Rachel Khoo calls herself a ‘food creative’ not a cook. A graduate from St. Martins, she has been living in Paris for the last four years. As I know from personal experience, it’s not easy to ingrain yourself in the scene there, to find work. It’s a culture that functions on ‘pistonnage’, who you know, not what you know. Rachel, however, has done very well, styling food for magazines and creating patisserie for chic cookbook hangout ‘La Cocotte’ (in the 11eme arr.).
“The French don’t like to mix in the way we do, to share tables with strangers” Rachel said.
“I’m moving out, so the chef can live here for a month and set up dinners. I want to promote new talent” continues Nuno “I know how hard it can be not to be able to do your own food if you don’t have a restaurant. This will be an opportunity for chefs to show what they can do”.
I asked Nuno if he would feel happy to open a ‘normal’ restaurant again.
“Here, I’m my own boss. I’ve enjoyed the freedom. No rules. It’s my playground, as long as the neighbours don’t bitch too much. At Viajante I have partners so I will have to compromise. It’s not just me.”
“I will have a long mixed table again, near the kitchen. This has worked very well.”
“I like clean food, that makes you feel healthy. It is influenced by my travels in Asia, living in New York and my Portuguese background.”
“I was given opportunities to open up in Trafalgar Square. But I want to stay local. I like the way this part of London is anarchic, edgy. The other day I saw a crazily decorated car, like a work of art. You don’t get that in the centre of town”