Camila Betin

I met Camila Betin at Factory, the new bistro in 798 Gaby Alves, Jennifer Eden, Mu Yu and Camila herself opened a couple of months ago.

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They used to be the executive team behind 盐SALT Contemporary Cuisine, one of my favourite restaurant in the Beijing scene, which last September had no option but shut down after a very painful series of events, including the landlord doubling the rent in agreement with an ex-employee so that they could kick Gaby and her team out, steal their business and go solo.

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Well, I know this is awful. But there is no way they could steal Salt’s loyal clientele. And to prove this… here I am!

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Now Gaby and Jennifer are in L.A. working on a new project and supporting Factory from far away, and Camila, previously 盐SALT Executive Chef, has taken over, and runs from the kitchen to the dining area with a smile and positive energy.

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“It was not easy to find the right location to make our new project happen – she told me – we had to pinpoint the place, design and build the kitchen and, of course, make it work, keeping the quality up but without exceeding the budget”.

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The business focus at the moment is on catering: “It’s so nice to enter people’s homes and kitchens and help them to have a nice party!” she told me with excitement in her eyes. But they also do cooking classes – and I can’t wait to try them out: I’m sure Giorgio would be very happy if he could have a Camila’s style dinner cooked right in our apartment from his lovely wife!

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At the moment, they are open for business creative lunch from Monday to Friday, with a menu that changes weekly.

DSC02913The formula is very easy: you get a starter, a main course and a dessert, they vary daily (and they are all fantastic!)

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I was there for lunch last week, and… I must say I missed this while Salt was gone and Factory not open yet! Everything is done with passion and love: the bistro itself is very cool, whitish and airy, with a big open kitchen cranking out delicious food (and fantastic cheese bread balls!) at a quick pace.

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Camila herself left the kitchen and is now taking care of the customers. “It was difficult for me: I was out of my comfort zone for a while, given I have always been a chef and this is what I can do best. But – she added with a smile – now I’m happy of this new experience, it’s a way to learn new things about running a restaurant”.

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And, rest assured, the food is amazing and perfectly presented – I guess Camila did a good job while training the chefs! The day I was there, I had:

  • ONE: Aubergine tian with crispy bread, baby plum tomatoes and mint;
  • TWO: Grilled duck breast with carrots and ginger puree, black rice, asian greens, passionfruit sauce;
  • THREE: White chocolate cheesecake, strawberry coulis, hazelnut crumbs.

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For not giving up when everything seemed lost (I’m thinking again at the Salt disaster) and for many more reasons you can understand only if you stop by for lunch, I decided to give Camila and her team a Chiara’s Pick, as a way to show my support and my encouragement to do more and better.

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And I’m sure Camila, originally from Brazil, with extensive cooking & life experience in New Zealand, Italy and UK and an infectious smile, won’t disappoint us. Keep it up, Camila, Beijing Foodies United and I can’t wait to eat more!

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Anche quando tutto sembrava perso, e il loro progetto era stato brutalmente rubato, Camila, Gaby e Jennifer si sono rimboccate le maniche e hanno cominciato a pensare al prossimo progetto. Così e’ nato Factory, spazio multifunzione nel cuore del distretto artistico di Pechino. A pranzo offre un creative business lunch fantastico, nei weekend organizza eventi e popolarissimi corsi di cucina, e nel resto del tempo la cucina diventa laboratorio di catering. Camila, executive chef brasiliana con sorriso contagioso e fidanzato italiano, gestisce il tutto: per questo e per molti altri motivi di cui bisogna avere esperienza diretta usando forchetta e coltello (!) ho deciso di incontrarla e di darle il Chiara’s Pick.

 

For the Creative Business Lunch at Factory I was delighted to wear:

Silk dress: Zara

Pearl necklaces: vintage

Green Gem’s Necklace: designed and realized by me and my husband

Shoes: Geox

Nail color: OPI Suzi skis in the Pyrenees

Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Coco’ #16 taffetas rose

 

The pictures at Factory were taken with my white Sony NEX-5T.

For the pictures of the bistro, special thanks to Camila and to Factory.

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