Lifestyle_fashion_710x350.jpg The Sound of Style

His iconic style defined the glorious 80’s and 90’s.
Here’s for you, George, you beautiful supernova. 

Lifestyle_Africa_710x350.jpg Return to Africa

Kate Whitehead revisits the areas of southern Africa from her earliest childhood on a luxury private guided tour.

The sky seems so much bigger in Africa. It’s a sense that affects not just your perception of space, but also of time – there’s more of both, and the combination feels like a promise of freedom. It’s not a bad feeling to have at the start of a holiday. 
I grew up in Africa, spending the first six years of my life in Kitwe, Zambia and the next two in Cape Town, South Africa. I hadn’t been back since leaving, so I had jumped at the opportunity to return. Would I recognise anything? How had the country changed? I didn’t just want to be a tourist, I wanted to meet locals, chew the fat with them and find out how Africa is doing. 

High-end travel is constantly evolving, pushing new boundaries and promising ever better bragging rights. The aim is no longer about checking off a bucket list of ultimate destinations. True luxury travel nowadays is about a trip that is designed just for you. My return to Africa had begun when I met my “travel designer”, Joyce Choi, at The Explorer Lounge in Jacada Travel’s Hong Kong office. The lounge is decked out like a well-travelled friend’s living room, replete with maps, travel books and interesting knick-knacks from around the world. Joyce asked what I like to do when I travel and seemed genuinely interested that I lived in Africa as a child; her eyes lit up when I told her I went to primary school in Cape Town. 

And that’s how I end up standing in front of Micklefield School on a sunny Friday afternoon. Located in Rondebosch, a leafy suburb of Cape Town, Micklefield has just 200 students. I’d been worried that I wouldn’t recognise anything at all, but as soon as we walk through the school gates, I see the familiar big tree standing in front of the headmistress’ office. 

The school has expanded since my days as a pupil there, and part of the playing field turned over to tennis courts, but there are enough familiar features to make me well up with tears. Micklefield girls still wear the pink cotton dresses with a white collar that I wore and, even more bizarrely, the sports day still features a “dolly and pram” race rather than the universal 100-metre sprint. It feels like I’m in a time warp. 

Find the full article in the March issue of The Peak.

Lifestyle_Fish_710x3501.jpg Up In Smoke

Fish smoking is often done in giant steel kilns, but there are around a dozen smokehouses in the British Isles doing it the traditional way – with lots of care, expertise and the flavour to match. As diners increasingly eschew mass-produced food in favour of artisanal ingredients, interest in this aromatic craft is experiencing a resurgence. 

In the halcyon days of yesteryear, customers would pull up in their Rolls-Royces after summer fishing parties to leave freshly caught salmon with London fishmonger Ken Condon. He would smoke the salmon in his old brick smokehouse, tending the fire and opening and closing vents that control the smoking process by hand. His customers would return a week later to collect the lovingly hand-smoked salmon. 

Today, 78-year-old Condon is retired and the tradition of hand-smoking for individual customers has all but died. Now, most smoking of fish is done in giant computer-controlled steel kilns that standardise the process, and as Condon and other aficionados will tell you, diminish the quality and taste of the fish. 

There are, however, a dozen or so smokehouses in the British Isles still smoking the traditional way. As diners in the UK and around the world increasingly eschew mass-produced food in favour of artisanal ingredients, interest in the tradition of hand-smoking is experiencing a resurgence. 

“I certainly can tell the difference, and my discerning clientele can tell the difference,” says Bill Pinney of Pinneys of Orford, a restaurant, shop and traditional smokehouse just off the scenic Suffolk Coast in southern England. “Buy smoked salmon from the supermarket and try ours, and you, too, will be able to tell the difference.”

Richard Enderby of Alfred Enderby fish smoking firm in Grimsby in Lincolnshire, England, agrees that the flavour of traditionally smoked fish is distinctive. The company, via a wholesaler, sends about 50 boxes every day to top restaurants, retailers and hotels in London, including Harrods, Selfridges, The Dorchester and The Connaught. They also send smoked haddock, cod and salmon to top fish restaurants around the UK, such as celebrity chef Rick Stein’s restaurants in Padstow, a charming seaside town off the coast of Cornwall. 

“Our product is specialist, so we work through a wholesaler,” says Enderby, who has recently retired but remains a consultant to the family business. “Customers call for our Enderby fish across the UK, including in coastal areas such as Cornwall and Devon, where there are no traditional smokehouses. Rick Stein is synonymous with fish, but we send to him in Padstow fish from Grimsby.”

At least half of the dozen traditional smokehouses in the UK are located in Grimsby. The fish smoked traditionally here was in 2009 given PGI – Protection of Geographical Indication – status. The designation requires that fish is smoked using only traditional methods, as well as in an old smokehouse. The Alfred Enderby smokehouse is a listed building and is more than 100 years old.

“Grimsby has been a fishing town for hundreds of years,” says Enderby. “In 1848, the railway to Grimsby was completed. The town was then the most important fishing port in the UK, and by the first half of the 20th century, it was the most significant in the world. After the war, we saw a slow switch to kiln smoking, which is more like putting the fish in an oven than smoking it. But a few of us carried on in the old way, and we are now seen as specialist artisan fish smokers.”

The town experienced a sharp downturn in fortunes after the war, but there are now plans for regeneration, bringing a sense of optimism after years of decline. The hope is to transform the town into an artisanal food mecca, with Grimsby traditionally smoked fish leading the way.

Find the full article in the March issue of The Peak.

Lifestyle_Artweek_710x350.jpg Art Matters

As Art Basel in Hong Kong steps into its fifth year, and Art Central returns for the third iteration, galleries are upping their game to put on historically-rich and visually challenging shows to appeal to the increasingly sophisticated viewing crowd. We give you a sneekpeek of the regions, medium, and trends to look out for this month.

Find the full article in the March issue of The Peak.

March 2017 Issue