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Social magic at an evening of Culinary Mischief – B Beyond spoke to head chef Gabriele Bertaccini about his creative approach to curating dining experiences

We recently had the pleasure of being invited to an evening of food, fun and frivolity at chef Gabriele Bertaccini‘s roving international pop-up dining experience – the delightfully named CULINARY MISCHiEF. Hosted by the Marriott’s County Hall Hotel in Westminster, London, Gabriele and his team turned the stunning and imposing location into a familiar setting for a remarkable seven course Italian meal. Inventive, gregarious and charming, the head chef managed to conjure an evening in the image of himself – some feat considering that the meal was attended by a group of total strangers. Brought together by a mutual appreciation for good food, however, this evening did not disappoint any of the guests. Indeed, the Spring themed menu was a triumph, balanced beautifully by a wonderful ebb and flow to conversation and accompanied by exceptional individual wine pairings and introductions from Gabriele to each course.

We caught up with head chef Gabriele to discuss his approach to creating a cultural dining experience, rather than just another pop-up restaurant:

To book your place at London's next Culinary Mischief event, click here to make a ticket inquiry

Gabriele – first of all, congratulations for organising such a spectacular event (CULINARY MISCHiEF: Primavera) in London this April! I understand that this was only the second time you had organised an evening of ‘CULINARY MISCHiEF’ here in the UK – what took you so long?!

Gabriele: Well, thank you guys! The pleasure was truly all mine as the evening is only as good as our guests, so YOU really ended up making the evening, not me.

To go back to your question, CULINARY MISCHiEF has been the premier roving underground dining event in the United States for the last five years now and we were ready to expand oversea. London especially has been going through a change when it comes to food and beverage offerings including a more underground food scene -which is the category into which CULINARY MISCHiEF falls. People are hungry for more experiences where food and wine is, yes the center of the attention, BUT it is also – and most importantly – a tool for new and old friends to connect, to create memories together, to go back to a simpler and more experiential life. London has been amazing and the welcome we received is exciting and inspirational.

All the guests were raving about your menu that night – six courses including a superlative pea soufflé, specially made hand-rolled gnocchi that looked and tasted out of this world and an incredible meaty main course of veal. All were cooked to absolute perfection. Perhaps you could talk us through your process for deciding upon your menu for each event?

Thank you for your kind words. The menu was indeed a good one and like everything else in life it becomes even better when you know you will not be able to enjoy again and anywhere. That is also why all our menus are a one-time-only culinary creations. We never repeat a dish once. Never a menu one. Each experience is truly unique to its location, inspiration, time of the year and overall theme.

How do you replicate this concept all over the world to such a high standard when using a different team each time?

I take a lot of joy and pride in teaching and sharing my culinary and entertaining skills with the different people I have the pleasure to work with. For me, it is all about passion. You can teach skills, you can’t teach passion. I can sit with you and walk you through a recipe, but the love you put in it IS in fact perceived by your guests – and that I cannot control. It takes a lot of preparation, and it is important for me to make them (my team) understand that the success of the evening is mostly due to them.

At the Primavera meal, the wine was selected by the head of F&B at the Westminster Marriott Hotel, your location partner for the evening. How involved are you with choosing the wine pairings for the meal?

Very involved indeed! We usually select the wines after I craft the menus and we go through a tasting to make sure that the ones we selected are going to work and if not, what we can change. The relationship food and wine have together is comparable to being married. It is important that both elements are in harmony and that they know when to balance each other. The sum is greater than its parts.

To book your place at London's next Culinary Mischief event, click here to make a ticket inquiry

Do you have any go-to sources for your ingredients? Or does this change depending on location, time of year, the type of menu etc?

It absolutely changes as the location and availability of ingredients change as well. One thing is always the same though: we outsource and look for only the BEST ingredients available, when possible locally sourced so that there is a story behind it. It is important for each ingredient to have its own reason to exist.

When did you first learn to cook, where did you train as a chef and are the two events directly linked?

I have always been fascinated by food and what food represents for me, for my family and for our society. The power that food and wine have in creating memories is quite inspirational to me. Of course, my nationality has a lot to do with it. We (Italians) define ourselves based on what we eat and what we cook. The dinner table is the place where everything happens, where our dreams are discussed, where our life happens. It is a metaphor for something much more important like relationships and personal growth. This understanding led me to enrolled into culinary school at the age of 13. For five years I studied the basics of Italian cooking and the art of hospitality. It is important to note that nobody trains as a Chef. Although the word is nowadays is loosely used we all start as cooks. A chef is and has been a cook. A cook may become a Chef if enough leadership skills, passion and understanding of the industry is present.

Tell us about your inspiration for starting CULINARY MISCHiEF. There are obviously a lot of people organising similar pop-up dining events at the moment; was CULINARY MISCHiEF a way of capitalising on that trend or designed to be something a bit different?

CULINARY MISCHiEF was one of the first pop-ups in the U.S.A. When I started, there weren’t many chefs doing what I did and, I do have to say, there still aren’t. For me it was important to create an experience that was so unique that it couldn’t be replicated, and that came with the understanding that location, theme, wine pairings, music, set up of the dining room and invitations [the guests] were as important as the food we were presenting our clients. Many of our guests have never experienced anything like it before. It is very decadent yet comfortable, not stuffy and fairly informal. My ultimate goal was to create an event that replicated the same feeling of me inviting friends and family over for dinner. Some of the best dinners are created spontaneously and although these events are very well planned, once the dining room is open and the candles are lit the atmosphere is friendly, engaging and you do not want to leave the table…sometimes for hours and hours!

We love the name CULINARY MISCHiEF – it captures the sense of theatre in what you do. The events are about more than just food, they are about social interactions with like-minded people, and, primarily, an evening of entertainment. Do you think that, with a growing number of themed restaurants and pop-ups appearing (particularly in London!) that people have come to expect this level of entertainment in addition to a purely gastronomic experience when eating out?

Everything I have done and I do is about much more than food. It is experience-driven. And so is CULINARY MISCHiEF, which marries the art of entertaining with the one of cooking, and guests have come to expect that from their ‘nights-out’. They want to be entertained, they want to be surprised, and they want to feel special. It is the host’s job (whether is the Chef or not) to do so, to make their experience unique.

How do you pick the themes and menus for each CULINARY MISCHiEF event?

The inspiration comes from many different elements but location has to be #1 on my list. The place where the event is held often dictates the type of menu, set up and overall feel the dining experience is going to have. Seasonality is my second most important inspiration as food has to adapt to its surroundings.

Your company, Il Tocco Food, offers what appears to be a combination of catering and event management services. Do you specialise in catering for private dinners, then, or do you ever do events on a larger scale for private clients?

iL TOCCO FOOD was born with the idea of replicate the same feel of a CULINARY MISCHiEF in the comfort of our client’s residences and other locations. My team and I specialize in creating private dining experiences that focus on relationship building rather than just plain catering services. We meet with our clients and over a glass of wine understand their needs, what they are looking for, what they occasion is and how we can assist. We craft personalized menus that are unique to our guests’ tastes and expectations, paired the wines and take care of the overall theme when needed or asked, and then we execute the whole dining experience start to finish for them and their guests on site. No food is prepared ahead of time and we have to accommodate to the logistic of the location. We do events from 2 to 500 people, but because we are very detailed oriented each event takes a much longer time to organize and execute thus we can only accommodate a small number of private dining events each month. I am very proud to say that nobody does what we do and that private dining events like those ones often lead to become friends with our clients for life.

To book your place at London's next Culinary Mischief event, click here to make a ticket inquiry

Understandably you have a penchant for exciting, creative Italian food but have you ever considered offering different culture’s cuisines or mixing up your approach with different national cooking techniques or styles?

I have not and I know I will never do that. I believe it is important for a Chef to have an emotional connection to the food he/she cooks so that there is a story behind it. It is all about sharing with the guests your journey (professional and private alike as they often cross paths) and make them part of it.

What has been your most memorable event so far?

Each event is memorable in its own. Every event unique to its location, guests, foods and wines. Each dinner a one-in-a-lifetime-experience. I carry with me many memories from each event we have shared with our guests and clients and that is the most precious part of what I do.

You have already grown CULINARY MISCHiEF internationally to Phoenix, LA, NY in America, Florence in Italy and London in the UK. Any plans to expand further? Either way, what lies in store for you and Il Tocco – what can we expect to see next from you?

As a Chef I am always on the hunt for new and exciting ways of sharing my passion and love for food and wine with the greatest number of guests possible. Of course, iL TOCCO FOOD & CULINARY MISCHiEF will keep going and going strong in the USA, UK and ITALY. I am however, working on creating a different and more permanent experience both in the USA and UK. You may want to get your calendar open, as it will be my pleasure to soon host you at our first brick and mortar concept….!

To book your place at London's next Culinary Mischief event, click here to make a ticket inquiry

Thanks Gabe – we’re looking forward to it already!

You can book yourself in for Gabe’s next evening of CULINARY MiSCHIEF in London on June 1st and 2nd by emailing Gemma Waters for ticket inquiries

The Primavera dinner menu included:

Light pea souffle with carrot juice vinaigrette and salsa verde;

Silky asparagus soup with quail egg yoke and parsley infused croutons;

Cloud-like squash gnocchi dressed with brown Italian butter and Treviso Radicchio;

Grilled veal chops marinated in fresh thyme and served with a ‘Sicilian caponatina’;

Sharp tasting palate cleanser with notes of Campari and Lemon

…and a Lavender cannolo with lemon thyme sauce.

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Capital in the Twenty-First Century book review

capitalThomas Piketty is a French economist and adviser to the Socialist Party, but he achieved rock-star status on the American chat shows, discussing his recent book Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

It is yet another of those anti-capitalist books that will make their author a millionaire – like Naomi Klein’s No Logo and Ja-Hoon Chang’s 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. Except that this one does not just take its title from Karl Marx’s Capital. It shares much of the same attitude to capital, and in similar vein advocates an 80% global tax on accumulated wealth.

Like all such bestsellers, the book claims to have discovered a simple fact. It is the historical fact that the rich really do keep getting richer, at the expense of the poor, and that is just going to continue, unless something is done.

On the basis of a lot of historical analysis and plenty of anecdote, Piketty has concluded that the rate of return on capital is always greater than the overall rate of economic growth. Or to put it in a scientific-looking way, as he does, (r > g). In other words, capital owners will keep on earning more than the rest of us, and will get increasingly richer than the rest. That, he figures, will be very bad for invention and progress, and will undermine our whole economic system.

In case you are going to ask where one might find this aristocratic rentier class of wealth-hoggers, Piketty says that the only thing that knocks them back is the occasional war. But then the cycle starts over and the rich start getting richer than the rest of us once again, until the next war intervenes.

But there is a very much easier way to explain why Piketty’s theory does not actually fit the facts. The real scourge of capital owners is not just war, but everyday market forces and competition.

The suggestion that capital owners simply get richer and richer without trying is plainly false. It suggests that capital is like a tree that regularly drops fruit into its owner’s lap. But even a tree has to be pruned and watered. Capital is something you have to create, and have to grow, apply, service, manage, maintain and protect before it produces anything at all. Capital owners can fail at any one of those stages, and inevitably, they eventually do. It is hard to create capital and wealth, and all too easy to lose it.

Nor does it even make sense to talk about ‘the’ rate of return on capital. Utility investments, or for that matter Treasury Bills and Gilts, may produce pretty certain returns, but those returns are low. By contrast, anyone risking their own money in a venture that has a considerable chance of failing will want the prospect of a very high return if it does happen to work.

The idea of risk, and that capital can be lost to risk, is hardly mentioned in Piketty’s book at all. Perhaps he has spent too long in cushy, subsidized Paris. But even a small risk undermines his thesis that the returns on capital will keep on rising faster that overall growth from now until some military misfortune overtakes it. After all, it is difficult enough to predict what an investment’s returns will be even in a year or two, not just for a century or a millennium.

If returns were certain, the Canarsie people who in 1626 traded Manhattan Island to the Dutch for $24-worth of beads would now be able to buy it back twice over, skyscrapers and all, and get $1bn in change. But returns are never certain. Not just war, but crime, folly, misfortune, greed or simple miscalculation destroys capital.

Things look quite different when you add risk into Piketty’s equation. Far from capital being a gravy-train, the risk-adjusted return on capital is actually modest – and falling, as it has been for decades. Returns in any sector naturally fall as the best returns have already been picked off.

In any case, capitalists and workers are not two distinct classes of people. Workers invest in pension and savings plans, giving them capital holdings of their own.

Nor is life just about physical or financial capital. Perhaps the most important kind of capital in our service economy is actually human capital. There is nothing exclusive about that, it is a form of capital that we all have. And we invest in it – going to college, learning skills, moving jobs. These are investments that have a massive payback – and it is everyone, not just a few wealthy people, who benefit from that.

It is not just wealth that makes people wealthy. Hard work, application and brains are even more effective. Witness the many waves of European immigrants to America, who improved their own lives and made their own fortunes without having any capital to start with.

Piketty sees only inequality, because he looks only at the pattern of raw income. That ignores the fact that we pay taxes on that income in order to support health, education and welfare programmes, plus much else that benefits the poorest. Post-tax, wealthy capitalist countries are the most equal – and it is better to be poor in a country like that than in a poor non-capitalist country.

But huge redistribution is a good way to make a country poor. Penalise capital owners and there is no reason for anyone to create or nurture capital. Countries that follow Piketty’s prescription have less investment, fewer savers to fund projects, and a politics based on envy rather than growth. Big capital taxes give you Cyprus-style instability, French-style capital flight, or Zaire-style ruin. The result is lower growth, from which the poor suffer most. And does anyone really expect any government to administer an 80% wealth tax without corruption?

Reviewed by Eamonn Butler

Dr Eamonn Butler is Director of the Adam Smith Institute. His new book is The Economics Of Success: 12 Things Politicians Don’t Want You to Know (Gibson Square £12.99, e-book £8.99).

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The Shafik Gabr Foundation launches the Gabr Fellowship

 

Gabr

The Shafik Gabr Foundation and Humanity in Action launches the Gabr Fellowship.

The Fellowship is an innovative international educational exchange created to foster greater understanding and cooperation among emerging leaders in Egypt and the United States. It will take place from June 2-16 in Egypt and from October 19 – November 2 in the United States.

 

The Fellowship was established on the initiative of Shafik Gabr and is generously sponsored by the Shafik Gabr Foundation. It will be organized by Humanity in Action.

 

The Gabr Fellowship will bring together a diverse group of 20 promising young professionals from across Egypt and the United States – 10 Egyptians and 10 Americans. Together, they will travel to both the United States and Egypt to develop a better and in depth understanding of each other’s societies, customs, traditions, religions, politics, law, art, science and both social and business environments. Moreover, they will meet with renowned public figures to explore challenges faced by their societies and the global community today. The range of topics will be broad to reflect complicated and interconnected issues: fine arts and literature, religion, history, commerce and trade, international affairs, development, poverty and income distribution, mass communications, media and technology, environmental protection, political and legal systems, science and public health.

 

Designed as high-level introductions to complex topics, these sessions will be intellectually rigorous and will form the basis for further inquiry. The Gabr Fellows will be required to develop collaborative action projects to address one or more of the issues discussed relating to art, science, media, law or entrepreneurship. By implementing these projects, the Fellows will bring their experience during the program to impacttheir peers and societies with the objective of sustainable bridge building.

 

Through collective learning, the Gabr Fellows will acquire a greater understanding of both Egypt and the United

States and the mutual challenges the countries face. The fellows will be interpreters for one another as they confront issues common to their Egyptian and American societies. The Fellowship is designed not only to introduce these emerging leaders to shared challenges, but also to create a network of Egyptians and Americans who can candidly and constructively address national and international issues in the future. Their ongoing collaborations will be the Gabr Fellowship’s legacy.

 

The first year of the Gabr Fellowship, “East-West: The Art of Dialogue” will establish a foundation for future transnational cooperation and exchange. The Shafik Gabr Foundation intends to continue to broaden the initiative’s scope and impact by multiplying both its programs and participating countries. Additional financial support from Eastern and Western corporations and philanthropists will continue this initiative.

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B BEYOND Magazine showcases emerging artists at Art 13

B BEYOND Magazine, together with sister publication FAULT Magazine and the Linveco Cultural Foundation, is proud to be an official media partner (stand M14) at international art fair, Art 13. Held in the beautiful great hall of Kensington Olympia in Central London, the event gathers some of the best and most prestigious artists and galleries from around the world for 4 days from 28th Feb to 3rd March 2013.

The Great Hall at Kensington Olympia will be a little less empty over the coming weekend…

You can get tickets for every day of Art 13 here

We are delighted to have teamed up withThe Art Collector at this year’s fair. TAC is an online arts platform that delivers top quality news, reviews and interviews with art lovers right at the apex of the industry, syndicated from B BEYOND Magazine – from Pearl Lam to Sydey Picasso and from David Khalili to David Rockefeller.

Michael Taylor “Wave 39”

TAC also represents artists directly to high profile collectors, featured in B BEYOND magazine. At Art 13 this year, B Beyond, FAULT and TAC are delighted to be showcasing the works of Christy Lee Rogers, Justin Forbes, Michael Taylor, Anthony Russell and Evalina Romano. Come visit us at the fair – stand M14 – and sign our guestbook for a chance to win a FREE 1 YEAR PRINT SUBSCRIPTION to B BEYOND!

Anthony Russell "The Snarler"
Anthony Russell “The Snarler”
Justin Forbes cover B Beyond
Justin Forbes cover B Beyond

 

 

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Amazing collection of turn of the century African photographs for sale

Cottars

For more information, see http://www.theartcollector.org/linveco-cultural-foundation/the-cottars-dynasty/

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The B Beyond magazine travel and conservation issue is out!

With a fabulous cover by Wales Madden III, the B Beyond travel and conservation issue is not out and available both as a collectible edition and as a digital download via zinio.

The edition contains long and beautifully illustrated interviews with adventurer-turned-conservationst Mark Shand, H.M. the Queen mother of Bhutan, travel philanthropist Linda Cruse, Cheviot Asset Management CEO Michael Kerr-Dineen and others.

Our analysis of the differences between UHNWIs and the mere HNWIs is insightful and quirky – like the magazine itself.

Philip Volkers’ Burning Man Festival photography is breathtaking.

Our main art feature has fabulous images from the current Deste Foundation exhibitions.

All in all, a truly collectible edition, even if we say so ourselves.

And finally, we are running an auction of one of Anthony Russell’s amazing art works in aid of Animal Rescue International (picture of art work on page 10 of the magazine). Bid generously to support endangered species and creative individuals through the Linveco Cultural Foundation.

Bids through LCF’s home page.

 

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PEARL LAM GALLERIES PRESENTS ARTIST TSANG KIN-WAH

Every Word Is A Prejudice by Tsang Kin-Wah

Tsang Kin-Wah

PEARL LAM GALLERIES PRESENTS

THE SOLO SITE-SPECIFIC PROJECT BY HONG KONG

ARTIST TSANG KIN-WAH

ECCE HOMO TRILOGY I

Curated by David Ho Yeung Chan

Exhibition Dates

27thJuly-27th August, 2012

Monday-Saturday, 10am-7pm

Press Preview: Thursday, 26th July, 3-5pm

Pearl Lam Galleries, 601-605, 6/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong

 

HONG KONG – Pearl Lam Galleries announced today the second exhibition to be presented at its new Hong Kong gallery – a solo site-specific project, Ecce Homo Trilogy I, by Hong Kong artist Tsang Kin-Wah, opening Friday, 27th July with a reception the evening prior.

 

Featuring a body of new artworks by the artist, Ecce Homo Trilogy I includes a large-scale text based installation, a series of video projections, and text paintings on aluminum plates. Centering on footage taken from the 1989 televised trial and subsequent public execution of Nicolae Ceausescu, the former Romanian leader of the communist regime, this in-situ project explores the subject of judgment and in particular, our moral complexity in response to formulating a judgment and the extent to which that compromises our dignity as a human being. Tsang Kin-Wah forces the visitor to engage in the work, involving them consciously as an observer, and encouraging them to consider how one human would go about making a judgment of another.

 

Tsang Kin-Wah said, “Ecce Homo”—Latin for ‘behold the man’ — is the phrase used by Pontius Pilate when presenting Jesus to the public before his crucifixion, which also became the title of a book written by Nietzsche. By referencing the last judgment of Jesus and Nietzsche’s philosophy, Ecce Homo Trilogy I, a series of multi-channel video installations, tries to question the impartiality of a judgment plus its existence, and reveal the powerlessness of the one being judged at a particular period of time and environment. At the same time, it attempts to depict the emotions of the one being judged, as well as the dense and tense atmosphere throughout the whole process.

 

The documenting and broadcasting of the judgment and execution of so-called dictators through the media and sharing platforms allows people in different parts of the world to unintentionally become witnesses and participants of the judgment, just like those in the crowd who were told by Pilate to “Behold the Man” (“Ecce Homo”).

 

David Chan, curator of Ecce Homo Trilogy I said, “Tsang Kin-Wah has taken a long term interest in the study of Nietzsche and religion. His works typically deconstruct dominant Western ideologies.

 

By inviting the audience to witness a traumatic situation, Tsang intends to reverse ‘behold the man’ to ‘behold the audience’: for the gaze to be on the viewers instead and to ask them how they go about making a value judgment and its moral consequences. In many ways, experiencing Tsang Kin-Wah’s project is like looking at a classical religious painting, but instead of contemplating the many nuances of a static scene, the artist consummates the viewing experience with different media.

 

The combination of large-scale in situ wall text, paintings and video projections asks us to become more conscious of our own movements in the gallery space, thereby becoming self-reflexive in how we judge something by looking. The text-based paintings on aluminum panels throughout the gallery are intended to create illusionary openings inside the space making the gallery look like a jail where we are locked in, only to contemplate our own

thoughts.”.

 

Pearl Lam, founder of Pearl Lam Galleries said, “Coming from Hong Kong, I am proud to be

showing leading Hong Kong artist Tsang Kin-Wah. This is the first time the gallery will exhibit

a Hong Kong artist. Hong Kong is being transformed into a major contemporary art centre,

attracting both an international and local audience. Tsang Kin-Wah will be creating a new

especially commissioned project for our space, which has universal relevance and, I believe, will have a deep impact on all visitors to the exhibition.”

 

About Tsang Kin-Wah

Tsang Kin-Wah was born in Shantou, China in 1976, and now lives and works in Hong Kong. He graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Camberwell College of Arts, the London Institute.

Tsang’s solo exhibitions include MAM Project 015: Tsang Kin-Wah, at Mori Art Museum (2011) and Tsang Kin-Wah, at Yvon Lambert Gallery in Paris (2008) and New York (2007). He has also exhibited widely in group exhibitions such as the Asian Art Biennial, Taichung (2011), Architecture of Fear at Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Hasselt, Belgium (2011), Aichi Triennale, Nagoya (2010), 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010), 10th Biennale de Lyon (2009), as well as in leading museums in Helsinki, Madrid, Moscow, the Netherlands, Seoul, Shanghai and Oslo.

Tsang has also received numerous awards including the Tokyo Type Directors Club Prize 2007, Sovereign Asian Art Prize 2005 and the Prize of Excellence at the Hong Kong Art Biennial 2001.

His works are found in major collections worldwide, including the DSL Collection, Deutsch Bank Collection (Hong Kong), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Museum of Design Zurich (Switzerland),

Hong Kong Museum of Art, Camberwell College of Arts (London), Sovereign Art Foundation and the Thomas Shao Collection.

 

Pearl Lam Galleries, 601-605, 6/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong, tel (852) 2522 1428, fax (852) 2840 1088

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The Economic Crisis in Art

Sam Durant, Aim Takeover of Bia HQ, Wash. DC, 2004

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