Live in the present moment wisely and earnestly

Curious about Wild Honey – This Breakfast Restaurant and its accompanying tagline: No Place Like Home

lead me to find out more about the restaurant, the one in Singapore Meritus Mandarin Hotel … then got to its starting place in UK London … and further found out it belongs to the Arbutus group wth 2 other restaurans in UK: Arbutus and Les Deux Salons … and I can’t help but wanna know WHO is behind this.

Everything starts with a thought, and act on by a person(s). In nature, it can magically happen on its own. Who knows – Man can still play his/her part on the beautiful making with one’s beautiful thoughts 🙂 ?

Back to the founder, websites states 2: Anthony Demetre and Will Smith (hmmmm is this the US movie star hmmmm?)

I like the look of the restaurants – so woody, darker wood, so firm, down to earth. No wonder comments from visitors that theplace is home-y. In fact one said: The place is busy yet it still feels like home.

It is interesting of how Mr/Chef Anthony Demetre steps into this career direction.

Let me just quote from this interview by “The Telegraph”

Desert island cookbooks: Anthony Demetre
Anthony Demtre, successful London restaurateur, show us his favourite cookbooks

Anthony Demtre with his desert island cookbooks Photo: KATYA DE GRUNWALD
Anthony’s first book: On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee Photo: KATYA DE GRUNWALD
Interview by Carolyn Hart. Photographs by Katya de Grunwald
8:00AM GMT 16 Dec 2010

Anthony Demetre opened his first restaurant, Arbutus, in London in 2006. It was followed a year later by Wild Honey, and this autumn saw the launch of his third, Les Deux Salons, which has swiftly become one of the most favoured places to eat in the capital. His book Today’s Special, a collection of recipes from Arbutus and Wild Honey, was published by Quadrille in 2008

I had no ambition to be a chef. I was training to be a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, then I had a recurrent injury – my kneecap kept dislocating – and I was discharged. I’d signed up for 22 years but lasted only three months.

An old school friend was in the catering industry, and my father was a Cypriot, so cooking had been part of his culture – and mine. I had hugely fond memories of Cypriot Sunday lunches, big family gatherings of 10-12 people. I am the oldest of four, so I was always being pulled into the kitchen to help Grandma. I loved it.

I was distraught when my Navy service came to an end, and just fell into cooking, largely because of those childhood experiences.

I didn’t go to catering college; instead I cooked my way around good restaurants, with chefs such as Marco Pierre White, Gary Rhodes and Bruno Loubet. I found that the camaraderie of the kitchen was similar to that on an aircraft carrier – so after a while I decided that cooking was for me. I eventually wound up with Michael Quinn at Ettington Park Hotel in Stratford upon Avon.

(I like the feel of camaraderie, it makes a place more meaningful, more caring, more family, more energised, more powerful … and once there is a meaningful, purposeful mission, the camaraderie-ship should be be able to get almost anything set forth!

There always a need for a leader, right?)

My first book is On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. It was a present from my father, and for me it marks the transition from the Navy to cooking.

Next would be Larousse Gastronomique. It’s a wonderful book; I use it all the time. I think my particular edition was borrowed from a library and never given back, but it’s a great thing to have on your shelves – inspirational. If I’m ever stuck for ideas, I’ll delve into it.

The Bescherelle Complete Guide to Conjugating 12,000 French Verbs is indispensable. I need it both in the kitchen and at home, though probably more at home – my wife is French and she talks to my two boys only in French, and they really tease me for not being able to speak the language.

My fourth book is Richard Olney’s Simple French Food. Olney is a real unsung hero of food writing. He was ahead of his time, writing about fundamentally great food in a way that makes it instantly accessible to the ordinary reader. Simple French Food is one of those books that is an education to read.

Danny Meyer is a top restaurant operator in New York, and Setting the Table is his book about how to run a hospitality business – and the crucial word here is ‘hospitality’. It’s a concept that’s gradually being lost in London – there are too many despotic chefs operating here at the moment.

I got tired of working for other people in other people’s restaurants, which was why I decided to start my own. Will Smith and I opened Arbutus in Soho in 2006, without much cash. It was very bare and simple, but so successful. It seemed to be something that was lacking in London, a reasonably priced restaurant with very good service and great food, and a unique approach to wine.

Wild Honey in Mayfair came about because the landlord of the building where it’s situated had told me he loved Arbutus, but didn’t want to have to travel to Soho to eat there. While Arbutus is earthy stuff – braised pig’s head and bavette – Wild Honey is more modern English food, such as scallops and rib of beef.

Which brings me to my next book, Cuisine du Terroir, edited by Céline Vence. My wife bought it for me. This is regional French cooking at its best – tête de veau, blanquette of rabbit, falette, veal brisket. It’s absolutely fantastic. Chicken and salsify pie – that sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? It’s a book that inspires me every time I look at it.

I own several of Claudia Roden’s books, especially those on Lebanese cooking, which I use a lot at home, but the one I want with me on the desert island is The Food of Italy because it’s more the kind of thing I do in the restaurants.

The eighth book has, on the face of it, nothing to do with food at all. It’s Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong, but it sums up for me the connection between the kitchen and the Navy – the camaraderie that exists in both disciplines and which Faulks captures so well. I’d have to have it with me because I read it two or three times a year.

If I’ve got knives and pans, my kitchen gadget would be a box of matches.

(I would never thought of a Chef wanna stand by MATCHES. Can’t help it but make me grin. Actually, it is so true.)

Lovely to find a person who loves books. Books, in those pages is where knowledge and perhaps wisdom is stored. Of all the places to seek knowledg, books are actually the simpliest, most direct way to get hold of.


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