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July 19, 2014

Dining Al Fresco: Scott Hallsworth

Ahead of His Stint at Wilderness Festival, the Kurobuta Chef on Barbecuing to Stay Cool

I’ll barbecue in any weather; I’ve even done it in the Alps in winter. It’s probably to do with my upbringing because I’m from Western Australia where we had to barbecue a lot. I say ‘had to’ because I grew up in a little town that got stinking hot in summer, and our house had no air con. We only had a really old-fashioned combustion stove, which meant we had to build a fire to cook. If you wanted a hot dinner and the stove was lit, no one could bear to be inside; honestly, the house turned into a sauna. So instead, mum would prep a salad out of something growing in the garden, and we’d sit outside and light the barbecue. It was a bit more caveman than I’d like, but it was a case of do or die.

My Wilderness Festival menu is made up of dishes that started off as ideas and have evolved over time. I thought they’d be good ones to use for the festival because I’ve done food in so many weird locations around the world, and I think it’s a very cool thing to bring Japanese cuisine, or my version of it, to that kind of setting. For Wilderness, it’s really all down to the preparation: we’ll do all the hard work back at the restaurant, like the slow cooking and the marinating, so that when it comes to serving, it’ll just be a matter of doing a couple of bits and pieces, and bang, it’s gone.

The chef's Wilderness menu

Roasted scallops with yuzu truffle egg sauce and yuzu tobiko
BBQ pork belly in steamed buns with spicy peanut soy
Nasu dengaku sticky miso grilled aubergine with candied walnuts
Black pepper soft shell crab tempura
Flamed edamame with sake, lemon, butter and maldon salt
Yellowtail sashimi with kizami wasabi salsa and yuzu soy

Scott Hallsworth will be at the Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire, UK, on Friday August 8.

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Fine de Cognac

Acclaimed Filmmaker Fabienne Berthaud’s Magical Homage Distills the Heritage of Hennessy's Golden Spirit

A sunlit field provides a filmic take on pastoral impressionist painting in director Fabienne Berthaud’s visual collage devoted to the bucolic origins of Hennessy Fine de Cognac. Set in the idyllic countryside of western France, the filmmaker brings what she describes as her own brand of “cinematic magic realism” to this sensual take that mirrors the process behind the making and sipping of the cognac itself, starting with the vineyards and ending in the glass. The result uncovers a completely new way to experience the drink, emphasizing the fruits, flowers and subtle ageing that go into the creation of the iconic elixir. The nature-infused style typifies Berthaud’s lauded approach to filmmaking, which has included the 2010 film Lily Sometimes (Pieds Nus Sur Les Limaces), a Cannes Art Cinema Award-winning feature starring Diane Kruger. “I wanted to make an organic, sensory film that felt close to the elements and what nature represents,” explains Berthaud. “I wanted to convey the delicacy, the details and the subtlety of spring.”

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Shanghai Saloon

A Former US Cop Channels the Prohibition Era at a Cocktail Bar in China

The only elements that distinguish Senator Saloon from a 1920s speakeasy are its Shanghai address and Chinese staff—everything else is a faithful replica, from the thick velvet curtains concealing the interior from inquiring eyes outside, to the dark wooden paneling and red velvet flocked wallpaper and pressed tin roof imported straight from Texas. A collaboration between two Shanghai restaurateurs and American former police officer David Schroeder, Senator has quickly emerged as one of the expat community’s favorite watering holes, despite its being just shy of its first birthday. Schroeder left the force and relocated from Oregon last year to open the bar, and his passion for cocktails is rivaled only by his extensive knowledge on the subject. You can ask him anything about bitters, for instance, which he has laid out on the bar with labels facing the patrons to encourage conversation. Although his former career might seem at odds with his current job, Schroeder believes his law enforcement background provided important preparation. “As a police officer, the most important thing I learned was how to deal with people,” he says. “The ability to communicate across a broad spectrum is a huge element of both jobs.” 

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