Posts tagged with "food"

360 MAGAZINE, sara sandman, illustration, travel

Travel Smart – Gadgets to Make Any Trip a Breeze

Travel in the 21st century is a very different experience to what it was in years gone by, due in no small part to the most inescapable gadget of them all – our smartphones. These devices have removed a lot of the guesswork for travellers, as well as serving as all-round entertainment units for long journeys. Listen to an audiobook, play some games at real money casinos, or catch up on the news; some may argue that a smartphone is the only gadget you really need while travelling.

If you take that approach, then you’d be missing out. There are a ton of excellent and useful gadgets that should be included in any smart traveller’s suitcase or backpack. Here is our pick of the devices that can make any trip smooth, fun and hassle-free.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

These can be a real life-saver in a variety of situations, especially during long flights or train journeys. They can help you sleep more easily, enhance the sound quality of the in-flight entertainment or simply act as a deterrent to any chatty strangers that you may not want to interact with. Two good choices are the Sennheiser PCX550 or Sony WH-1000XM3, both of which have the option to be wired or wireless. 

Portable Charger

That smartphone is just a hunk of useless metal and plastic if you can’t charge it, and when you are travelling you may not always be near an outlet. Portable chargers are the solution, and the type you choose may depend on the type of trip you are taking. For holidays to remote locations, hikes and camping trips, a solar-powered charger may be the answer. The Soluser portable charger is one of the best to be found, and it can provide up to 500 charges from full capacity. For regular portable chargers, Anker has cornered the market with its superior products. 

Personal WiFi Hotspot

Another must-have if you want or need to stay connected while you are away is a mobile hotspot. Save money on international data, and connect even if you are far from civilization. The network is also secure, which can’t be said for some public WiFi. Verizon have a good one, and the device from GlocalMe also receives high user reviews. Check if the country you are travelling to is included in the coverage before deciding which to buy.

Compression Packing Cubes

For the organised traveller who wants to make the best possible use of the space in their suitcase, these packing cubes are just the ticket. Simply place your stacked clothes in the cube, and the compression zip will dramatically reduce the size of the pile. These are also perfect for anyone who likes to travel with only carry-on luggage, as you can fit so much more into a small space. The Gonex range are great quality, and the sturdy zips can stand repeated usage. 

Waterproof Phone Case

Keep your phone safe and dry under any weather conditions, while still being able to use it. The case adds bulk to your phone, but at some point you’re sure to be grateful that you have it. LifeProof are generally regarded as producing the best and sturdiest cases, although they do come with a rather high price tag. Even so, you can drop your phone down a ravine, and as long as you’re able to retrieve it, a LifeProof case will probably keep it unscathed. 

Universal Travel Adapter 

You may have had a bad experience with some of the older, badly-made travel adapters that barely did the job they were supposed to do. Thankfully, modern universal adapters are of much higher quality. There are lots of smaller brands that make good products, so check out a couple of reviews, choose one that’s highly rated, and you won’t go wrong. 

360 MAGAZINE, sara sandman, illustration, travel

How to Stay Productive on a Business Trip To London 

London is an incredible city filled with a diverse range of businesses, which is why it’s a popular destination for business and leisure travellers alike. 

For business travellers, visiting London can quickly become a chore. When you’re not going home in the evening, not sleeping in the same bed, not eating the same food or working at the same desk, it can get all too easy to switch into vacation mode instead of being in your usual hard-working mindset. 

Despite the jet lag, unfamiliar surroundings and the back to back meetings you’ve likely got planned, the good news is that there are some steps that you can take to make sure that any business trip you go on, is a productive one. Keep these tips in mind to help you minimize distractions and get work done, no matter where you are. 

Upgrade from a Hotel Room:

Anyone who’s ever tried to work from a hotel room will tell you that it’s certainly not the easiest of experiences. Even if you have a desk, space is limited, and the Wi-Fi might be patchy at the best of times. Plus, you’ve got the noise of all the other guests distracting you. Instead, upgrade your stay and find furnished apartments for rent for a month or more, that you can take advantage of. London’s fully furnished rentals provided by Blueground are ideal for any business trip; you get plenty of your own carefully designed space in a premium accommodation, with a separate living area and bedroom that can help you get more done. Plus, you get a fully equipped kitchen, so you can prepare your favourite meals without having to rely on hotel dining times. 

Utilize Technology:

Before setting off, determine which of your gadgets are going to be most useful to you on your trip and pack accordingly. Will you need your laptop for writing projects and spreadsheets, or will your tablet and smartphone do the job? Depending on the purpose of your trip, you might not need to take all your gadgets and leaving some at home will lighten your load. Whatever devices you decide that you need to bring, make sure that you have access to reliable Wi-Fi. If you’re flying, many airlines now offer this as an in-flight service but it’s worth checking, especially if you’re only taking a short flight where it’s less likely to be available. 

Keep Up with Your Office:

Keeping up with your normal workload in unfamiliar surroundings and settings is perhaps one of the hardest parts of going on a business trip. It can be difficult to stay on track when your day to day routine is nothing like normal, so one of the best ways to get around this is to keep up with the people at your office regularly. Before you go, meet up with your team to get status updates and review any upcoming deadlines; talk about the upcoming trip and get a plan in place together. Once you’re there, it’s a good idea to spend some time every day catching up with the office; you can do this via video chat, for example. 

Familiarize Yourself with Your Destination:

The last thing that you want is to be rushing around stressed out because you’ve got a meeting to get to and have no idea how to get there, so spend some time getting to know your destination both before you set off and once you first arrive. Find out which part of London you’ll be staying in and what’s nearby; figure out how far away the place is from anywhere that you will need to go for meetings and other work-related events to help determine how hard it is to get a cab or whether the nearby public transport will be good enough for getting you from A to B. Of course, you should also see if there’s anything interesting that you could do in your downtime; tourist attractions are always worth the visit. 

Be Productive When Commuting:

If you’ve got a long flight or train journey ahead when setting out on a business trip, you can take advantage of this time and really use it to be as productive as possible. Even if you’re not going to have Wi-Fi in transit – pretty rare these days, but it can happen – then figure out what work you can do without needing to be connected to the internet and get that done during your commute. The more you can get done while you’re traveling, the less you’ll have to do once you arrive and the more relaxed and focused you will feel. Signing up for airline or hotel loyalty programs that offer business traveller perks can be a good way to help boost your productivity when traveling; you can take advantage of first-class lounges that provide a quiet and relaxing place to get stuff done while you wait for your flight. 

Staying productive on a business trip can be difficult; after all, your routine has completely changed and you’re in unfamiliar surroundings. Keep these tips in mind to help achieve maximum productivity on your next trip to London. 

360 MAGAZINE, sara sandman, illustration, travel

Tips For Planning Your Bali Adventure

Bali is one of the top travel destinations right now for those who want to experience something completely different and have a relaxing time. Of course, like many other destinations around the world, there are some things that you need to consider when planning your trip to Bali. Do you have your travel visa? Is your passport in date? These are all important considerations.

In this article, we are going to give you some of our best tips for planning your Bali adventure. Hopefully, you’ll pick up some great tips.

Check Your Travel Documents

One of the first things that you will need to do when you are planning your Bali adventure is to check your travel documents. There are a few things that you’ll need to gain entry to the country including your passport and your travel visa. It is important that your passport is going to be valid over the course of your trip and not just when you are leaving. 

Many countries also require you to have a travel visa before entering the country. You can usually find information on the kind of visa that you will need on a government website. Take a look at this and you’ll get the information that you need. 

Getting Travel Insurance

When you are planning your Bali adventure, you need to make sure that you are getting the right kind of travel insurance policy. It is important that you recognise just how vital travel insurance is when you are travelling to another country that might not have the kind of healthcare that you are used to.

If you are planning on travelling for an extended period of time then you might need an annual policy. This kind of policy is also good for those who are planning on travelling more than once in a period of a year. For those only heading to Bali for a shorter adventure, we suggest single-trip insurance. Travel insurance from staysure.co.uk is one of the best places to look before heading on your trip.

When To Go

Another thing to consider when you are planning your Bali adventure is the time of year that you want to go. The best time to travel to Bali is between April and October as this is when it is the dry season. Many travellers aim to avoid the rainy season as it can have a negative effect on the kinds of activities that you can do in Bali.

Of course, you must also consider the fact that going during the dry season might cause the cost of your trip to increase. Tour companies will want to make as much money as possible and so will charge more during popular travel months. 

Don’t Plan Too Much

While there are some things that you will need to plan ahead when you are travelling to Bali including your visa and your travel insurance, it is a good idea to avoid planning too much. Bali is a great destination that can be perfect for those hoping to relax and experience a new culture. If you plan every aspect of your trip including tours, you could find yourself more stressed out than you need to be.

It is important that you set yourself up for an adventure if you want to really explore Bali. As long as you have the right travel documents and somewhere to stay for the first few nights, you can have a really great trip. Try to live life in the moment for the perfect Bali adventure in 2020. 

Wine Enthusiast, 360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery, Alejandra Villagra

Lotus Chefs × COVID-19 Care

NEWS AND SUPPORT FROM LOTUS CHEFS AND RESTAURANTS

Andrew Wong and Kimberly Hernandez boxing up at home meals for elderly, vulnerable and in need hospitality workers in the community. 

In these difficult times, our clients are working tirelessly to offer educational and practical initiatives, but also to bring some excitement to many who are struggling with the boredom and loneliness of isolation. At Lotus, we cannot express enough our pride in representing them and we believe they can help make this whole process a little easier. We will continue to support our restaurants and chefs and the industry through this time of adversity.

Andrew Wong, London

Michelin starred chef Andrew Wong is working to create at-home meals for elderly and vulnerable members of the local community with the help of his protégé Kimberly Hernandez, Head Chef at Kym’s. Using restaurant quality produce, meals will be packaged and hand delivered free of charge, ready to be heated up at home. The boxes will be left on the doorstep of those who are self isolating to minimise human contact for those who are at high risk. For the time being the initiative is being organised through his local parish church – St Peters in Eaton Square. Andrew will continue to work tirelessly to find opportunities to keep his staff busy and motivated whilst also giving back as much as he can to his surrounding community in SW1.

Brace, Copenhagen

The team at Brace have just launched an incredible take-away option at their Copenhagen restaurant with a huge selection of dishes that can be collected, heated and finished at home. The new take-away menu very much carries the soul of Brace and utilises all local, organic and wild produce with sustainability and seasonality at its core. Dishes can be ordered every day of the week, for both lunch and dinner online at www.restaurantbrace.dk.

WAGYUMAFIA, Japan & Hong Kong 

Kobe beef specialists Wagyumafia have started their first-ever premium meat home delivery service. Supporting his farmers is Wagyumafia founder Hisato Hamada’s top priority, saying ’As we promised them, despite the current crazy crazy situation, we will never stop, but keep thinking and be more creative than yesterday.’ For people living in Japan please message @wagyumafia_butcher and in Hong Kong message @wagyumafiahk for details on how to order.

Aqua Crua, Barbarano Vicentino (VI)

In the initial weeks of the COVID 19 contagion, before the total lockdown of the country, Giuliano Baldessari from 1* Michelin Aqua Crua in Vicenza was the first chef in the country to offer his guests a “Comfort the Souls” – a bespoke 4 course menu for €30 that could be collected from the restaurant and enjoyed at home. Aqua Crua has since closed and will reopen in April. Baldessari has joined many Italian chefs in the initiative #iocucinoacasa (I cook at home) by Gambero Rosso, by showing a short and easy recipe for home cooking: watch here. He is going live daily on instagram at 3:30pm GMT with recipes and cooking techniques.

TURK Fatih Tutak, Istanbul

Istanbul’s critically acclaimed TURK Fatih Tutak has closed its doors until further notice, however, stay tuned for home-style recipes and tutorials on chef Fatih Tutak’s Instagram. His video tutorials will showcase Turkish dishes with soul that will be easy to produce, nourishing and inventive.

Marsan and Joia, Paris

Hélène Darroze has closed the doors of her Parisian restaurants; Marsan and Joia until further notice. The 2* Michelin chef and her teams are respecting French isolation instructions, and plan to come back stronger when they reopen their doors. For updates please follow @helenedarroze,  @marsanparhelenedarroze,  and @joiaparhelenedarroze.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, London

Hélène’s two Michelin star restaurant at The Connaught has restricted it’s opening hours, and will now close on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.  It remains open Wednesday to Saturday, and the team looks forward to welcoming guests, with restricted reservations, spacing between tables and increased hygiene practices. For news please follow @helenedarrozeattheconnaught.

Ikoyi, London

Jeremy Chan and Iré Hassan-Okdukale have taken the sad decision to temporarily close Ikoyi in St James’s Market. They will continue to support the entire Ikoyi team, and once things have settled, start cooking again.  For updates please follow @jeremychanikoyi and @ikoyi_london.

Mirazur, Menton

Mirazur has temporarily closed in Menton, on the Cote D’Azur. Mauro, Julia and the whole Mirazur family look forward to welcoming guests again soon.  For news and recipe inspiration please follow @maurocolagreco and @restaurantmirazur.

Il Pagliaccio, Rome

Anthony Genovese and the team of 2* Michelin Il Pagliaccio in Rome have also joined the movement started in Italy earlier this month for a stronger and safer future, by closing the restaurant until the 4th April.

Lux Lucis, Forte dei Marmi

Lux Lucis in the Hotel Principe Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany, home to the Michelin starred cuisine of Valentino Cassanelli, has postponed its seasonal reopening from March until May this year.

Duomo & I Banchi, Ragusa 

A ‘see you soon’ has been sent from Sicily from Ciccio Sultano, as he closes I Banchi and 2*Michelin Duomo in Ragusa until the 6th April. Sultano, though, has joined many Italian chefs in the initiative #iocucinoacasa (I cook at home) by Gambero Rosso, by showing a short and easy recipe for home cooking: watch here.

Farzi Cafe, London
Modern Indian Restaurant Farzi Cafe have closed their doors until further notice, but look forward to receiving guests as soon as they can. For updates please follow @farzilondon.

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LA COVID-19 MORATORIUM

Tonight, the Mayor of LA has issued a moratorium on bars, nightclubs, restaurants, movie theaters and fitness facilities effective midnight 3/16/20

See official announcement HERE.

CDA – announcement HERE.

Listing of testing centers HERE.

CDC Prevention Tips HERE.

Maldives, JA Resorts & Hotels, 360 MAGAZINE, travel, Asia

JA Manafaru Maldives

Multi award-winning resort JA Manafaru Maldives has recently announced its exclusive operation as an All-Inclusive Resort, providing international guests with the best value for money on the island to date.
Guests will now benefit from an all-inclusive meal plan which offers a culinary journey of 7 restaurants and bars, complimentary experiences and premium beverages from 11am-11pm, as they embrace island life on the magnificent lagoon-ringed Haa Alifu Atoll at the most northern tip of the Maldives.

General Manager, Karen Merrick commented ‘Once you set foot on this paradise island, all your worries fade away. We don’t want our guests to spend a moment trying to add up costs in their head, we want them to experience pure escapism and a deep, mindful connection with the stunning natural surrounds. This is the best value we’ve ever offered, so even more guests will now get the opportunity to experience JA Manafaru.’

Fringed with exquisite powder beaches and crystal-clear waters teeming with exotic marine life, the chic hideaway features 84 luxurious beachfront and over-water villas and residences, each with their own private plunge pool. Seven scenic dining destinations provide a wealth of options with traditional Indian Ocean cuisine, international fare and seafood feasts all available on the All-Inclusive plan. The stunning signature restaurant – White Orchid, sits in the middle of the ocean treating guests to balmy breezes as they indulge in award-winning Asian fare. Guests can also enjoy in a wide range of exclusively premium beverages across multiple venues including Horizon Lounge with its ocean views, Andiamo Bistro and Pool with its lush green backdrop and Ocean Grill, awe inspiring beachfront dining under the stars.

Activities abound for both adults and children with an SSI certified dive centre for beginners and experienced divers, with a water sports centre offering flyboarding, jetskiing, water-skiing, mono-skiing, seabob, funtubing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, stand-up paddling, catamaran sailing and canoeing. There is also a Marine Awareness Centre to conserve local ecology, as well as beach volleyball, futsal pitch, tennis court, badminton court, pool table, fitness centre, games room with mahjong and cosy library. Travellers can participate in Maldivian cooking classes, dolphin watching, scenic boat cruises, local island tours, fishing trips, yoga sessions and play on the eco golf driving range. There’s also an award-winning Calm Spa & Sanctuary, offering Ayurveda, aromatherapy and wellness journeys for the soul. To keep all ages entertained, there are both Kids and Teens Clubs.

With a 5-star rating and TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award 2019, JA Manafaru is one of the Indian Ocean’s most sought-after destinations and a popular choice for couples and families- classified as a ‘Legend’ hotel by Preferred Hotels & Resorts – extraordinary properties in the world’s most remarkable destinations.

About JA Resorts & Hotels

A legacy UAE brand, JA Resorts & Hotels was born in 1981 and has a widely recognised reputation for excellence, in the management and operation of award-winning resorts and hotels. Taking its name from the original Jebel Ali (JA) Beach hotel, JA Resorts & Hotels portfolio now features 8 distinct properties across the UAE and Indian Ocean, each dedicated to curating unique experiences and creating unforgettable memories. Tropical escapes include JA Manafaru, the idyllic luxury island resort in pristine, lagoon ringed Haa Alifu Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives and JA Enchanted Island Resort, an ultra-luxurious hideaway of 10 exquisite villas on a private island, in the middle of the protected Saint Anne Marine Park. Within the UAE, guests can choose from the five-star JA Ocean View Hotel, as well as the deluxe hotel apartments of JA Oasis Beach Tower, both located along ‘The Walk’ in Jumeirah Beach Residence.  Other attractive options include the acclaimed JA The Resort – Dubai’s largest experience resort, with 1 million square metres of thrilling activities and 3 unique hotels offering 795 suites and rooms between them– the award-winning JA Beach Hotel and Mediterranean style villa suites of JA Palm Tree Court and JA Lakeview Hotel, a stunning new Golf Course adjacent property opened in September 2019. The JA Hatta Fort Hotel completes the portfolio as Dubai’s only mountain resort, a secluded getaway amidst the stunning Hajar Mountains landscape. JA Resorts & Hotels is a member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, bringing together more than 30 brands with over 550 hotels in 78 countries. 
For more information please visit; www.jaresortshotels.com 

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How to Stay Active and Healthy While Traveling

When traveling to new places most people tend to over-indulge, treat themselves and then be depressed when they come home feeling heavier and less healthy. Traveling and staying in shape don’t generally go hand in hand but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to keep your health in check while on the go.

To make things easier for you, we have compiled a list of the most important things you need to remember if you want to stay active while also having fun and enjoying your trip.

Endless fitness possibilities

It can be a bit difficult to stay active when traveling since a workout routine works very well at home where you know which route you’ll take, what you’ll wear, your favorite dual station bag stand at the gym and so forth. When traveling you can feel overwhelmed and not following your routine can quickly lead to a feeling of guilt and anxiety.

It is important not to let yourself feel overwhelmed by this feeling and remember that you don’t need a gym to work out. You can do pull-ups in the park, use a bench for step-ups, the stairs for bear crawls, and so on.

This is what makes traveling so invigorating for people since it lets you experience new things and test your body in new environments. When you are traveling there are also plenty of activities that you can throw yourself into such as beach volleyball, swimming/snorkeling, surfing, rock climbing, tennis, and so many others.

Other tricks that can help you get some exercise include opting for the hotel stairs instead of the elevator, hiking up a hill so that you can get a better view of your surroundings, or simply going on a walk to explore the city. Just because you’re not at the gym it doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good workout while also enjoying your trip.

Diet and nutrition

Your diet and nutrition are just as important if you intend to stay fit and healthy but it can be difficult to balance things since, for most people, food is a key part of travel. Experiencing all that the local cuisine has to offer and sampling as much of the street food as possible is certainly part of the experience.

You don’t need to give all this up. Instead, you need to find a balance between treating yourself and keeping your healthy diet. The best way to try everything without overindulging is to share your meals with other people so that everyone can get a taste of each dish.

What’s more, try to be aware of liquid calories as well, especially alcohol since beers, wines and ciders are drinks that are very high in calories.

Don’t stress

With all that being said, the most important thing to remember is that everything will be alright and you don’t need to stress yourself too much. Try to enjoy your trip regardless of how little time you may have left for exercising.

There are plenty of uncertainties when you are traveling, especially when going to foreign countries and this can really turn your workout routine upside down. We understand just how stressful it can be to find a balance between enjoying your trip while also staying in shape. To that, we say that you shouldn’t worry.

Just because you don’t work out for a few days or weeks doesn’t mean that you will lose all your progress. Studies have shown that for the average person it takes up to four weeks for weights and about one to two weeks for cardio before your fitness starts to decline.

This is assuming all you do is stand in bed all day and when you’re visiting places you’ll end up walking for the most part of the day which will give you a good workout for your legs and will help burn some of the calories from those delicious foreign dishes.

Finally, what’s crucial is to enjoy your vacation since at the end of the day, any trip can be a once in a lifetime opportunity and treating yourself a few too many times for a couple of days won’t negate all the effort that you’ve put into your body.

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It Began Before I knew It

By Gary Dickson

There is little doubt that travel whether for business or pleasure stimulates the mind, challenges preconceptions, and promotes a flexible attitude. And I’m no different from anyone else and lucky enough to have had a business before I retired that provided a heady amount of high-end luxury travel as well as an association with people of impeccable taste and sophistication. These experiences are ingrained in my memory as beautiful dreams but there were a few nightmares along the way.

It all began a long time before I was in the business world of fashion, hospitality, perfumes, and jewelry. While that platform allowed me to combine business and pleasure trips to the design centers of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, and Milan, those adventures only continued a predilection that I had developed when I was a graduate student in Switzerland. I used my time off to travel to cities in Europe and beyond like Amsterdam, London, Budapest, Berlin, Athens, even Casablanca, and Marrakesh, and my favorite, Paris many times. But it all began long ago with my mother and father.

My mother was a stickler on many subjects, but particularly about books and thank-you notes. In fact, she was my first editor. Whenever an occasion required that I reciprocate some favor or event, she would not only remind and then remind me again of the necessity of sending a hand-written and timely thank you note but would also review a draft of my authorship to see that it captured the essence and etiquette of the moment. In effect, this meant that the thank you note had to re-tell the story of the event and its importance, but also how I particularly enjoyed the experience, as well as the obligatory praise for the hostess. Let’s just say politely in her memory that my first draft never passed muster.

And then there were the books; first, the ones that she read to me as a child in the afternoons curled up in her reassuring lap, and later, the ones of the summer reading schedule prescribed by my school that she insisted were subject to the equal time provision with the sports that I so dearly preferred.

Then there was my father, the consummate printer, the compositor/typesetter. In printing you learn a lot about precision–words, spelling, type fonts, wrong fonts, kerning, spacing, alignment, plus you’re exposed to every business and profession, and how they want the public to perceive and value them. 

My father loved hand-made wool three-piece suits. He loved Cadillacs. He loved music and Broadway; so each year this Georgia couple, my parents, went to New York to see the latest shows and eat at Sardi’s, and they took me along from eight years old on to see Guys and Dolls, The King and I, South Pacific, Fanny, and a host of others.

And when I graduated from university and was accepted to a graduate program by a university in Switzerland, they reluctantly agreed although my father thought it too extravagant and my mother thought it too far.

Then in Switzerland, I met my first wife, an artist. As a matter of fact, her extended family were all artists to one degree or another: Dante professors, art restorers, etc. Their devotion and patronage of the artiigiani in Florence rubbed off on me. We made jaunts all over Tuscany searching for the special and unique. 

Then later, when I became active in my father’s business, I helped change its course to reflect those qualities inherent in artistic workmanship. This tack in heading endeared our company to graphic designers across the country, indeed the world.

When I retired, I found that I had all these vignettes of people, places, and stories that were always popping up. Catalytic to these memories is my wife Susie who loves travel and new experiences as much as I do. Through her complicity, my personal souvenirs are re-lived.  Sometimes a ragout is better the next day.

And after all, isn’t every story even if it is about an afternoon in a small town, a travel story? Life is a journey, and it is up to us to enjoy every bump along the way. But to do this, you must possess a level of consciousness, pay attention, and enjoy the trip. I remember people used to ask me if I had had a good trip. And my response was always that I don’t do bad trips. 

Several years ago, when I was taking advanced French literature courses at the Alliance Française, LA, my French professor asked me if I had ever written anything. I answered, No.

But in reality, I have been writing all my life, if not on paper, then in my head. I took her advice and attended writing classes at UCLA where after five months I had my first novel. 

Many people have asked if my stories are autobiographical or even if certain parts are true. I always respond that in every story a little truth resides, but more importantly it is the synthesis of experience and observation that provide the fodder for narrative. Said best by Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson:“I am a part of all that I’ve met.” 

Gary Dickson is an inveterate traveler and a Francophile, sans merci. Educated in the United States and Switzerland in history, literature, and the classics, Gary is the author of The Poetry of Good Eats, An Improbable Pairing, and A Spy With Scruples.

Connect with Dickson at GaryDickson.us, Facebook.com/GaryDicksonAuthor/, and Instagram.com/GaryDicksonAuthor.

Fundación Palace, Refettorio Mérida, Massimo Bottura, Lara Gilmore, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine,

Fundación Palace x Refettorio Mérida

FOOD FOR SOUL FOUNDED BY CHEF MASSIMO BOTTURA AND LARA GILMORE, AND PALACE RESORT’S FUNDACIÓN PALACE ANNOUNCE THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF REFETTORIO MÉRIDA

An inclusive place of beauty dedicated to the most vulnerable, to celebrate Mexican culture and community spirit

Food for Soul, the nonprofit organization founded by Chef Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore to fight food waste while strengthening social inclusion and community resilience has partnered with Fundación Palace, Palace Resorts’ philanthropic institution, whose main objective is to help contribute and give back to the communities in which it operates. The two organizations will open the first North American Refettorio on March 25, 2020, in the city center of Mérida, Mexico.

Being Food for Soul’s ideal partner for the first Refettorio in North America, Fundación Palace is committed to changing the narrative for local communities to promote social progress and equitable food distribution. Refettorio Mérida offers a daily lunchtime food service to vulnerable members of the local community by transforming surplus ingredients into delicious meals. Designed to be much more than a community kitchen, Refettorio Mérida will be a beautiful, colorful gathering space for the whole community. Located inside “Casa Santa Luisa,” this is a historic, colonial house that belonged to the Yucatecan philanthropist Pedro Canales, who was an advocate for social conscience and who decided to gift it to the Voluntarias Vicentinas de Yucatán AC.

The aim of Refettorio Mérida is to be a gift to the city, providing a unique sense of community that respects the many social layers of Mérida. The city has always been a melting pot of cultures and nationalities and even today has a very strong, well-established cultural identity with influences from all over the world. This diversity will be reflected and celebrated within the walls of the Refettorio, which will become a place for people to express their culture and identity. To celebrate Mexican culture and the equal right of all to beauty, Refettorio Mérida will display artworks by artist Bosco Sodi and others selected by gallerist Jose Garcia Torres. Sodi is a Mexican contemporary artist known for his richly textured, vividly colored large-scale paintings, and his recognition has expanded throughout the international market for his philanthropic efforts. Additionally, Torres is the director of a contemporary art gallery, Merida-based Jose Garcia Gallery, which promotes leading Mexican and international artists.

Conceived by Chef Massimo Bottura in 2015, Food for Soul’s Refettorios are places where gestures of hospitality and dignity are offered to all through nutritious and beautiful meals made with surplus food. Beginning in late March, recognized Mexican and international chefs will be invited to join the movement. From Monday to Friday, a team of local volunteers will serve a delectable three-course lunch to guests in different situations of social vulnerability, including the homeless and isolated members of the community.

The Refettorio model is the expression of Food for Soul’s Guiding Principles: the quality of ideas, the power of beauty, and the value of hospitality. With projects already opened in Milan, Rio de Janeiro, Modena, Bologna, London, Paris, Naples and soon Mérida, Food for Soul continues to work toward its mission in partnership with organizations all over the world.

“Our dream to open a Refettorio in Mérida is about to become real, and we can’t wait to start this new adventure with an excellent partner as Fundación Palace, paying homage to Yucatecan culture and flavors. This is an opportunity to build a world where food is not wasted and people are treated with dignity”, said Massimo Bottura, internationally renowned chef and founder of Food for Soul.

“Palace Resorts is an organization that has placed philanthropy and giving back to our communities at the helm of our business. Fundacion Palace is proud to partner with Food For Soul on a project that is near to both of our hearts. Being able to open up Refettorio Merida is a testament to our company’s commitment to positively impact those that need it the most. Merida is special to us because it is the city in which we planted our roots. It is overwhelmingly gratifying to us, and it is our hope to provide nourishing and beautiful meals created with love using excess food, along with the opportunity for a better tomorrow,” said Jabib Chapur, Vice President of Operations, Palace Resorts.

Following the opening, Refettorio Mérida will continue to operate with the support of Food for Soul and Fundación Palace, offering a space where meals are shared and also providing workshops and events throughout the year to inspire and engage the whole community.

FUNDACION PALACE:
Fundación Palace Resorts IAP, is a nonprofit institution created in 2004 by Palace Resorts. The philanthropic institution was created with the primary objective to help contribute and give back to the communities in which it operates with one goal in mind: the pleasure of helping others. Since its establishment in 2004, the Palace Foundation has been fully committed to its mission of promoting the actions of its five committees. So far in 2020, the organization has awarded 120 scholarships to seven generations of university alumni through the Education Committee, fulfilled more than 2,000 dreams for terminally ill children through the Dreams Committee, and has provided healthcare to 1,100 people through different types of therapies for the Socialm Wellness Committee. Thanks to their partnerships with multiple health organizations, both public and private, the Health Committee has been able to provide more than 700 locals with medical care. The Environmental Committee has assisted with the protection of 3,120 turtle nests, 356,361 turtle eggs, and 308,336 sea turtle hatchling releases.

Additionally, in 2016, the foundation launched the “Casa Hogar,” an orphanage for local Mexican children, which provides housing and care for nearly 43 local children. Casa Hogar also features classrooms, a counseling center, a medical office, and a special needs area. The facility also features a chapel, playroom and computer center, swimming pool, multiple green areas, and a covered basketball court. Casa Hogar’s primary objective is to provide at-risk children in need the opportunity to have shelter, formal education, and healthcare.

FOOD FOR SOUL:
Food for Soul is a non-profit organization founded by chef Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore to empower local communities to fight against food waste through social inclusion. Food for Soul builds culture as a way of strengthening community resilience, opening opportunities for social mobility and advocating for healthy and equitable food ecosystems. The organization began with the Refettorio Ambrosiano in Milan during Expo2015 with subsequent projects launched in Rio de Janeiro (Refettorio Gastromotiva), London (Refettorio Felix at St Cuthbert’s), Paris (Refettorio Paris Au Foyer de la Madeleine), Mérida (Refettorio Mérida) as well as Social Tables in Modena (Social Tables Ghirlandina) Bologna (Social Tables Antoniano) and Napoli (Social Tables Made in Cloister).

More information: www.foodforsoul.it

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Fundación Palace, Refettorio Mérida, Massimo Bottura, Lara Gilmore, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine,