Not an early start for this trip, so it was nice to get up and say goodbye to the family in a civilized way. I had to pack a lot of gear, including a dinner jacket and smart white chefs jacket (more about this later) I normally pride myself with packing light, but not this time. As I was to be away for the best part of three weeks I had to pack three large bags. My boss on this trip, Lynsey, had told me that we were making 9 films in total, so to make sure I had at last one shirt per film plus trousers!! That alone nearly filled one bag. Boss, plus Nigel (sound) and Will (camera/researcher) left two days earlier to get GV’s prior to my arrival. Billy my driver picked me up and duly delivered me bang on time to terminal 3 London Heathrow.
The airport was unusually quiet and I was the only one checking in. Anita from Cathay Pacific, checked me in and wished me well. She even changed my seat so I had more room, love her! After a bit of adaptor shopping (you always forget) and some £29 quid later, gulp!! It was time to board the plane.
The staff were charming as ever, the plane clean and comfortable seat, all with no hassle. Lunch was served, and as always I will only eat the food from the country I am visiting. Starter of Chinese salad with Yuzu dressing was okay, the dressing pungent and sweet. The main course of Szechuanese Chicken with Yu Shang chilli sauce was okay also. This was a bit too sweet for me, all in all not too bad. I’m not a big drinker so had a small glass of wine (not Chinese) and chocolaty type pudding.
Okay a little more information on my latest culinary adventure. First stop was Hong Kong for 6 days, then onto Bangkok for 2 days. After that we were to pick up the Eastern & Oriental Express and travel across Thailand. On the train we would cook with the chef, pass over the infamous River Kwan, then onto Penang and finally Singapore for two days cooking. From there, the crew would go home and I was to fly onto Cambodia to see my brother who works there and celebrate my birthday. What a trip, all very exciting stuff. I had filmed in Vietnam a couple of years ago, plus I had been to Hong Kong some 12 years ago with my wife but that was it. I remember my brother saying to me that if I thought Vietnam was great wait ‘til you get to Cambodia. He likened Vietnam to Trumpton, whilst calling Cambodia the Wild West; I was intrigued!!
I would be cooking 6 dishes that were famous to areas we were going to, and try to keep them fairly authentic, whilst making sure we could not only relate to them but also cook them back home, more about this as we go along. My research had uncovered some amazing dishes and facts. Some of it very new to me, it just goes to prove, you never stop learning, I love it.
So for now my belly was full, I was going to relax and try to watch a film. In 8 hours we would be arriving in HK at 06.30, then straight off to the hotel, shower, shave and be ready to film at 12.00. So to all those who say ‘Going away on holiday again Phil?’ its not all jolly you know!!!!