Beautiful People Do Not Just Happen

Do you remember THIS? When I introduced my favorite illustrator whose work I randomly (and luckily) came across at a small bookstore in Osaka station last year? Well, I added him on Facebook, declared my love to him and begged him to meet me in Tokyo the other day. Mitsuie-san is an incredibly humble (as well as talented) artist. He couldn’t believe how much I loved him. We spent the evening discussing his work, life and inspirations. As well as taking an hour train to meet Minako and I, he gifted me a big bunch of postcards featuring all of my favourite pieces of his which I have shared on my blog and social media since I have known him. God willing, we will be collaborating in the near future so watch this space! To check out more of his work, click HERE.image[2]image[1]image[1]image
When this precious little girl and I met two months ago, we both felt an instant connection. Aoi is so sweet it hurts. And though we couldn’t communicate more than a few words, we spent the entire day making origami (paper art) and playing on the hammock together.
Last week, she and her mother visited me in Osaka. I was so blessed to see her radiant face again. It’s true, children are the light of the world!image[5]image[1]image[2]imageimage[3]image[4]
I made a big batch of fresh granola for Minako and I’s Tokyo trip because I didn’t want to be eating out for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. After our one night stay at a hotel which came free with our shinkansen (bullet train) ticket (thanks to Mina’s amazing organisation skills) we took the remainder to her parents’ place – our accommodation for the next two nights and days. Mina’s mom tried (my) muesli for the very first time in her life and happened to love it. So on my last day, this happened: a big bowl of delicious. After, she (Mina’s sweet mother) wouldn’t stop thanking me for it. She said she thinks she is going to lose a lot of weight (hehe).
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Sister visit, final day 9.

As Deli and Andy were departing from Kansai airport, we spent our last day together in Osaka visiting Delaram’s high-school friend and now, my dear dear friend Yuka sensei and her adorable family. We shopped, sight-seed, sight-seed? is that a word? ate Osaka-style okonomiyaki, takoyaki (octopus balls) and kushikatsu (not pictured) and people-watched from the upstairs Starbucks lounge all in Shinsaibashi, Osaka’s main shopping area and thus busiest district.

Say hello to… Alex Wright

Today I had the chance to chat with Alex Wright; senior chef de partie from Cafe Valentino and sample his Fish of the Day special. Oven baked pistachi and feta crumbed Warehou on beetroot gnocchi with grilled tomato, sautéed asparagus and green beans finished with an orange and saffron vinaigrette was incredibly flavoursome, to say the least. Fresh and local ingredients prepared with a middle-eastern twist; this dish was an absolute delight to eat (and to look at)! 

What’s one thing you’re really good at? Kitchen wise or…(raising eyebrows) nah, I actually tend to only see what I’ve done wrong or what I need to improve on. I guess what I’m trying to say is, the moment you accept you’re really good at something you won’t improve at it anymore.  When are you happiest? When experimenting with food! Apart from cooking, what keeps you together? The support of my family, in particular; my beautiful girlfriend (awww!). Who would you love to work with? Hands down, Darren Wright. Not only is he an amazing chef, he’s also an incredibly funny and down-to-earth guy. What makes you laugh? A really good pun! What’s your favourite food at the moment? Green Leaf’s butter chicken (located in Burnside, if you’re wondering). What do you love about what you do? Unlike specific art forms, cooking is so universal. I mean, because everyone needs to eat, cooking becomes a shared experience; it’s relatable to every single human being. To me, being able to connect with others through a somewhat mundane everyday experience is really special. What do you love about working at Cafe Valentino? Apart from the mass knowledge I’m constantly gaining from my colleagues, I love the open plan nature of CV’s kitchen; it makes me feel closer to the diners. There’s honestly no better feeling than having a customer come up to the pass and personally thank me for their meal. What’s your signature dish? Indian and Thai comfort food. What is your best tip for cooking comfort food? Don’t assume just because it’s comfort food and supposedly “easy” that you can half-ass it. Take each step seriously and cook as well as you possibly can. Favourite ingredient? I’m currently coriander mad. Where do you see yourself in five years time? Running my own kitchen. Even if it’s just a small cafe or a food truck.  What inspires you? Discovery. I love to push the boundaries and do something that’s never been done before. I don’t like to stay with the status quo. I’m constantly stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself.