While many shows have remarkable casts, for models both new and established, Prada remains the ultimate “get.” The prestige and visibility that come from being on the Prada runway is incomparable—whether you’re a newcomer having your first big moment or a star returning after a lengthy hiatus. As a result, Prada’s castings have become the barometer by which other shows are judged, as well as an arbiter of industry beauty norms. If you want to get a feel for the current modeling look du jour, a glance at Prada’s run of show is all that’s needed.
While models make up the majority of Prada’s runway, the brand’s menswear advertising has long relied on art house actors, enlisting everyone from conventional cuties Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ben Whishaw to acting luminaries like Gary Oldman, Harvey Keitel, and Christoph Waltz. At the fittingly theatrical Fall 2012 show, worlds collided when Oldman, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, and Jamie Bell unexpectedly took to the runway alongside male models like Arthur Gosse and VictorNylander.
Prada consistently launches careers, and though not every model selected for a Prada exclusive contract goes on to greatness, the brand’s success rate is enviable. Those chosen to open the show, walk in it exclusively, or debut via a Prada campaign are essentially winners of modeling’s golden ticket, and many now-famous names got their first break via Prada. Miuccia Prada gave a contract to a leggy Czech named Karolina Kurkova before she turned 16, and enlisted her to walk Prada and its sister brand, Miu Miu. In 2005, Prada opened with Sasha Pivovarova, a then-unknown Russian art student who would go on to represent the brand for six consecutive seasons. Long before she was omnipresent in ads for Céline, Daria Werbowywas successful when opening Prada’s Spring 2004 show and landed a contract. Models like Suvi Koponen, Katlin Aas, Lindsey Wixson, Arizona Muse,Vanessa Axente,Maartje Verhoef, and Amanda Murphy all came into their own with appearances at Prada. Even this season’s key catwalkers, like Lineisy Montero and Willow Hand, began with—you guessed it—Prada.
WATCH the Prada Spring 2016 ready-to-wear show Note:(if you’re receiving this post via e-mail please click on the title at the very top of this page & scroll down to view):
Aside from Tamales, Mole (MOH-lay) is one of my favourite Mexican dishes.
Mole is Mexico’s national dish although many Mexican restaurants don’t even have it on their menu. It may simply be a sauce but one that is not so simple to make.
NEVER say NEVER!I said I’d never make it again but I did, just the other day. I made the most delicious Mexican Mole with chicken in my slow cooker. I have to brag about it because it was really as good as any I’ve had before. Wow…what a statement to make. I’m good with it though because it really was. The only other time I made mole was when a Mexican friend came to my house and instructed me how to. It was a lengthy process that I wasn’t prepared for with too many ingredients, too much assembling, washing, soaking, chopping, frying, blending, mess and cleanup involved. When I told another Mexican friend that I recently made mole she was surprised. She said, “hell, I just open up a can of DOÑA MARÍA® and serve it over chicken and rice. Too much work to make it from scratch.”
I found a recipe that intrigued me because it involved making it in a slow cooker. My slow cooker has made it out of the garage and occupies priority space on my countertop now as I’ve re-discovered some fantastic flavourful dishes to make in it. Anyway, I adapted the original recipe slightly (see my notes, it helps to be resourceful) using only what I had in house. I didn’t go out to pick up any ingredients as I had pretty much everything on hand including the chicken breasts and I felt lazy. I was ready to attempt it again. It was worth it. Here goes:
4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 12) *my notes: (I used a package of 8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut in half but gave one of them to my dog sans chipotle, so actually 7)
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped *my notes (I used good quality dehydrated chopped onion instead which worked well when rubbed onto the chicken).
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed *my notes (didn’t have ancho – used extra chipotle chile in adobo sauce instead – you can find the cans in the exotic food section of almost any store and once you open it, it tends to keep a long time refrigerated).
1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce *my notes (see above – I used less than half a can in total).
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup raisins
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (1/2 cup) *my notes (I only had unsweetened, semi-sweet and 70% so I used semi-sweet chocolate chips but just a bit less than ½ cup since they’re sweeter). Later I added a small handful of the 70% (melted first in the microwave) to make the colour darker & add richness. “I prefer my men, chocolate, and coffee to be rich.” Ha, couldn’t resist saying that.
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled *my notes (I used good quality minced garlic from California – also rubbed on the chicken).
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving *my notes (I used chopped green onion)
Recipe says to first season chicken with salt *My Notes (I rubbed coarse kosher salt, minced garlic, chopped dehydrated onion and a bit of *McCormick Cocoa Chili Blend “great new find” on the chicken pieces) and place in a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker.
In a blender (or preferably food processor), puree tomatoes, onion, ancho and chipotle chiles, almonds, raisins, chocolate, garlic, oil, cumin, and cinnamon until smooth.
Add tomato mixture to slow cooker, cover, and cook on high until chicken is tender, 4 hours (or 8 hours on low). *my notes (I started 2 hours on high, and switched to low for 4 hours). I added extra dry garlic & onion sprinkles to the mix to make up for the lack of fresh. This coming from someone who just finished using fresh garlic braids from Gilroy, the garlic capital of California.
Serve chicken and sauce over rice, topped with cilantro. Tortillas optional.
As you can see, i adapted the recipe quite a bit for what I had on hand – but it worked out fabulously. be careful to use the *right chocolate though. you can substitute semi-sweet for bittersweet but only if you must, never with unsweetened or milk chocolate. I served it over rice with tiny tortillas (warmed up in the oven) on the side. You may want to try the original knowing that you can do either.
The good news is this: bittersweet and semisweet are very similar. Bittersweet chocolate is often now labeled “dark chocolate” and clearly lists the percentage of chocolate. That percentage tells you how sweet the chocolate will be: chocolate labeled “70% chocolate” contains 30% sugar, “60% chocolate” contains 40% sugar, and so on. Semisweet chocolate tends to be higher in sugar than bittersweet or dark chocolate, but there can be overlap.
The bottom line: if your recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, you can use dark or semisweet, and when using semisweet, you can go just a little light on the sugar (for baking purposes that is).
Balloons always remind me of birthday parties or open houses. A cause for celebration!
An art installation of 100,000 white balloon clusters, sculpted into the shape of magnificent clouds…or one glorious bubble bath.
Let me explain….Covent Gardens has commissioned French artist Charles Pétillon, famous for his playful balloon ‘invasions’, to create his first ever installation in a public space called “Heartbeat.” A pulsating light beams into the installation a little like a heartbeat which is meaning to indicate the notion of Covent Garden as one of London’s most central structures.
An incredibly photographic display. Wish I were there to see it in person. But just like a heartbeat…..it has come and gone.
but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt Charles M. Schulz
It appears there are more kinds of chocolate flavoured combos out there than there are varieties of soaps or candles. I will draw the line at cedar & saffron or tobacco & wasabi (don’t laugh, it’s possible).
While chocolate might not be a perfect love substitue, it’s one of the best alternatives you’ll find produced in mass quantity. Remember there’s plenty of nice barsout there!
Heads or Tails? An interesting chocolate fact you should know:
76% of Americans say the ears of the chocolate bunnies should be eaten first.
5% think chocolate feet of the bunnies should be eaten first.
4% think the chocolate tails should go first. I say “off with the heads”
Long ago there was only Ivory and Dove. Then along came totally transparent Pearsas the soap de jour. Soothing olive oil followed…then exotic shea or was it just jojoba? Not sure. Anyway, I think it’s fair to say…
THEY DON’T MAKE SOAP LIKE THEY USED TO
It’s much, much better now and the choices are immense. From goat’s milk and honey to hemp and everything else in between. Some have dried flowers, essential oils and come with fancy names and really different funny combinations you would never ever dream of. They can be pricey too. A single bar of soap can cost upwards of $15. I think the most I paid for a bar I loved was about $12 and I thought it was outrageous and didn’t use it for the longest time. Of course I used soap but just not that particular bar. It was meant to be saved for a special occasion shower I guess. It looked so pretty just sitting by the tub and I didn’t want to disturb the design. But eventually it got washed up and I’ve never looked back on using regular soap since (but I don’t even know if there is such a thing anymore).
I wanted to learn how to make soap from scratch not as a way to save money (actually cost me a small fortune to buy all the stuff to make it) but to create signature varieties and fragrances. In the same vein that I tried making candles, but that was not my passion. My kitchen became a lab for a while. In turn I became obsessed with finding molds to shape them in the way of starfish, shells, the cameo girl (I was really excited when I found that one), you name it. Then I became obsessed with a really clean simple but elegant square although those had to have dried flowers like lavender or roses and you had to either see them or they were a surprise. Sometimes not the best surprise because you had to clean up the mess after – but they were pretty messy. It was fun and creative and they made good gifts as part of a package for a while. I would personalize many, it was a lot of work but a clean (ha) rewarding hobby. I still make soap on occasion.
Now I feel outdone by all the unbelievable assortments you can find in almost any drugstore. I make them for myself and a few friends who appreciate handmade works of art things. I never intended to rent a table at a craft fair to sell them. I enjoy the process of making something from scratch the same way I once made a rag doll (not quite raggedy ann but she was soft and cuddly like her), photo albums (no one needs them anymore), a beautiful book for scribbling your thoughts that was bound with Japanese rice paper and tied together with ribbon (for a gift but now everyone uses their IPad or tablet and even phones come with pens) and all those dried flower arrangements (Instead of buying them already dried, I hung fresh flowers upside down in a pantry room for however long it took them to dry, but over time they gather dust and I have allergies).
But I still have a curiousity about how to make something from nothing. Although, it does not extend to anything too technical because I can’t even turn on a barbeque (I always let the guy handle it). And it does not extend to making a straw hat out of banana leaves that I never intended to wear or weaving another little wicker basket, or tye-dying anything or hand painting bathing suit cover ups and wraps (from having free time on my hands in Jamaica). I loved making the clay doll with fruit basket on her head but it was very detailed and kind of knick knacky.
I took a sewing workshop once with a topnotch instructor because I wanted to make the DVF “wrap dress.” I thought ahhh, it looks so simple it will be a breeze. Not so. I did with some trial and error end up choosing a pattern and satin fabric (printed red & black design) and made the darn dress just to prove to myself that I could. I even wore it once. I have much more respect for Diane Von Furstenburg and her so very simple little design that got her on the cover of Time and is still being sold and others are copying it. I wanted to do just that.
Of late I’ve created a signature scent eau du parfum just for myself (selfish me) because scent is personal and I am so curious how they make Chanel No 5 (or anything remotely close to that). Now that is something intriguing to me – to learn to work all the right notes and combinations. It’s something of a science really (they never tell you their secret, they always leave something out on purpose). That’s why I’ve decided not to publish or share a few special recipes. Things that should remain a family secret, just because. Not to be a complete open book and retain a tiny bit of mystery…which is lacking.
But what you can never do, try as you may…
…you can never recreate an original masterpiece…be it a dress, a painting, a perfume or even a great bar of soap! Yes, getting back to soap now…
Things of beauty right?And the names! Good clean fun.
What about you? Have you tried making soap or anything else kind of crafty or crazy?
A good but blurry beginning to the start of this week as I was invited to a media event at Secret Location in Vancouver’s trendy Gastown district.
A MASTER CLASS! The event was to promote and educate those in the room about the different wines of Portugal. And I never miss an opportunity to drink learn more.
Secret Location is a concept store that offers thought-provoking fashion and food. They’ve covered all their bases. They describe themselves as one part lifestyle boutique, one part restaurant. The elegantly prepared food was excellent along with the wine pairing accompaniments. Cheers to the chef!
In short: get these people liquored up, fed well and maybe they’ll write something nice. In all fairness it was a very enjoyable afternoon sitting at a fun table with exceptional food, pleasurable wines, and an informative presentation by Marta, the lovely sommelier. It’s interesting to find out how the grapes are selected, harvested and then fermented to obtain the desired body and structure – a caring, lengthy process. Well done.
We sampled 7 wines and a port. Of course we all expected nothing less than greatness from the Port, but we were a bit unsure of the wines because many people are only familiar with the pretty in pink bottle called Mateus (remember, we all drank this when younger) which has been around forever. I have a somewhat funny but embarrassing Mateus story to share at the end. “I get juiced on Mateus and just hang loose.“ – lyrics from Elton John’s “Social Disease”
Hey, I think they’ve improved it over the years.
The thing to note is that Portugal has less grapes than other European wine growing regions but they have some special ones, notably the Touriga grape which is used to make port – that’s why they’re famous for producing the finest port known to man.
In short, the wines were very drinkable and were superb with the food pairings. The price points are excellent. All cost under $20 including the Port. If you haven’t tried any of them, I recommend doing so for a change.
Of special note:
Periquita Reserva 2012 – a soft & balanced red with medium/long finish. $15.79 Quinta do Crasto Douro Doc 2013 – a fresh on the nose red with intense berry fruit aromas and elegant floral notes. $17.49
There is a lot to note about each particular wine we tested so the best thing is to write all the pairings with a short tasting note on each.
Aperitif – grilled octopus with celery hearts, fingerling potatoes, crispy wheat berry, lemon dressing. Wine Pairing: Mateus Rosé Original (it brought a smile to my face)
Appetizer – duck sausage, slowly poached egg, local carrots, black truffle puree. Wine Pairings (yes, two for this one): Vale Do Bomfim – Douro Red (fresh fruits, plum and blackberries, full bodied, fresh, good balance, length and finish) & Periquita Reserva Vinho Regional Red (intense ruby, vanilla, coffee, cassis, blueberries).
Main – stout braised bison short ribs, caramelized onion, parsnip puree. Wine Pairings (again, two): Duas Quintas – Douro Red (flavourful, concentrated, elegant, silky, long finish) & Cresto, Quinta do Crasto – Douro Red (elegant, balanced, well-structured on the palate, lingering finish).
Dessert – chocolate & sour cherry dense chocolate cake, sour cream ice cream. Wine Pairing: Pedra Cancela Seleccao de Enologo – Dao Red (not your typical dessert wine but given the intensity of the dessert it was surprisingly perfect) Intense red fruit, ripe plum and hints of cacao, final taste is very soft, nice and long.
Wait…it’s not over just yet.Finally a local cheese platter (Smits & Co. aged gouda, Kootenay cheese company Nostrella, Farm House goat pyramid, Salt Spring Island Cheese Company Romelia paired with Sandeman Porto Ruby – Port Wine (brilliant ruby colour, full rich flavours of fresh plums and red fruits, very well balanced.
And that was the end of my day! It was only 3:30 p.m. (it might as well have been a.m.)
My Mateus story: when I lived in Montreal my BFF (at the time) and I were friends with a music promoter and he gave us tickets to some shows and then we got to go backstage and meet the musicians and sometimes hang out (it must be noted we were not groupies in any way, shape or form – they disgusted us). One evening we were invited to after party with a very famous singer (I won’t say who) and he said something about liking Portuguese wine…so the very next day we decided to send him a bottle of Mateus tied with a ribbon and a note that we enjoyed the concert and the visit. We were not so wine savvy and that was the only Portuguese wine we knew of. We may not have impressed him but I’m sure it brought a smile to his face. We meant well. We didn’t break the bank either. We were young.
If only I could paintperiod like Vincent Van Gogh….if only I were a Robot
Technology is moving forward at lightening speeds and it always fascinates me as to what the next “thing” will be. The following is a recent article from International Business Times UK that I found intriguing but disturbing. I wonder how artists will feel about this.
Researchers from the University of Tubingen (in Germany) have developed an algorithm that allows an artificial neural network of computers to accurately learn how to paint just like famous artists.
Artificial neural networks are inspired by the human brain and are designed to simulate the way neurons behave when they are shown a sensory input, such as sound or images. Besides image recognition, the technology is being developed as a way to greatly improve weather predictions as well as medical diagnosis and detection of breast cancer.
Creating masterpieces in under an hour
But now German researchers have gone one step further, designing a deep learning computer algorithm that is able to distil and understand the essence of how a great masterpiece is painted, in terms of style, colours, technique and brush strokes.
When a photograph is fed to the computer, the computer can then turn the photo into an artistic painting using the painter’s signature style, be it the work of artists like Van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Picasso or JM Turner.
The algorithm teaches the computer how to identify and separate the style and the content of images, so while the buildings and layout of the image stayed the same, the colours, lines and “local structures” changed to emulate the famous work of art that had been imputed into the system.
Using a series of paintings that included Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, The Scream by Edvard Munch and The Shipwreck of the Minotaur by JMW Turner, the computer produced surprisingly beautiful results that still retained many elements from the original photograph.
No similar artificial system able to understand art
“In fine art, especially painting, humans have mastered the skill to create unique visual experiences through composing a complex interplay between the content and style of an image. Thus far the algorithmic basis of this process is unknown and there exists no artificial system with similar capabilities,” the researchers write.
“The system uses neural representations to separate and recombine content and style of arbitrary images, providing a neural algorithm for the creation of artistic images.”
The researchers concluded: “In light of the striking similarities between performance-optimised artificial neural networks and biological vision, our work offers a path forward to an algorithmic understanding of how humans create and perceive artistic imagery.”
What do you think about all this? Pretty amazing right?
What’s a FOODIE? We hear the word a lot but what does it really mean?
It started out innocently enough standing in line waiting to sample Torafuku’s slow braised ox tail and tomato ragout paired with Burrowing Owl Estate Winery’s Cabernet Franc. This was at the Chef Meets BC Grape Arts ClubFundraising evening at the Vancouver Convention Centre. My third year in a row and my sister was my date.
Minglingis all part of this evening and a gentleman in line ahead of me struck up a conversation or did I? can’t be sure, doesn’t matter. And then I tell this person I’m here because I’m a foodiedidn’t really want to say wino. He asks if I’ve been to the restaurant where we’re now waiting to sample food from called Torafuku. I say no, not yet. I cook at home a lot come to think of it. Then he asks if I’ve been to a few other fairly new trendy you’re nobody until you’ve been there places. I say no once again. He says “look, give me your booklet.” I hand it over and he scribbles down six restaurants all new to me, three of which are at this event (but it doesn’t count because we don’t get to choose from the menu). He then tells me “until you’ve been to all of these restaurants please do not refer to yourself as a Foodie.” So now I’m stuck because I pride myself on knowing a lot about food I think and I love to cook and thought a Foodie was someone who enjoyed good food, sophisticated or otherwise. No?
Then I looked up the word in wikipedia really?? which goes to explain:
A foodie is a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.
I don’t know what this guy is talking about….it describes me perfectly! Plus I eat out of convenience as well as being hungry!
Then I met a guy who represents “Dine Out Vancouver” and showed him my list of restaurants and asked him which ones he’d been to (restaurants seem to be popping up almost as fast as cannabis dispensaries – soon I won’t be able to keep up). He replied no, none of them so far. Ha! Sigh of relief mixed with disbelief on my part. Maybe I’m a food snob after all…which I really equated with being a Foodie all along. Here’s the real clue …I’ve been making bone marrow broth before it became a trend and didn’t even realize it.
Here were some of my favourite food/wine pairings that were at Chef meets BC Grape:
Chicha Restaurant served Coconut Scallop Ceviche on house made Amarillo Peruvian Chili Rice Crackers paired with BC VQA JoieFarm Winery Riesling 2013.
La Pentola Restaurant (the chef is really cute by the way which also garnered points for this) served Burrata with Grilled Peaches, Crispy Speck, Sungold Tomatoes, Basil semi-gel and Pickled Mustard Seeds (imagine going to the trouble of pickling mustard seeds?) paired with Maverick Estate Winery VQA Sauvignon Blanc 2014.
Tableau Bar Bistro served Pheasant Boudin blanc (oh; I scored a foodie point – I know what boudin is because I’ve been to New Orleans) with Organic Garlic Veloute (a rich French sauce), Sapphire Basil Pesto & Pine Mushrooms paired with Dirty Laundry Vineyards VQA Naughty Chardonnay 2013.
Provence Marinaside Restaurant served Lamb Sirloin slider, grey baby cheese (they didn’t say which kind only that it’s grey and I suppose real foodies would already know what kind), smoked tomato relish (imagine smoking a tomato?) & beet chip paired with Upper Bench VQA Estate Grown Merlot 2012.
The one that got away:
Lift Bar Grill View served Beet Juice Cured Wild Salmon Gravlax, Candy Cane Beets & Foraged Wild Mushroom paired with Haywire VQA Okanagan Crush Pad The Bub NV. I was told it was delicious.
Once again; take everything with a course grain of gourmet fleur de sel (unless that’s last year’s seasalt.
It’s never a good idea to double book appointments but you might have to if it means going to the opening of a swanky USA new to Canada flagship downtown department store called Nordstrom (don’t worry Holt Renfrew, we’ll still see you once in a while) and another event featuring Vancouver’s top chefs and award-winning winemakers joining forces to create mouth-watering plates perfectly paired with delicious, complex BC wines. Decisions, decisions. I try not to spread myself too thin but such is life!
Then there’s music and Argentine tango combined with soulful singing, haunting harmonica, and fabulous flautist (flute by lovely AstridSars– she produced this show). Last night at the Orpheum Annex (with an amazing sound system by the way) I witnessed a collaboration between Argentine Latin Grammy nominee María Volonté on guitar and vocals, and California harmonica player Kevin Carrel Footer. They call themselves the Blue Tango Project and they celebrate the deep spiritual bond where tango and the blues merge together. Their on tour one-stop in Vancouver show featured original songs mixed with oldies by Louis Armstrong & Leonard Cohen while scenes of Buenos Aires played on a projector in the background and an elegant tango couple (Deborah & Santiago I think they only have first names) appeared in a few sets. I’ve been to Buenos Aires twice so this was definitely tango magic! I’m looking to take a few privates soon….to brush up so to speak.
Last but certainly not least, Jack is Back! I don’t know for how long exactly but my little Jack Russell terrorior is staying and playing with me.
It should be a good long weekend.
XO LOVE XO
ChefmeetsBCGrape: I was too busy mingling and sampling to take many photos but the event was FABulous.