Monday, October 13, 2014

A Case of Questions with Rob Shipman, Former Executive Chef at Almyra and Annabelle Hotels, Paphos

I'm always late to the party. For many months, I had been telling The Wife, Ph.D., to go check out Chef Rob Shipman's omakase menu at Almyra Hotel in Paphos. Life, however, kept getting in the way. So a few weeks ago I wrote Rob to see whether he'd be interested in partaking in the blog's "Case of Questions" only to find out that he'd moved to Morocco to head a new Asian-Mediterranean restaurant called Kasai. Rob has a brilliant trajectory in the world of Asian cuisine; he's worked for Hilton International in Japan, headed the kitchen at London's acclaimed Michelin-starred Nobu, and cooked for celebrities like Bobby De Niro, Leo DiCaprio, Naomi Campbell, Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver. Cyprus was lucky to have him around and I hope I get to catch him in action on his next sojourn to the island.

Why wine?

CRS: Firstly, why not wine? And, secondly, the world would not be the same without it!

First wine that really captured your attention? How old were you?

CRS: It was a vintage Montrachet [that I sampled] when I was working at Nobu. Three thousand pounds a bottle. I was thirty-five years old, I think.

All-time favourite bottle of wine?

Favourite wine-producing region? Why?

CRS: Burgundy. World-class red and white wines and they rock!

Your favourite food-and-wine pairing?

CRS: Montrachet and white truffle.


What is Cyprus missing when it comes to wine?

CRS: It's missing pedigree. But now there are many winemakers who really care. I think Cyprus is experiencing a wine renaissance.

What do you foresee for Cyprus’s wine industry?

CRS: I think we will see more fine wines. However, I think it will be difficult to compete with the international market due to the quantities produced and other economic reasons.

What do you enjoy most about your work in the food & wine world?

CRS: Passion!

What is your “Five Year Plan” for your business?

CRS: Growth!

Who is your favourite wine personality? Why?

CRS: George Kassianos, Chief Sommelier at Thanos Hotels, Paphos.

Any embarrassing episodes involving spilled wine, corkscrews, sommeliers or drunken behaviour?

CRS: I drank fifteen bottles of wine with a guest that had my omakase menu. We left the restaurant at 4:30 am. I woke up floating in the swimming pool!

Of course, your all-time favourite island  wine?

CRS: Kyperounda Petritis.

You can find Chef Rob, who goes by The Food Guy, on Facebook and on Twitter. He works his culinary magic at Kasai in Casablanca, Morocco.

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