lens-artists photo challenge #113 – a labour of love

A truly beautiful theme/tropic that  Bert and Rusha have opened their guest playground with.

A labour of Love!

I worked as a chef for or nearly 40 years and in the end, I became a pretty good one too. My profession has made it possible for me to work on a cruise liner and aboard: Denmark, Canada, USA, England and Ireland. For 23 years I worked away from Sweden and I returned in 2009 for retiring at 61.

To make dining adventures for other people has been tough labour of love for me because I can’t say that I loved every minute of it – it means long hours, split shifts and it’s a heavy job to work in a kitchen. You need strong arms and legs. And the STRESS!!!

So when I retired I decided it was my turn to get dining adventures … not that I didn’t get them while working and the last 20 years most they were all for free, paid by suppliers or on my company AMEX. Beauce on the path I decided to take for good in 1972 took me to become an Executive Chef.

So I will serve you some labour of love on plates.

“A restaurant is a fantasy—a kind of living fantasy
in which diners are the most important members of the cast.”
Warner LeRoy

In December 2017 I went to Kraków to escape Christmas without any major success … I more or less landed in the middle of it, but I survived.

My last evening I enjoyed my dinner at Nota Resto by Tomasz Leśniak. The owner and chef, Tomasz Leśniak has been the Executive chef for the Polish National Soccer team for 12 years.

Probably the best dining adventures (had so many great ones) I had so far when it comes favours – my tastebuds were singing and dancing all the way back to the hotel. This was my starter:  “Tuna tartare in lime juice & Limoncello, fresh cucumber, cauliflower, Guacamole & coriander”

“When the food’s this good, you just want to take a picture.”
Anthony T. Hincks

2015 I decided that together with a girlfriend of mine go back to Hong Kong and Japan after 36 years.

Hong Kong is one of the most exciting food cities in the world, something for all wallets. One of the evening we decided to spend a large part lost account and booked a table at “The Principle” a 1* Michelin restaurant.

It became one of the most enjoyable dining adventures … the staff was so fantastic and so was the food. It was a set menu of 7 courses and every dish toke us by surprise both in taste and presentation.

Our 3rd dish was Consomme de Popillote (Griolle, Asparagus, Zucchini) and it came served in a transparent paper.

Now when I visited Hong Kong again in 2019 I found out that the restaurant has been closed for 2 years.

“In a restaurant, choose a table near a waiter.”
Jewish Proverb

Istanbul, my favourite hub!!! Been back and forward 6 times now … and in May next year, I will get on a flight again!!??? It’s not going to happen now in October as it been planned.

I love Turkish cuisine, at least what I have enjoyed in Istanbul.  The city’s food scene is very varietal with food from the whole world.

If you want to escape the Christmas (like I do) Istanbul is the perfect place and last Christmas I spent there (my 2nd Christmas).

Just around the corner from the apartment was one of the best and most popular restaurants, but also the tiniest one, Mezze by Lemon Tree (now temporary closed). 

The Swedish meatballs … is world-famous, but the meatballs I had at the Mezze … put the Swedish to shame:

“Grilled “Butcher’s” Meatballs with Grilled Vegetables and Onions” 

Now when I write about my mouth starts to watering. What a fantastic dish, nothing fancy about the place … simple straight forward food … and it is SO good.

“It’s easier to be faithful to a restaurant
than it is to a woman.”
Federico Fellini

I have spent some money on dining in France through the years, but it’s a bit like playing the LOTTO – you never know what you’re getting for your money, especially in Paris .. which I rate as one of the worst food cities in the world. All the fantastic dishes I had has been outside Paris .. mostly out in the country or smaller towns.

But when it comes to Salade Niçoise is it hard to beat the ones you get in Nice. But I just have to blow my own horn – I do a pretty good one myself.

This fantastic version I enjoyed during the Carnaval de Nice in February 2018 at my favourite square in Nice, Place Giuseppe Garibaldi and the restaurant/cafe name is La Pescheria. It was so tasty as it looks. 

“Nouvelle cuisine, roughly translated, means:
I can’t believe I paid $96 and I’m still hungry.”
Mike Kalin

Then we come to the Grand Finale – the dessert. I’m what they call in the UK, a pudding girl. Just love desserts and I always check out the desserts first on the menu.

Toyko has the most Michelin restaurants in the world and of course, we had to get the experience from one of them, so I picked “ベージュ アラン・デュカス 東京” (Beige). 

It’s is located in the CHANEL building in the Ginza area of Toyko and also the interior design is made by CHANEL. Today a 2* Michelin restaurant.

The restaurant is run by one of the world’s top chefs, Alain Ducasse. Also, one of my favourite chefs that in 2012 he held 21 Michelin stars. Also my most expensive one.

“Beige” was very beige – the food was good, but not mind-blowing as I had expected, but my dessert tokes me a spin around the moon.

I can’t recall the description of the dessert – but it was a praline with a light chocolate mousse covered in dark chocolate and with flakes of 24-carat gold. Oh, I forgot honey drops.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113: A Labor of Love

44 thoughts on “lens-artists photo challenge #113 – a labour of love

  1. Well Viveka, if one must love something then food is an excellent choice. And I agree if the food is wonderful it is photo-worthy for sure! Your images make the mouth water – food cannot be truly exceptional unless it looks as good as it tastes! One day perhaps you will cook the Lens-Artists team a lovely meal which you can then share together with us!

    • Tina, thank you so much for your lovely comment. To be a chef is truly a labour of love … and I know what hard work goes behind every dish that is put in front of me. To good photo of food is extremely hard and food has to be nearly raw to get the right colour. Worked very close with a studio that did all our food images. The work that goes behind every picture is unbelievable. McDonald’s spend up 10 hours on each image.
      It would be wonderful to create and prepare some for your team. I have cooked for Ann-Christine and her husband, but I don’t think they like couscous. Let’s work on that mission together.

  2. What a fantastic post! You’ve given us a journey through your culinary journey of life and included some delicious pictures along the way. Thanks, too, for your comments on how hard the work can be and how stressful putting good food on a table and make it look delectable also. But what really made me smile was your comment about food in Paris. I can tell I haven’t been to Paris often enough because I thought Parisian cuisine was among the finest in the world!
    Thanks so much for taking the time to develop this wonderful collections of memories and for sharing your thoughts on what all chefs must consider their labors of love. How interesting for all of us reading the entries in this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. We appreciate you!

    • Thank you so much for your fantastic comment. Yes, it became a bit of my professional journey. Don’t talk to me about Paris and food. The biggest con city in the world, but it’s beautiful to look at … *smile Rest of France is good. The same with their wines .. far overrated. Still, I am madly in love with France. Thanks again for the fantastic theme/topic, it was so fun with work with.

      • I’m with you, I don’t think I have met a country I haven’t like .. but I met a couple of cities. I miss my travel too, hopefully, in December I can start with Poland and then Porto. Had to cancel 5 tips so far this year. Manage to get Nice in February. I have cabin fever now. *smile

      • Would love the trip Poland to Porto — we’ve never been to either Poland or Portugal. I’m sorry you had to cancel so many trips, but I hope we’re all back at it again in the spring. We’re leaving this week to explore Gettysburg and then the Eastern Shore — gotta see America right now. Europe later. Take care and plan well. This has got to end soon, I hope.

      • Poland is my favorite country…. it has the history, food, friendly and you get a lot for you money. Plus they do the best Mojitos in Europe. *laughing. Porto you have to visit. It was love at first sight, while Lisbon and I didn’t click at all for some reason. You do like we Swede has done this year, seen our country. Enjoy your trip … but please be careful out there. I think COVID is something that we have to learn to live with and around for a while yet … and I hope we will learn something from it. We know now how vulnerable we are. So nice meeting you two. Take care and please stay safe.

      • And what a joy it is to meet you as well. You are so right — we have to learn to live with COVID, because, as you said, it will probably be around for a while. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. We want you blogging for a long time!

      • Thank you so much … and that goes for you two too. *smile – I hope you get a fabulous trip and more adventures to fill up with. Let that camera go red hot. See you.!

  3. WOW. You have my eternal admiration. I don’t need much persuasion to imagine that creating culinary art is a LOT of labor. Great, mouth-watering photos too. Well done.

    • John, you’re such a lovely guest to have for a visit. Thank you so much for the appreciative comment. It tough in the kitchen, but it is also awarding and always a good and fun atmosphere, scream and shout too when the heat is on … plus a lot of bad and not always clean jokes. A kitchen is still very much a man’s world, even if it has gone a bit softer with more female chefs entering the scene.

  4. You worked as a chef for nearly 40 years, wow!! Not many people know that Toyko has the most Michelin restaurants in the world. Thank you for the beautiful and delicious foodie tour. It makes me want be on the road again… Great take on for this one, Vive!!

    • Yes, nearly 40 years with scream and shout … but a lot of fun too. I really loved my job and the people I worked with. Yes, Tokyo is the food Mecca. Amy, I want to be back on the road again to. Hopefully, December will make it happen. Amy, thanks for your lovely comment.

  5. Uh thank you Vivi foe taking us on a world food journey . . . one I shall go back to read even more accurately . . . then to remember my own ! You paint enticing pictures from around the world . . . you have kept your imagination and taste-buds alive in so many parts of it. Life deals us cards oft unplanned. I was incredibly lucky that upon marriage in my early twenties I not only ended up with an already ‘foodie’ husband but, of all things, in the plastics industry and not as a medical doctor for which I had studied. That meant SE Asia and Japan for most of the year . . .and food I had never imagined existing. Singapore was my first love and then Hong Kong . . . Tokyo and Osaka did not as yet have the plethora of the world’s best . . . but I did and still do adore ‘Kyoto cuisine’ ! Such wonderful memories for you and me . . .thank you for the great post !!!!

    • Eha, I have always wanted a partner that we’re able to cook, but the men in my life have hardly been able to cook an egg, but they all enjoyed dining adventures. Singapore I only visited for 24 hours and I was working. HK is an awesome food city, you can get all the worlds cuisines just walking along one street. I must say I enjoyed Kyoto cuisine too. I’m not a sushi fan at all and I wouldn’t eat in Europe, don’t trust their handling of the boiled rice. Thank you for sharing your memories. Can you imagine having a date between us too … there will be a lot of talking and sharing. I really like the thought of that. Some food and great wine will be the frame of that date.

  6. This is wonderful, Vivi. I didn’t realize you are a professional chef. Kudos to you! That’s fabulous. You write so wonderfully of your food adventures. And you have the courage to speak the unspeakable about the food in Paris. I agree with you! I’ve been criticized by friends who are shocked that I have that opinion! The best food I’ve had in Paris is in the Marais district in the ethnic food shops–especially the Israeli ones. The food I had in Nice is fabulous, as well as Marseilles. You make me want to visit Istanbul. It sounds wonderful.

    • Thanks, Patti … when I started in the kitchen, there weren’t any female chefs and it’s a rough and ready environment – you have to have a sharp and quick tongue because the guys were not pretty. – in those days I would love to have #metoo around. It was a man’s world, but I survived and I had to go down to their level.
      Paris and I don’t agree at all, it has become a bit better .. at least they smile today when they take my Euros. Parisian don’t like tourist, but still, they live on us. Rest of France fantastic and I love it. Especially Biarritz. Istanbul is magical, I can’t get enough of it. So much to see and enjoy! Walk along the back streets … every back has its world to share. If you click on Istanbul on my blog, you can see why I love it so much. And it has just the right amount of Christmas glitter, everything is open … and no “Last Christmas” is being played. I’m not a Christmas fan, but I like all the lights it provides, shops windows decorations and to make and receive Christmas cards. The rest I can be without. Thank you so much for your lovely comment .. so glad you like my entry.

    • Thanks, Patti … when I started in the kitchen, there weren’t any female chefs and it’s a rough and ready environment – you have to have a sharp and quick tongue because the guys were not pretty. – in those days I would love to have #metoo around. It was a man’s world, but I survived and I had to go down to their level.
      Paris and I don’t agree at all, it has become a bit better .. at least they smile today when they take my Euros. Parisian don’t like tourist, but still, they live on us. Rest of France fantastic and I love it. Especially Biarritz. Istanbul is magical, I can’t get enough of it. So much to see and enjoy! Walk along the back streets … every back has its world to share. If you click on Istanbul on my blog, you can see why I love it so much. And it has just the right amount of Christmas glitter, everything is open … and no “Last Christmas” is being played. I’m not a Christmas fan, but I like all the lights it provides, shops windows decorations and to make and receive Christmas cards. The rest I can be without. Thank you so much for your lovely comment .. so glad you like my entry.

  7. I know you were an excellent chef, but you are also a story teller and an excellent food photographer. This really hits the top of everything, Viveka! Wonderful, Wonderful!

      • Thank you so much, what a fantastic comment. Landed straight into my software, If followers or visitors don’t read my about, they wouldn’t know. You’re not the only that were taken by surprise. *smile I like word ZEST!!! Yes, I want to enjoy life so much as possible, because I have health problems that makes it more and more difficult – i has slowed me down a lot … but not stopped me. *smile YET!!! So I will take ZEST and carry on. *smile

  8. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 113: A Labor of Love | Kanlaon

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment and visit. I wish I could get food like that once a week. Lucky you!!!! To get great food … at work is a true treat. I hope you tell them that they are amazing, because we chef like to hear that. *smile.

  9. Hi Viveka, It’s so good to see you on this Lens-Artist Challenge. It’s been so long since we have chatted, but I think of you and your generous heart. The food looks delectable, especially the deserts. I had no idea that McDonalds spent 10 hours on each of their photos. That’s probably why they look good. Yours look much better and definitely more interesting. Glad you are doing so well. Have a wonderful week. 🙂 Marsha

    • Marsha … hi there, lovely of you to visit. Yes, long time no see. And thank you for the lovely comment. I have lost a bit of the blogging MoJo, but I think a lot has to do with that my camera is being repaired.
      Yes, McDonald spends a whole day on each burger. Very costly with a stylist (sure they have their own). It is a slow process to make food shots and the food has to be nearly raw.
      So glad you like my post. Last weeks challenge I couldn’t get my head around, so I stayed out of it. *laughing. I will come and visit your world too. Be careful out there and stay healthy.

      • Thanks, Viv. We are inundated by ash and smoke right now, so staying inside most of the time. It’s a very bad time to take pictures! I’m getting my mojo back some after four years of trying to be professional about blogging. It was a fun experiment, but I lost interest. I’m back to blogging about what matters to me through photography and poetry, and a little flash fiction. It’s so good to hear from you. Stay safe. 🙂

      • Marsha, every day we see on the news about the fires and the hurricanes you’re living through over there. Plus everything you have to deal with just now.
        Glad you find blogging fun again and got your MoJo back I’m just waiting on my camera to come back from repairs, but I have a spare drive full of images that I can work me through .. but that is not so much.
        It’s like all those photos I once took, only looked at ones after they were developed. What a waste of money that was. Please stay safe … wear a mask … keep the distance and stay healthy. LOvely to be re-conned with you.

      • Lovely to be reconnected to you as well, Viveka. Our fires are awful, the air quality has been in the 200-300s, when below 50 is good. Portland, where my brother lives was even worse. It was 349 at the high. I had dinner with a friend last night, and she was driving straight through the fires in Southern Oregon. Her story was the most frightening thing I had ever heard. She had video to go with it. She and her friends had no clue what was going on. They had a fire alarm in the middle of the night in their hotel. When they evacuated, they discovered it was the smoke forest fires. The road along the coast was closed, so they crossed the mountains to go on Interstate 5. I’m going to see if she will give me her videos to write the story. It is breathtaking.

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