«Limit yourself to speak about the food», snapped a chef, whose name I’d rather refrain from providing, to the journalist Veronica Ocvirk when she was interviewing him. The answer berated her professional respectability. She confided in me, hurt by the disagreement and mostly stunned mostly from the limited level of culture displayed by the aforementioned master of the stoves.
«To me the traditional gastronomic journalism bores me» Vero confessed to me. «I swear I fall asleep just having to think about writing an Ode to Palm Heart. What I enjoy is the social aspect of gastronomy, and my dream, one of them at least, is to between us all think of how we can make high cuisine reach even more people, not less».
Perhaps I shouldn’t have confused a kitchen helper as a chef. Because if the person in question refused to comment on any other melody except that of his pans, I have no doubt that his culinary category is that of a kitchen helper, with all due respect to all kitchen workers. Someone could bring up that I myself once said that a soccer player cannot be asked for a skilled interview, where he should prove his abilities is by skillfully dribbling on the field, with his shoes not with his tongue or pen. But nowadays an elite chef is an artist, and as such, he should respond to the intelligentsia of his art. Continue reading
Here’s a trend projection to what is happening and probably will continue to happen in the upcoming years in sub-sector of tourist accommodation.
1. HOTEL INDUSTRY. While oversupply condemns the Hospitality industry to maintain abnormally low prices in Spain, the development of the hotel sector is at growth level never seen before in Latin America. However, note that some Latin American countries are reaching their growth ceiling, more in the corporative sector that on the business one and more centered around large cities than in untapped tourist destinations. Consistent with our predictions for 2013, Lima and Bogota have been seeing growth in the corporate mid-class segment and the so called “boutique hotel industry.”
Chile is putting a stop (softly) to its economy, while domestic tourism grows with new personal and design hotels. Brazil continues, albeit more politely, its growth to give hospitality to the World Cup and Olympic hype for 2014 and 2016. Among Asian countries we announced last year that Sri Lanka would become a new tiger for tourism. Well, this year the government has announced public and private investments to triple hotel capacity from 2014 to 2016. China continues its growth with the aim to achieve in the next 10 years, 6.3 million beds and a volume of investment close to 100,000 million dollars. As much as they built in the past decade, China’s per capita ratio of hotel rooms (four per 1,000 people) is lower than in the U.S. (20 per 1,000 people). Continue reading
The discussion borders on the absurd. And the news has just been released in social networks after my notice, that the Belgian chef, Fredrick Dhooghe, who runs a restaurant in Flanders, awarded with a Michelin star, has requested his withdrawal from this guide. It’s not the first time that a request of this type has ocurred, nor the first that has come to me from hotel establishments reluctant to my reviews. “Against the vice of asking, is the virtue of not giving” has been my motto for the three long decades that I’ve been publishing my reviews and guides in EL PAIS. “Easy: close the restaurant” has been my answer to today’s tweet.
Dhooghe, owner of restaurant t’Huis van Lede, located in Wannegem-Lede, near Ghent, also requested not to appear in the French guide Gault & Millau, through a registered letter asserting that his decision is final. It’s not clear, however, whether his final decision was to send the letter or the predetermination of interfering in the private affairs of the pneumatic publication, in which case his desideratum would be a clear threat to free enterprise and freedom of expression. Continue reading