Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My extended noma experience

In my previous post about noma, you an see that it has been an epic adventure.

At the end of the meal, the staff asked if we had time for a mini tour of the kitchen facilities. Of course we did! It was really nice to see the spaces in which the preparations of the mis-en-place for the ingredients, the makeshift grill for all the grilling, and the cooking kitchen before the chef's pass. Most of the food at noma is about the most seasonal and freshest ingredients so the prep kitchen is a large space with many interns working alongside the chefs. The service and kitchen staff seem to like working there and treat each other with respect despite their job status. It appears that everyone that works there wants to learn a lot from working alongside the very best chefs. A very welcoming International team from around the world.

My noma experience with a tour of the kitchen from Alaine Handa on Vimeo.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This Potter fan visits the Warner Brothers studio tour in London

This is a long overdue post that I've been meaning to write but causing my cheeks to blush because I'm telling the world how dorky I can be! I'm a Harry Potter fan and had always wanted to go to the Harry Potter studio tour in London. Technically, the tour isn't located in central London but a short commuter train ride to Leavesden. If you have an Oyster card just make sure you top up the card with at least £10 quid.

Drinking Butterbeer

Lights, camera, action! There's a certain magic to how films are made and usually what the viewer sees in the movie theater is the work of many people behind the scenes as well as on screen. I used to moonlight as an extra for film and TV and those jobs were always an interesting experience because you're held on set waiting for your turn for so many hours. The hours spent waiting and watching everyone work towards setting the scene just right and filming it from multiple different angles is time consuming an laborious! Its such a wonder how movies are made in less than a year's time! With movies as huge as the Harry Potter series, its remarkable what was achieved in such a small time frame from the costumes, hair, make up, props, to the filming, editing, digital effects, soundtrack, etc.

Perhaps it is magic after all...

Room under the staircase for the house at Privet drive

The tour is mostly self-guided and starts off with an introduction from one of the staff members who will lead you into the Great Hall where a lot of the scenes at Hogwarts was shot. The entire experience lasts 3-4 hours depending on how long you want to linger looking and trying out some of the interactive props on display.

In the middle of the tour, there's a small cafe selling butter beer (see above), Bertie Bott's jelly beans, Chocolate frogs, and other Harry Potter themed snacks. I opted for a small glass of butter beer. It tasted similar to root beer but with a caramel smooth twist to it. The froth looks like something out of a Looney Toons set because it wasn't like beer froth. It remained unchanged in the cup. Which means that this drink looks great behind a lens! I liked the taste of it too and wish that one could purchase butter beer at regular stores.

The magic of the Harry Potter movies are demystified on the tour but it still is amazing how the cast and crew put together so much work and detail to make all of us around the world fall into the world of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, of wizards and witches, of good vs evil. 


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