“We travel initially to lose ourselves, and we travel next to find ourselves. We travel to open up our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world. We travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in”
– Pico Iyer
What makes a great chef? Is it years of culinary school, hours spent on your feet learning to love routine, a hard task master of a head chef or a set of outstanding Japanese knives? It's all of these, but it's also a distinct palate, a sense for what diners will be enthralled by, and a curiosity to constantly be learning more from every type of person and culture encountered. And it's the latter which might be the most important of all.
Maximal Concepts has a team of world-class chefs who are truly international in background and expertise. Over the years, Malcolm Wood, founder and director of Maximal Concepts, has observed these five benefits to have a travelling-obsessed cohort of culinary professionals:
Travelling encourages a sharing culture
We love for our guest to share in Maximal restaurants–we want them to share everything from the food, drinks and experiences, to conversations, stories and special occasions around one table like they would do at home. We want for guests to bring their living rooms to our restaurants like we've seen other cultures do so effectively around the world.
Travelling unites a team
Tasting, reading, exploring, sharing and caring about the environment has come from a tendency the Maximal team have of flitting off on a moment's notice to new countries. And it's not just the chefs–the whole team at Maximal travel all around the world, exploring new countries together, which has meant they've encountered new flavours, cultures and recipes as a team. A recent New York stint saw the whole team exploring and eating, seeking inspiration and meeting industry people.
Travelling helps to build on our own heritage
True flavours and authenticity can only come from feeling and experiencing. Chefs from diverse backgrounds need to work together and bring their culinary history to the ever-changing mix of Hong Kong. Travel, when combined with a chef's own heritage, creates something very special.
Travelling brings many minds to the table
A collective system of feedback is very important. The community of minds is always better than one when it comes to cooking, creating and to constantly bettering the restaurant scene of Hong Kong.
Wood also believes in not stopping once a creation (dish / concept/ venue / beverage) is good, but making sure it is the best it can be by trying all the possible options and continually iterating. For instance, the apple wood roasted, 42 day Peking Duck at Mott 32 was a long process in the making, taking over 6 months and many minds until the final recipe was finalized. The development team went over 40 different types of ducks, coming from different countries, farms and breeds! They also tried cooking it on over a dozen different types of wood. The result; what is possibly the best Peking Duck in the city.