Rob Cunninghan

A GLOBETROTTER WITH A PASSION FOR FOOD. 对食物充满热情的世界公民.

Rob Cunningham is a celebrity chef – but he hates this label. And yet he and the restaurants he runs keep winning awards, his dishes are often featured on different lifestyle publications and he is always part of the most exciting events happening in Beijing.

Rob Cunningham是一位名厨 – 尽管他不喜欢这个称号。但他和他经营的餐厅不断获奖,他的菜品不停出现在不同的生活方式杂志上,他还总是北京最酷的活动里的一部分。

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He is in so many ways different from what you would expect from such a well-know personality – he is humble, straight to the point, fun and open-minded. We met for a chat and, while sipping some very-bubbly San Pellegrino, we discussed about Beijing, food, passion and future plans.

尽管他已经如此有名,然而他跟你印象中的名人却完全不同 – 他谦逊,直接,风趣,且开明。品着圣培露气泡水,我们在一起畅谈了北京,食物,热情和对未来的计划。

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What’s your relationship with Beijing?

When I first came to China from Japan to work for Capital M, my first impression was that Beijing was a little more chaotic, a little more raw and a little more exciting than every other city I knew. From the very beginning I thought this was a good thing, and it’s getting a lot easier and even more fun for me day after day. Beijing is extremely interesting, especially for people who are a little more ballsy, people that live on the edge and don’t care too much about breaking/changing their habits. It’s in how you adapt, you have to be open-minded when you live in different countries. The first two years in Beijing saw the biggest learning curve one can possibly have in their life. But it was well-worth it and now I love it.

你和北京是一种怎样的关系?

当我第一次从日本来到中国时,是为了Capital M的工作。我对北京的第一印象是有点嘈杂,有点粗犷,又比任何一个我知道的城市都要更令人兴奋。这在开始来说是件好事,随着时间的飞逝,在北京的生活变得越来越容易,且有趣多了。北京是个特别有意思的地方,尤其是对于那些充满勇气,热爱冒险和挑战,且不太循规蹈矩的人来说。这取决于你如何去适应,如何在一个陌生的国度里有一颗包容开放的心。在北京的前两年见证了大概我一生中跨度最大的学习曲线。但这一切都是值得的,我爱极了这段经历。

Seafood Starters

Where are you from?

I’m from Australia, I grew up in county Victoria, in a little town called Miliwa, which now has about one hundred people, but which was about fifty when I was a kid. My first contact with food and cooking was encouraged by many of our neighbours, who were Italians. They would teach me to cook pasta and make risotto. Nobody in my family is in hospitality and they actually thought my interest in home-made jam, pickles and baking products was very peculiar. But they gave me freedom to pursue whatever career I wanted, and I will be grateful for this open-mindness forever. 

你是哪里人?

我来自澳大利亚的维多利亚省,一个叫做Miliwa的小村庄,现在大概有一百位居民,我是个孩子的时候大概只有五十位。我跟食物和烹饪的第一次接触来自于邻居的鼓励,他们是意大利人。他们教我如何做意面和意大利烩饭。我家里没有人在餐饮界工作,他们觉得我对手工制作的果酱,泡菜和烘焙食品的兴趣很是与众不同。但他们给了我充分的自由去追求我想做的事业,我对他们的开明充满感激。

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What’s your cooking style

Well, traditionally it’s Italian, and you can see bits of it here and there in the menu – whether it’s a risotto or a pasta, the way I do salads or I cook fish. During my time in London I worked in French restaurants so you can probably see that influence as well. Nowadays, it’s a bit of everything, with a focus on what is in season, and the availability of products, trying to go as local as possible. But being in China changed my cooking style – now I don’t look at salt as a basic ingredient anymore, I’d rather add saltiness to a dish using pickles or spices. And there is still so much to explore!

你的烹饪风格是怎样的?

呃,传统意义上说是意大利式,你能从菜单里不同的地方看到 – 不管是意式烩饭还是意面,或者从我做沙拉或者做鱼的方式里看出。我在伦敦时在一家法国餐厅工作,所以你大概也能看到法式的影响。目前来说,大概各种风格都有一点吧,主要还是要看应季的菜品,及我们能找到的最好的配料,我们尽可能的做到本土化。中国的北京改变了我的烹饪方式 – 现在我不觉得盐是最基本的调味品,我更偏向于用腌菜或者香料来调节菜的咸度。可以发掘的东西真的太多了!

Pan Fried Baby Chicken H

Who do you admire in the business?

I admire different people for different reasons. Nowadays it’s not really something I focus on role-models as much as when I used to when I was younger. In Melbourne I had the opportunity to work with well-known chefs and I tried to learn as much as possible from them, but my main focus currently is getting better at hotel managing. But I do think certain chefs are leading the way with conscious eating and better ethical animal treatment and I deeply admire them – this thinking is definitely the future, because the way we eat and consume today is not sustainable. In 50 years or so people will look back as think, “What the hell were they doing during this period?”. I think a conscious decision will change the way we eat, and we need someone to show how to make it happen.

在这个行业里你崇拜什么?

我因为不同的理由崇拜不同的人。我现在关注的方面跟我年轻时大相径庭。在墨尔本时我有个跟名厨共事的机会,那时我只想尽可能在他们身上多学东西,但是现在我关注的重点是学习酒店管理的不同方面。有时,我认为有些厨师在有意识的饮食及对待动物方面起到了带头的作用,我对他们充满敬意 – 这种意识代表了未来,因为我们现在饮食和消费的方式并不是可持续性的。五十年后,人们回过头来看,也许会想,“他们那时都做了什么呀?” 我认为这种可持续性的意识会改变我们的饮食方式,我们需要有人来使之实现。

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What is different about working for a hotel restaurant rather than a free-standing one?

I’ve been working at East Hotel [www.east-beijing.com] for four years now, and it’s the first hotel I’ve worked at. To be the chef of a hotel is completely different, because we have five outlets, and I am in charge of all of them. You have to think of it as running 5 different restaurants. Instead of it being a normal free-standing restaurant, you have to be in the kitchen working very closely with your team, and you have to put a lot of trust into your senior management. In terms of customers, we have a lot of regular travellers at the hotel, because again, Beijing is more and more a business destination, and business people keep coming back again and again. Moreover, I’m deeply involved in marketing and PR activities. This’s an important part of our growth as a hotel. As a ‘contemporary’ chef, the social commitment aspect is also a big part of my job. If on weekends I can just spend my time with my family and just relax, during the week I’m always with people, building my network and promoting the work I’m doing.

在酒店的餐厅工作和在独立的餐厅工作有什么不同吗?

我在东隅酒店[www.east-beijing.com]已经工作了四年了,这也是我工作的第一家酒店。作为酒店的厨师是完全不同的,因为我们有5家餐厅,我全权负责。想象一下同时经营5家餐厅的感觉。这不跟在一家独立的餐厅一样,我必须在厨房里和我的团队紧密合作,同时我还要非常信任我的高级管理团队。在顾客方面,我们有很多酒店的常住旅客,因为你知道,北京越来越成为一个商务中心,很多商务人士会经常往返北京。同时,我也参与很多市场和PR的活动。这对我们餐厅的成长来说是重要的一部分。作为一名“当代”的厨师,社交也是工作的一部分。周末我和家人一起放松度过,工作日时我总是和不同的人打交道,建立我的社交网络,并推广我的工作。

Feast_Table

If you could cook for anyone who would it be?

If my dad hadn’t died three years ago, I would definitely like to cook for him here in Beijing. I would get my team members to do some Chinese food for him, because he was curious about other culture’s food and never made it here. One of the reasons why I travel internationally is because when I was a kid my dad always wanted to go and live somewhere abroad, but just never had the opportunity to. I feel I owe everything that is happening to me to him. I’m actually living his dream.

如果你可以选择, 你会为谁烹饪?

如果我的父亲没有在三年前去世的话,我真希望可以在北京为他做一顿饭。我会让我的团队为他做中餐,因为他总是对其它国家的菜品感到好奇,但他却从未在这里尝试过。我在世界各地生活旅行的另一个原因也是因为我的父亲,因为当我还是个孩子时,父亲总是想要在国外居住生活,但他从没有过这样的机会。我认为发生在我身上的一切都要归功于他。所以现在我其实在完成他的梦想。

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What do you want to do next?

Ah! I never know – life is completely unpredictable! But I would quite like to continue on the path that I am on right now. I don’t really see myself having a place of my own in Beijing: starting a business is a long term commitment and I’m not sure that I can really commit to another ten years here. But sometime in the future, I can definitely see myself running my own place – that will be my retirement plan! I want to cook, and die. In that order. I have an active flexible life and you need that even when you get old, especially if you don’t want to become too rigid. My grandfather lived until he was 89, and pretty much worked the whole way through. When I’m 80 I want to be cooking, in my own place.

你下一步的打算是什么?

啊!我真不知道 – 生活是完全无法预测的!但我希望可以在现在的道路上继续下去。尽管我不认为我会在北京开一家自己的餐厅:创业是个长久的承诺,我不确定是否会在这里再待十年。但是在未来的某天,我一定会拥有自己的餐厅 – 这是我的退休计划!我想要烹饪,然后死去,就是这样的顺序。我的生活积极且灵活,当我变老的时候希望还是这样的,如果你不想变成老古董的话。我的祖父活到89岁,而且基本上一直工作到最后。当我80岁时,我想要在自己的餐厅里继续烹饪。

Feast_dinner

Rob, together with his team, has a mission – transform Beijing in a more lively and easy place for the travellers who visit East Hotel and for people living who live in Beijing and gather there for some sushi, a drink or a meeting.

Rob,和他的团队一起,有一个梦想 – 要把北京变成一个更有活力和更舒适的城市,这不仅仅为了住在东隅酒店的客人,也为了生活在北京的人们,品尝些寿司,啜饮点小酒,聚会就是这么简单。

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His tools? Savoir-faire, kindness and an amazingly rich pavlova.

他的利器?才华和能力,友善和热情,还有好吃极了的奶油水果蛋白饼。

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Rob Cunningham e’ uno chef australiano che lavora a Pechino da 7 anni. La sua passione per la cucina e’ stata alimentata negli anni da Italiani, che gli hanno insegnato a cucinare pasta e risotto, da Francesi, che hanno condiviso con lui l’attenzione per gli ingredienti, e da suo padre, che gli ha permesso di seguire il suo sogno. Che lo ha portato a gestire il dipartimento F&B di East Hotel, uno degli alberghi più ‘contemporanei’ di Pechino.

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For the chat with Rob Cunningham at East Hotel I was delighted to wear:

和Rob Cunningham在东隅酒店交谈时我的时尚搭配:

White top, striped bra and silk pant s白色上衣,条纹内衣和丝质裤子: Cos
Silver earrings银色耳环: Georg Jensen
Nail colour 指甲: Chanel #455 Lotus Rouge

The picture of the two us together was taken with my old-fashioned iPhone.

我们的合影用我的iPhone拍摄。

For all the other pictures, special thanks to East Hotel.

其它照片感谢东隅酒店的提供。

 

Translation by Vivian Zhou.

翻译由Vivian Zhou完成.

 


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