In Dubai, I was working with the talented Chef, and true Gentleman, Andy Lee on a magazine shoot for Chinese New Year – seeing first hand the cooking of some stunning dumplings that were presented to the table like little tasty jewels in a steam basket.
More recently in London, I had the pleasure of working with another true Gent, Graham Hornigold – shooting his beautiful puddings in Yauatcha, and then some more of his incredible sweet creations from the HKK London kitchen for Great British Chefs.
The Hakkasan Group was founded at its first London restaurant in Hanway Place in 2001. Since then it has expanded to become a legendary and unique global restaurant brand.
Hakkasan are incredibly passionate about using fresh local ingredients to create contemporary dishes that retain the essence of traditional Chinese cuisine. The signature dishes include Roasted Silver Cod with Champagne and Honey and a Crispy Duck Salad; you can see the elements of tradition and innovation combining to create an incredible menu that has been awarded multiple Michelin stars at their restaurants the world over.
The interiors of Hakkasan are really beautiful – originally conceived by famed interior designer Christian Liaigre. Just like the cuisine, the interiors combine modern and ethnic elements, and include dramatic dark hardwood, and screens to maintain privacy; the spaces created are both intimate and dramatic, and the overall effect is very filmic. I have a bit of a thing for Asian styling, and these interior spaces really do make you feel like you are somewhere special. Stunning stuff.
The kitchens in both the restaurants where I was shooting were visible from within the restaurant, with opaque glass acting almost as a projection screen for flames and kitchen silhouettes to dance their way across, the Jedi-like chefs prepare your food in some pretty damn sexy wok and steam basket action.
And the food? Epic.