at work”.

And still, there’s more! The trio opened their empanada takeout, Empanadas del Flaco, in central Milan in early-December, offering six flavour varieties of the popular South American street food. “These are great for family meals, office orders or on-to-go snacks. Matias is Uruguayan and Simon is Argentinean, so we wanted to bring boca to Milan. We’re working with Glovo to deliver. We actually modified a semi-industrial ravioli machine and can produce 1,200 empanadas an hour!” he beams. “The design is very much like ravioli, actually, a delicate casing holding a mixture of hot filling within”.

As we prepare for Christmas and a much-welcomed, COVID-free New Year, it’ll be a bumpy ride for many within the hospitality industry. Closures, consolidations and job losses are all a reality. The dining world has, undoubtedly, been radically changed, and yet, there are those who have, must and will adapt: inside-outside dining; no to dinners but yes to long, leisurely lunches; fine-dining replaced by ANY dining – even the sprauncy, la-di-da escargot giving way to, say, something such as empanadas in Milan! For Piras and the team at Contraste, there is no respite, no now what, only “reconstruction” and “diversification”. And what better message is there as we move into another year.

Contraste

Via Giuseppe Meda, 2

20136 Milano (MI)

Tel: 02 4953 6597

www.contrastemilano.it

Exit – Gastronomia Urbana

Piazza Erculea

20122 Milano (MI)

Tel: 02 3599 9080

https://exit-milano.com/

Empanadas del Flaco

via San Maurilio 4

20123 Milano (MI)

Tel: 02 4341 3521

https://www.facebook.com/empanadasdelflacomilano/

English tapas served in a country garden 

Words by Bruce McMichael

Photos courtesy of Kuba Winkowski

Smoke drifts up into a cloud-speckled English sky from the back garden of a typical British house, a sure sign cooking is happening. The garden belongs to Polish-born chef Kuba Winkowski and the smoke could be rising from a smoking shed-full of charcuterie or perhaps from the wood-fired pizza oven in Kubarn, a four cover space and vying to be one of the world’s smallest restaurant.

“I was working just a few feet from my customers” says Kuba, describing a working life before Covid-19 lockdowns. “I would crack open fresh scallops in front of them” he says, adding that he expects more experiential dining to be common post Covid-19. Today, chef Kuba is one of many hospitality professionals trying to predict desires and behaviours of customers who make reservations to eat professionally prepared food outside the home, and not delivered by motorbike in plastic or cardboard boxes.

Kuba Winkowski at Kubarn

Growing up as a self-described ”big lad”, Kuba was often found looking in the fridge for food. But it was here, spending time with his mother in the kitchen, seeing how good food could be created through tasting, adapting, that his interest was born. In the late 1990s and early 2000s a career as a chef was seen as a poor choice for young Poles. Only recently has the country’s cuisine shaken off its “pretty bland” descriptors. Boiled potatoes and meat were the typical meal, there were few spices and traditional ways of cooking Polish ingredients and foods had been forgotten in the cities.

Today, Kuba’s interest lies in processes such as fermentation and smoking and together with Poland’s emerging pride in its cuisine, is being reshaped into another passion: to bring forgotten foods, offal, tripe, heart into dishes that won’t scare off customers. His catering college background and training at Le Manoir has given him a classic French outlook which he combines with a contemporary talent, without using modernist tropes such as foams, gels and emulsions. Classic dishes from central Poland’s Silesian region with ingredients like apples, strawberries, sour creams, duck confit, sourdough soup, and of course central Europe’s staple, sauerkraut and fermented cabbage create his pantry must haves. 

Wagyu beef sukiyaki with Polish beef broth ‘Rosol’, soy egg yolk

From Gdansk to modern English via classic French

Raised in the Polish port of Gdansk where his father worked as a sea captain, Kuba grew to defy expectations of his ambitious parents and a conservative career path. He sought the adrenaline and buzz of service and first found it in Sydney in an Italian kitchen putting him on course for a cheffing life with stages in La Gavroche, Rhodes 24 which saw him cook for Royalty and ambassadors and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons where he thrived under the combination of military-life efficiency and gastronomic creativity of Raymond Blanc.

So, after an unusual original story including winning the “National Chef of the year” title in 2019 and resigning as head chef at a posh gastro-pub, Kuba’s long cherished ambition to open his own restaurant kicked off in late 2019 with Kubarn. The tiny restaurant opened with a menu of classic flavour combinations and Polish-style charcuterie. He created bread sticks with Italian-style spicy n’duja sausage.

Before the Covid-19 lockdown, diners were served small plates using a wood-fired oven and live fire with ingredients sourced from local farmers to create in-house charcuterie, smoked fish, cultured butter, bread, liqueurs and ferments. Kuba is a big fan of specialist meats such as British-reared Wagyu beef and its marbled, melt in the mouth texture and unctuous flavours while his charcuterie skills extend to Paprika Lonza, Beef Bresaola and Yorkshire Mangalitza Culatello.

Kubarn is an intimate, social space and Kuba’s energetic and chatty personality draws in diners and softens the Englishman’s reserve, often seen as stiff and private. The search is not on for larger premises in which Kuba can entertain a bigger crowd but a search for a fusion mix of locally reared Japanese-influenced beef, Polish charcuterie and fermentations and Mediterranean-inspired seafood dishes, with a nod to tapas-sized dishes, overlooking the rolling green hills of the English countryside.

Kuba has found a new restaurant place in the Cotswolds and so will now only be using the Kubarn garden space for development work while taking his gastronomic concept to many more people in the future, post Covid-19 world.

Kubarn

66 Lamberts Field

Bourton-on-the-Water, GL54 2EH

UK

Texto e fotos de Paulo Barata

“Estas imagens da captura de perceves nas ilhas Berlengas em Peniche (cerca de 100 km a norte de Lisboa) foram recolhidas para o livro da Cervejaria Ramiro em Lisboa.

Nas Berlengas não é permitido apanhar perceves nos meses de Janeiro,Fevereiro,Março,Agosto e Setembro. Apenas cerca de 40 pescadores têm licença para apanhar perceves nas Berlengas, 20 kg por dia por cada pescador.

Os perceves podem ser apanhados na maré vazia onde os pescadores descem as falésias através de cordas ou através de barco saltando para a água para chegarem às rochas. Durante a maré cheia os perceves são apanhados por apneia deslocando-se também de barco até ao local.

Os perceves encontram-se em áreas de forte ondulação e normalmente os pescadores trabalham em duplas.

Oa pescadores usam apenas um instrumento para retirar os perceves das rochas, a arrilhada que é um pau com uma espátula metálica na ponta.

A maior parte dos perceves são vendidos em Portugal mas muitos são vendidos em Espanha. Outro dos melhores locais para apanha dos perceves é no sul de Portugal, na Costa Vicentina.

Trata-se de uma profissão bastante arriscada porque os perceves encontram-se em zonas de forte ondulação e águas bastante agitadas, mas bastante rentável, os perceves podem atingir preços na ordem dos 60/70€ o Kg num restaurante português.”

While we haven’t been able to meet during this global Covid-19 health emergency, here at Cook_inc. we’d love to share with you some specially chosen articles published in previous editions of the magazine in Italy. So, we are releasing a series of online mini-editions featuring some of these compelling stories of food, people and places. They reflect our deep-felt passion for seeking out fresh and exciting restaurants and dining experiences and sharing them with our readers through a fusion of wonderful writing and eye-catching photography.

Cook_inc. International Mini-Mag 1 will take you on a gastronomic journey stretching from Italy to Spain, from Berlin to Montréal and onto Taipei.

Cook_inc. International Mini-Mag 2 will take you on a gastronomic journey stretching from Italy to Berlin and onto Montréal. 

With this unique library of virtual magazines, we’d love you to take some time out and enjoy these eclectic culinary stories both in the original language and alongside selected translations into English. We hope to feed your appetite for beautiful food and destinations that may be out of reach at the moment but can still be savoured in your own home as we all look forward to planning dinner reservations and inspiring travel in the near future.

Cook_inc. International Mini-Mag 3 will come out next month… where will you take this time? Stay tuned.

Food Family Meal

Words by Bruce Mc Michael

Photos courtesy of Canlis

Every year two Seattle US-based restaurateurs head to the beach. Brothers Brian and Mark Canlis take six of their section heads, pop some beers and let the ocean breeze blow in new, imaginative ideas for the following 12 months.  “We reinvent the Canlis’ concept every year. We don’t just think outside of the box, we smash it” says Brian. “Canlis doesn’t sell nostalgia, we act and behave like a brand-new restaurant every year,” he says of Seattle’s most formal dining rooms, a 70 years old institution of fine dining. One of the beach party is an art director, employed to create logos, menus and put the company’s vision into graphic form.

Creativity is the lifeblood of Seattle a city where locals pride themselves on independent thinking, innovating and being early adopters of new tech. Canlis is one of the most successful operations to capture the Corona virus zeitgeist, a direct result of that time spent on the beach. “Each year all our directors travel the world to learn from the best. We seek out culinary, design and service inspiration. For example, last year one of us visited Mauro Colgreco’s amazing Mirazur restaurant in Menton, France” says Brian.

When the Corona virus struck “we had to rethink what we as fine dining destination offered and how to flex our creative muscles to meet the challenge” says Brian. These muscles had had many years of training, a feature now led by a director with the envious title of Special Agent. And who wouldn’t that on their business card? Ditching the $135 (Euro 125) tasting menus, Canlis now offers menu options at around $60 with deliveries including Applewood-grilled hangar steak with chimichurri sauce; dry-aged duck cassoulet, and Dungerness crab cakes with a spicy remoulade.

Annie Cheng, founder of Seattle-based bespoke travel company The Table Less Traveled, says: “There was a huge immediate shift, and what we recognised was that sadly, some of our city’s most beloved restaurants were overwhelmingly reliant on tourism”. Focussed on an evening service, “we decided to open up for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” says Brian. “Within 72 hours three new menus were created, priced and ingredients for a morning bagel shed for breakfast, a burger drive-thru for midday crowd lunch and a delivery service to replace the traditional dinner service. Our Art Director designed logos and had staff uniforms delivered before opening. We felt Seattleites needed some good news about their city,” he says. “We employ 115 people and were determined to not to lose one, single staffer”.

Employing Brady Williams, a young 30-something chef who last year racked up another James Beard Award for Canlis. This time it as for Best Chef in the Northwest, having been named Rising Star Chef of the Year 2017 award, while the Canlis brothers have won too many Outstanding Service awards to count. Canlis delivery customers get wine pairings, cocktail kits and CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes of produce and meat from local farms. “One of the biggest successes is our Bingo cards” says Brian. Anybody can play, cards are sent to requests and games live streamed on Friday nights. In keeping with Canlis smart dress code, diners are encouraged to wear tuxedos and sparkly dresses. 

Annie’s pixalated family and friends online socialising listen to Canlis’ live-streamed piano music and admire the creativity and dedication to the city’s community that Canlis has shown. “They are an iconic restaurant, and it’s inspiring (and fun) to see how they’ve adapted during this time to support community” she says.

Canlis’ attitude of rolling innovation allowed the restaurant to retain its staff, build community and create new menus in almost no time is paying off. Looking to the future and leaving nostalgia for others suggest bookings will continue long after social isolation dining becomes social dining once again.

Food before – Chawanmushi