“Spending time in Kyoto with Jane gave me a deeper insight into the Japanese culture. The Japanese emphasis on beautiful presentation and how they represent nature and the seasons have been an almost subconscious influence on me. Because of Jane’s experience and network I had greater access to the culture.”
Executive Chef, Quay Restaurant, Sydney
Early in 2014 I had the great honour of showing good friends – Peter Gilmore (Quay Restaurant’s Executive Chef and all round nice guy) and John Fink (Director of The Fink Group – Quay, Bennelong, Otto are just a few of their restaurant children) around my second home – Kyoto.
I met both Peter and John about 8 years ago during my time as Food Publisher of Murdoch Books and I managed to convince them to allow us to publish their first book Quay. If you haven’t seen it you must! It is absolutely beautiful and, as it would happen, has been a spectacular success. Throughout the process we became great mates.
Recently their second book Organum was published. It is one of the most stunning books I’ve ever seen (not at all biased about either of these titles…) – go check it out immediately, you will see what I mean. I can’t tell you the amount of time, energy and dedication that went into it from all parties involved – what a joy and immense honour to have worked so closely with Peter and the Quay team again – and of course the team is only completed by the likes of uber-talented designer Reuben Crossman and ‘always above and beyond’ Photographer Brett Stevens. Love working with you lot! Gush much Jane…
In our brief breaks for sustenance we often chatted about our mutual interest in Japan (well my obsession with Kyoto mostly!) and her amazing culinary culture. Peter has travelled to Japan on several occasions and he so enjoyed his first Kyoto experience, some years back, that he thought he’d make the most of my being there hosting my Kyoto Cuisine and Culture Tours and flew over for a closer look into the food culture with me by his side. Although John had previously been over for a short tour with me he decided to return again with Pete – assured we would all have a hoot. And did we!
We packed a lot into a few short days – eating the most stunning food of course, investigating local ingredients at food markets, chatting with producers and chefs, admiring the most beautiful ceramics (purchases were made), sitting on temple decks contemplating life and Omotenashi (Japanese hospitality) with a wonderful monk, meeting fascinating locals and keen food farmers and scanning artisan galleries for everything from handmade paper to knives.
We were all pretty happy to spot a Maiko/trainee Geisha and a fully fledged Geisha below in red within minutes of one another.
Our little sojourn wasn’t enough long enough of course but it was just a little taste of what guests experience on my full length ZENBU TOURS. They will just have to come back next winter!
As with all my Zenbu Tours thus far we stayed at the Kyoto Hyatt Regency Hotel and were so very well looked after by General Manager Ken Yokoyama – who has to be THE most wonderful hotel manager in the universe. Thank you team Hyatt! Kyoto and I look forward to sharing more with you next time PG and JF!
Ps – see the strips of paper on the wall above -that’s the menu. Between 6 of us – we ate the wall!
Please go here to read some tour testimonials.
Hopefully I’ll see you in Kyoto one day!