Hi from London.
I am here until Monday when I will have to go back to Paris for the L'Art et L'Ame de la Thailand event at the InterContinental Paris, aimed at showcasing a new image for the country through a new generation. For now I can spend some time with my son who lives here, enjoying the lovely late summer weather in the low 20s. The Paris event is on Tuesday night and we fly back to Bangkok on Wednesday which means if I had come with the media group I would have come all this way for only three days. That is why every time I have a trip to Europe, I always try to make a stop in London: not only do I get to visit my son, I can also extend my stay and give myself enough time to get over jet lag before flying back.
I have to make a complaint about the inflexibility of the Thai government service. Normally when you fly to Europe, most airlines allow you to book an open-jaw ticket which means you can fly to one destination and leave from another, without having to pay extra. But since this trip is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I could not book the ticket to London and fly back from Paris as it must be return to and from the destination of the event only.
So from Paris I decided to take the Eurostar, never having done so before. I must say it was quite convenient as you only need to be at the Gare du Nord terminal 30 minutes before departure. The train itself was very comfortable with good wifi connection all the way. They let you know before it enters the channel tunnel which takes about half an hour out of a journey of around two and a half hours. Another good thing about the Eurostar is there are hardly any prohibitions about what you can carry on board with you.
World Gourmet Festival
Before my trip I managed to turn up for Anantara Siam's World Gourmet Festival. The annual week-long affair for foodies was in its 19th year and each year I had great intentions to join in the workshops and cooking demonstrations by world-class chefs but never had the time to attend more than just one dinner. This year I was able to combine two on the same day: a cocktail session co-hosted by Nontakarn Dapparungsi Ng of Lampe Berger at Aqua and dinner at Shintaro by chef Shinya Otsuchihashi of the Michelin-starred Craftale in Tokyo. The first presented cocktails inspired by five unique essences of Lampe Berger's home fragrances created by the hotel's mixologist paired with snacks. Although the dinner was at the hotel's Japanese restaurant, the menu was a clever blend of Japanese and French by a Japanese chef who was trained in France. Each course was a reflection of the four seasons and paired with French wines.
Coinciding with the World Gourmet Festival last week was the rain whose agenda it was to start pouring down around 5 pm almost daily. As all Bangkok commuters know, this means daily traffic snarls during rush hour. In spite of this all the dinners were well attended, a testament to the quality of the chefs. The food festival donates part of the proceeds to HRH Princess Soamsawali's AZT Fund for Pregnant Women under the Thai Red Cross.
I also joined in the opening of Fendi's new-look boutique at Siam Paragon. A very chic crowd was in attendance which also celebrated the 10th anniversary of its iconic Peekaboo bag and the launch of the Peekaboo X-Lite line. Flying in for the event were Fendi regional executives including Andrea Crippa and Clara Goh.
Also introducing a new look to its shop was Beauty Gems. Suriyon Sriorathakul invited guests to show off the new showroom with a workshop zone at its head office at Saladaeng. The theme was Gatsby with Diamonds and many turned up complete with feathers and glittering diamonds. A new collection of 16 dazzling sets was also presented. When it came to time for the drawing of door prizes I took my leave as I never win anything. And guess what? My name was called and it was up to deputy editor Alisa Mekmanee to go up and collect it for me. So maybe that's the key to my winning a door prize at events: I should not be there for the drawing. But then many hosts insist the winner be there otherwise another name is drawn, so that doesn't always work!
Finally I dropped by for the introduction of Gaysorn Village's Menllenial, a month-long interactive event of talks, wine tastings and showcase of lifestyle products for millennial men. Charn Srivikorn explained it includes the return of Gaysorn Les Vendanges presenting over 160 labels of artisanal, organic and rare wines. The Wine Walk features 20 boutiques offering tastings of wines that reflect their brand identity.
(Previously: Naphalai's Diary: August 27-September 2)