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.
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。