Welcome to my website. I am the author of ‘Vietnamese – Simple Vietnamese Food To Cook At Home’. I am a photographer and film maker. You can book into my supper club, Vietnamese cooking classes, buy my book, check out my photography and lots more here.
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After the book launch, I had a couple days off in Newcastle. I had been years and years ago, passing through to Edinburgh in my first car, a silver Ford Fiesta. This time, it was more relaxing on a 5 hour train, playing sudoku with train chit chats. We had a cosy stay at The Vermont Hotel and loved walking around the city even though it was blue and grey. It felt a bit like being in Brooklyn, with the bridges high above crossing paths. I didn’t realise how picturesque Newcastle is, how boutique-y it felt and how peaceful it seemed. That was until dusk, then the ambience was full of techno and bass muffled in between the walls and the bouncy echoey cobbled streets.
The view, breath taking, from BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Gateshead. BALTIC 39. Newcastle upon Tyne. It had a really amazing illusion at the staircase that seemed to go all the way down to the centre of the earth!
One of the best meals in a long time was enjoyed during lunch at The Broad Chare on Broad Chare. I was seduced by their Ocktoberfest menu, the schnitzel and all but then just went for their regular menu, a few pickings from small plates and sides. It was amazing, the scotch egg, done to perfection, the goulash was just like the ones I enjoyed in Budapest, crispy pigs ears, curried cauliflower tempura, crispy cod cheeks tempura, potted shrimp and the most beautiful bread and butter. Love it! It would be the first place I’d go back to. The Italian restaurant, Caffe Vivo next door was brilliant as well! (Thanks to Maunika Gowardhan for the excellent recommendations).
The real reason for being in Newcastle (was to stay overnight) but to visit Sunderland’s Northern Gallery For Contemporary Art & Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens which is showing You Are The Company In Which You Keep until Feb 2014. It is an exhibition showing works from photographers and lens based artists. It was such an enjoyable and engaging show! “Many of the artists might be described as working in anthropological or ethnographic ways, observing how our experience of the world is mediated through the camera lens”.
I particularly loved the video installation by Julian Germain of Classroom Portraits of an entire classroom in different classrooms around the world. The class was asked to sit perfectly still for a couple of minutes to camera. So when the wind blew or someone blinked, it looked really freaky!
I really enjoyed the wall of portraits from his book, United Kingdom by James O Jenkins, who travelled from Cornwall to Scotland shooting portraits of people during traditional British cultural rituals and the costumes they wore.
A brilliant art show. I highly recommend visiting it, even to travel especially for it.
Photo by James O Jenkins
I loved the found photographs from a studio in Malaysia by Yee I-Lann, showing a portrait of an entire community in the seventies. It was gorgeous but also moving, funny and full of stories.
The Vermont Hotel
Castle Garth, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 1RQ