Club Monaco, the international lifestyle brand, connects fashion and design with real life. Each experience — in store and online — is innovative and singular. Whether creating or carefully curating its individual experiences, Club Monaco focuses on authenticity.

Club Monaco flagships are centers for discovery; each store design is bespoke and reflects the art, architecture and culture of its neighborhood. The flagships engage the customer and share with them the brands, artisans, items and ideas that inspire Club Monaco.

Effortless, cool and thoughtful women’s and men’s collections live alongside vintage handbags and watches, hard-to-find home objects, rare books on art and design, local coffee and food - all pillars of the Club Monaco lifestyle.

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FIND INSPIRATION: In Taste Library With May Chow

FIND INSPIRATION: In Taste Library With May Chow

Recently, following my photoshoot at my restaurants, Little Bao and Happy Paradise, I decided to take Club Monaco to one of my favorite places in Hong Kong – Taste Library. A hidden gem and an “oasis” for food lovers in the city, Taste Library was created by PMQ and Hong Kong’s well-respected artist, Craig Au Yeung Ying Chai.  The library holds an extensive collection of books covering different food cultures and recipes around the globe and is where visitors can cook and read about food culture.

I have only met Craig once in my life but he had me at hello. If you don’t know Craig, he is an amazing artist, TV and radio personality and book writer. He talks about cultural issues, travel, home living and food. He is also a celebrated comic artist and specializes in graphic design, art direction and illustrations. He has also written over 20 books, but I need to stop now because the list keeps on going.

It was only a while ago when I was sat next to him at an event inside PMQ, where we started talking. During the conversation he asked me if I had heard of the Taste Library, which I hadn’t at the time. So he suggested, “well it’s just upstairs would you like to come check it out?” I gladly followed him and immediately found myself inside a quiet oasis and was surrounded with over 3000 books which mostly included cookbooks, food magazines and everything related to food and drinks. It is a hidden escape from the hustle and bustle of Central. 

Craig mentioned to me that he had been collecting these books for the past three decades and felt that it was time to share his collection with people rather than letting it sit inside his apartment. As I was walking around the Taste Library for the very first time, it felt like I had been given the keys to a treasure trove.

In the past few years, I have evolved a lot as a chef and person and I no longer just want to cook but want to really understand the history of Chinese food culture. On an international level, we only understand the tip of the iceberg on what Chinese food is. Even for me, coming from a strong western chef background, I want to dive in deeper because I think knowledge and good things need to be shared. And this has always been an issue with Chinese food culture, western chefs often write cookbooks with very precise recipes and methods. On the other hand, traditional Chinese chefs often believe that those secrets must be kept and only shared to their direct kin. For these reasons, there are not that many good Chinese cookbooks out there as the instructions are often vague. You really have to read between the lines to get a sense of what something tastes like and learn techniques through apprenticeships. I am certain that Craig has collected every single Chinese cookbook he has ever laid his hands on, and most of them have stopped publishing.  

Over the past few months, I have flipped through a number of books and was amazed by the extensiveness of his collection. You can even uncover the secrets of legendary Chinese restaurants from over 30 years ago. I simply soak it all in on every visit. A lot of these books were either given to Craig directly from the author with a special note on the front page or are personal cookbooks written by himself over the years. Exploring such a personal collection, makes me feel like I am sitting in Craig’s living room.

A rare find in Hong Kong, this is a non-profit endeavor that was purely created for like-minded people who can appreciate it. I also firmly believe that sharing is caring, so if you love food as much as I do, the Taste Library is where you want to be. 

 

Taste Library

Address: H504 PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong Central
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尋找靈感: 與 May Chow 於味道圖書館

最近,於我旗下的兩間餐廳Little Bao 和Happy Paradise進行拍攝工作之後,我決定帶Club Monaco到我最喜歡的香港地方之一 - 味道圖書館。味道圖書館是美食愛好者於城市的一個隱藏寶石和「綠洲」,由PMQ和香港資深跨媒體創作人歐陽應霽 (Craig) 聯手打造。圖書館藏有各種書籍,涵蓋全球各地不同的食物文化和食譜,訪客不但可以在這裡閱讀食物文化,甚至使用館內的設備泡製特色佳餚。

我與Craig雖只有一面之緣,但卻讓我留下深刻印象。Craig 是一名多才多藝的藝術家,著名電視和電台主持和作家。他的作品涵蓋文化問題,旅遊,家庭生活和美食。他也是一位著名漫畫家,專門從事平面設計,藝術指導和插圖工作。他的著作有 20 多本,但恕我未能一一盡錄。

早前,我在一個PMQ舉辦的活動時與他相遇,並開始傾談起來。言談間,他問我有否聽說過當時我還未認知的味道圖書館,更建議說: 「它就在樓上,你想來看看嗎?」我高興地跟著他,隨即發現自己身在一個安靜的綠洲之中,被三千多本書包圍,當中包括食譜,美食雜誌以及與食物和飲料有關的書籍。這是於忙碌喧囂的中環裡的一個世外桃源。

Craig曾提到,他在過去三十年裡一直在收集這些書籍,認為是時候把他的收藏與大家分享,而不是讓它們放在家裡。當我第一次來到味道圖書館時,感覺就像得到了一條寶庫的鑰匙。

在過去的幾年中,我作為一個廚師和擁有個人的餐飲業務,我不再只埋首於烹飪,而是要真正了解中國飲食文化的歷史。在國際層面上,我們只了解中國美食的冰山一角。即使對於擁有較多西方廚師背景的我來說,更想深入了解,因為我認為知識和美好事物是應該分享的。西方廚師經常以非常精確的方式編寫食譜,相反中國飲食文化卻一直未能做到這一點。傳統的中國廚師經常認為這些秘方必須只能與他們的直系親屬分享。因此,好的中國菜譜寥寥可數,因為烹調指示往往很模糊。你真的必須在字裡行間細心閱讀,以了解其固中意味,並通過當學徒來學習技巧。我確信Craig 已盡他可能所收集的每一本優秀中菜食譜,其中大部分都已經絕版。

在過去的幾個月裡,我翻了好幾本書,對他收藏的廣泛性感到驚訝。你甚至可以發現30多年前傳奇中餐館的秘密。每次到訪,我都盡力吸收一切。大部分的書籍都是直接從作者手裡交給Craig的,部分書本的首頁更留下寫給他的短箋,或者是多年來由他自己編寫的個人食譜。探索這樣的個人收藏,讓我仿佛就坐在他的客廳裡一樣。

味道圖書館在香港獨一無二, 亦是一個非牟利的嘗試,純粹是為志同道合和懂得欣賞它的人而設。我也堅信能透過分享表達關心,所以如果你像我一樣喜歡食物,你一定亦會喜歡味道圖書館。

 

味道圖書館  

地址: 香港中環鴨巴甸街35號PMQ 元創方5樓H504室
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