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