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We have added many new categories and additional features. Be sure to pop on over for a peek.

Chef Matthew and the Team @ Pro Chef 360

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Chef a Go Go Volume 1 Issue 5

Chef-a-Go-go Files


Volume 1 Issue 5- Monday August 11th, 2008


Wisdom of the Ancients


This is a continuation from the Chef Shane – The Culinary Globe Trotters’ feature article in the Chef-a-Go-go e-letter.




Give a few weeks in advance if possible to check for all the visa requirements, fees, and documentation, filling out, processing and submitting.

Check every aspect of the visa types available for your nationality – on all of the passports you hold.


Many countries issue visas on arrival or automatic 30 – 90 day visit visas for nationals of States with immigration treaties between them.
This is often free and instant. Book a ticket, and off you go.


As an Australian, I can visit many countries without the need for a visa, including Europe, Thailand, Singapore, UAE, and Egypt.


But I couldn’t go on a weekends notice to India due to visa requirements, and the same applies to China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan specifically in my case, and many more.


With some time on hand to take care of getting visas, having flexible dates for the best prices on tickets, and a bit of research, there won’t be any problems.

Visas are usually the biggest headache on any trip.


Check all the visa requirements and eligibility as not all nations are as fair and friendly at the airport as they are at the hotel.


If you somehow manage to show up at an airport of any country without the right entry permits, you are in for an ‘unwelcome experience’ in all senses of the phrase. And 90% of the time and expensive return flight.




Have a look at some travel sites or books and get the latest info on getting in and out of the country.


Many nations charge a tax or fee to enter, and another separate fee to depart.
Often, this is in a specific hard currency, and in a certain amount.

Even in these ‘enlightened times”  there are still horror stories of having no currency, or credit cards not accepted, or having the wrong currency, delaying departure and causing embarrassment.


As a rule, US dollars are generally pretty fluid resources, and take care of most departure tax issues, even though it is a bit low at the moment.



This usually applies to land border crossings where there is a checkpoint.

Some (most) border crossings are open 24 hours, but some of the more obscure ones in weird spots, miles from anywhere, have very specific and inflexible times for border crossings and visa processing.


Picture this – you, the intrepid explorer, jet off to a remote part of the globe, and after donning a safari suit, getting some dreadlocks, upgrading the piercings, and buying a copy of “lonely planet”, you head off to book your cheap bus/ samlor/ donkey-ride ticket to some God-forsaken place in the middle of nowhere that even the map sounds unsure of.


After a dusty, bumpy, gruelling 17 hour trip that takes you 673km into what looks like a war zone, or the movie set for “Predator”, you find the border crossing shut for the night.


You bathe yourself in D.E.E.T. and sleep with a baseball bat, with which to fend off mosquitoes the size of fruit bats.


Local mafia assess your value and size, whilst accomplished rip-off merchants have systems in place to make sure you have to avail yourself of their services over the next 12-18 hours.


Eventually, after a rough night and an abrasive morning, you get yourself down to the border crossing post again, looking like an extra off “Lost”, and get refused an exit stamp as you only have local currency and there is no ATM or bank………….unless you take that 17 hour trip back.


It CAN happen.




Many of us work for hotels, so we should know the tricks – we probably even helped implement them!


Bear in mind that booking ahead a month online can save pennies – many websites offer discounted rates at hotels.


As chefs, many of us get screwed on breakfast rates. Give a great brekkie and get very little money for it.


Well, when YOU stay in a hotel with a great brekkie product, GET IT INCLUDED IN YOUR ROOM RATE!


Let THEIR chef worry about your penchant for gypsy ham, smoked salmon and truffled scrambled eggs!




Before looking for the most affordable room rate, factor in:


  • Taxi/ tuk tuk/ bus etc to and from where you are likely to be spending your time. It can get expensive getting backwards and forwards, and can often make sense to pay a bit more on room rate for a better location that suits your needs and desires.
  • Breakfast and any other included F&B.
  • Movies – are they free, or pay per view?
  • Laundry and mini bar – OK folks, we’ve been screwing the public for years. Now that we ARE the public, see if the in-house services rates are affordable, OR look for a bag wash service, a per kg laundry service, or somewhere handy but outside the hotel to get your drinks, food, phone calls and laundry.
  • Taxi fare from airport.


Looking at all the above, you might find that the more expensive room rate gives you a better experience and less overall cost than the cheaper one.

FINDING OUT ABOUT YOUR HOTEL – this is the biggest, and the most influential site with lots of traveller reviews, photos and tips. It also has average prices paid by different travellers for the same hotels and rooms.


FINDING OUT ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION JUST AWESOME. You gotta spend some time playing with this whether you travel or not!


This amazing software gives you views of 100% of the planet earth with zoom function from space, right down to 20 metres above ground level.

You can view in 3D or 2D, and search or save by GPS, name, business, attraction, hotel or location.


You can fly over the world; look as a satellite view or map view, or even a hybrid view.

This is a real time waster, and is just fascinating.


A GREAT resource for travel research!


Google say: Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings and even explore galaxies in the Sky. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places and share with others.”




Just back to luggage for a second.


We have already gone over methods of packing lightly, in order to save on baggage charges.


Another issue is airline, and ticket price.


To generalise, most “normal” airlines give you a 20kg baggage allowance. These are usually the “full price – full service” airlines.


If you get offered free beer, wine, spirits, full dinner, movies, peanuts and meals on the flight, then you can normally take 20kg as check in luggage at no extra cost.

NOW – Airlines are very much under pressure, financially and otherwise.
Prices are high and competition fierce.


They NEED to make money.


As a rule, the check-in staff is able to make allowances for extra kg at no cost.


They are also expected to charge mercilessly for every gram of excess weight.

You can NORMALLY get away with an extra 5kg with 90% of these airlines – they’ll wave it through without too much persuasion.


29kg is getting a bit cheeky, but can be done with the right approach.


30kg or more, you’d better be persuasive, or have your wallet handy.


I have heard great stories of getting free excess baggage. Complete breakdowns, litres of tears, frenzied sobbing and collapsing in a heap and weeping tend to be at the top of the list.


A gentle, meek, distraught, traumatised ‘shell-shock” look can often do the trick too, if accompanied by personal pleas for mercy.


Aggressive and rude posturing, and loss of temper rarely gets you anywhere – often it guarantees a bad experience, from the rest of the airline staff, so try and be nice, and also creative.


A wee bribe can often get things sorted in the right way.


In Kazakhstan I had 110kg excess baggage, and after a surreal 20 minutes at the check in counter, I ended up having to follow their ‘system’ and wheel my bags into the toilet, meet a guy in overalls in a rear cubicle, and hand over $300 in cash to get my $500 excess baggage charges “waived”.


Seriously, this gets very “Monty Python” in some airports.


If you MUST pay, then you can often unpack at check-in, then take the heavier stuff out, and carry it on with you in plastic shopping bags. This can reduce the cost a bit.


A cheaper option is to find the “Unaccompanied baggage” counter and send it on a separate flight. Normally arrives within 24 hours of your arrival at the next airport, and costs 50-60% of the price, saving you a few coins.




I actually LIKE budget airlines.


As a rule, they are neat, no frills, on time and inexpensive.


Most have a refreshing attitude and an even more refreshing “lack of bullshit”


They also have easy online booking, great fare structures and some great destinations.

On the negative side, the tickets can be horribly inflexible once booked, little or no refund, and the baggage allowance is only 15kg with most.


That is, 15kg.


Not 15.1kg – that will cost you money. And you will end up getting frustrated and having a fight, as the budget airlines are on a mission to reduce costs and make money – even more so than the big boys.


This is REALLY annoying, and it is quite bizarre as well.


I had 23kg once. I had to repack 4 times until I got 14.9kg to check in. I ended up carrying on 6 bags – I looked like a bloody pack-horse, so I actually ended up inconveniencing the whole plane by struggling on and holding up boarding – along with the other hundred passengers who were also struggling with hand luggage.

The same weight went up in the air, but everyone had saved face, and everyone had “only 15kg” checked in.


Pointing out the lack of logic in this will rarely get your extra 5kg checked in.

I ALWAYS take a few plastic shopping bags with me when checking into budget airlines, just in case you need to take some stuff out.




In my experience, don’t go for the bags you want.


Go for the most secure, lightweight, functional ones that suit your needs.


If you are a fashion victim, buy whatever designer label takes your fancy. You can afford it.


  • Don’t get black, or bland standard colours or shapes – get something that is easy to recognise and hard for someone else to steal without you noticing (or mistake for their own). It makes life easier when you are searching for it amongst 800 others bags on a packed conveyor belt.
  • Get a LIGHT bag or case. You only get 20kg allowance. 15 on the budget airlines. If your bag is 12kg already, then you will have to take it everywhere empty
  • Size – If you have wads of cash, and love throwing it at airlines, get whatever bag you want. If you never want to pay excess baggage, then get a bag that fits about 20kg, so you are not tempted to over pack.
  • If you want to take my tip with carrying everything on, then get the right sized bags. Backpacks and small bags with wheels and handles are pretty convenient. When I am feeling cheeky, I normally get away with a hefty backpack, a laptop in a bag, my camera, a small utility backpack, and a miscellaneous plastic bag. Remember – no liquids in any container size over 100ml allowed in carry-on these days.
  • Portability. Make sure it is easy to handle and move around. Avoid awkward sizes and shapes, and things with only one handle. If it has wheels, and the ability to lift, turn and drag then it should be OK.
  • Security. Firstly, NEVER check in valuables. ALWAYS carry on your mobile phone, camera, laptops, hard drives and important document.
    It is VERY easy to split the zip on soft bags and remove the contents – and due to drugs and terrorism, the bags are always scanned. You can imagine your chances of seeing your new camera, blackberry or laptop again.
  • Hard bags cost you luggage space, as they are normally heavier.
    I always pack clothes and stuff in a soft light bag with wheels and handle giving me maximum available room and weight for my luggage.
    ALWAYS lock your bags securely, and check them well before checking in and after picking up. Alarm bells should go off if any locks are tampered or broken.
  • It is SO easy for anybody to slip drugs or contraband into unlocked bags for smuggling, and if you get caught, it is jail for a very long time. Don’t take the risk.
  • NEVER leave bags unattended.
  • NEVER look after, or carry someone else’s bags. The oldest trick in the book for smuggling. Even if you feel sorry for them and they don’t have money to check their bags – Don’t do it. If you get caught with the unknown contents of the bag you ‘help out with’, it can cost you 20 years in a foreign prison, or even a hanging or a beheading. Be SURE of what is in your bags, keep them locked and secure, and watch them like a hawk at all times.


Yibbida Yibbida – that’s all for today folks.
I’m off to Phuket in 3 hours, and yes, I take most of my own advice because I got my degree in travel from the International School of Hard Knocks.

I’m packed, ready to waddle onboard festooned with bags like some sort of obese Xmas Tree.
Feedback, responses and extra info very welcome.
We’d love to have some of your own anecdotes, stories and experiences to share with the network.


If you feel that more could be added to a topic or extra info that is relevant, please send by email to


Be sure to check back for the regular blog postings from Chef Shane.

Going for Gold

I take this opportunity to offer my sincere moral support to everybody involved with the Beijing Olympic Games.

May the greatest of successes come before you? Cherish the moments- the memories will be everlasting.

There will be bumps and grinds along the way, along with many hours of hard work.

Push yourself to the line. The rewards and accolades will follow in one form or another.

I was lucky enough to be involved with Olympiad held in Sydney, in the year of 2000.

I can assure you that to this day there are many vivid memories deep in my mind.

Go get em’

Chef Matthew J.G.

Passionate Chef of the Week- Chef Burges Chinoy

You will find the beginning of this interview in the Pro Chef 360 Weekly Wrap e-letter- if you would like to receive your personal copy of the e-letter please contact Chef Matthew J.G.

ProChef360- If you did not become a chef what career do you think you would have aligned with?

Chef Burges- My desire to explore and go beyond boundaries would have either led me into project development roles or maybe into a shipping profession.

ProChef360- What inspires you?

Chef Burges- Tenacity and a never say die attitude in all aspects of life. Very frankly there are two sayings I live by: “Some men see things as they are and ask WHY? I dream of things that never were and say WHY NOT?”

“Do what you do, be what you are.

Shine like a Glow worm; If not like a Star”

ProChef360- Who is your favorite chef?

Chef Burges- Marco Pierre White. His insistence and importance on ingredients is unequalled. His food is simple but complicated. This says a lot about him and his personality. In addition his belief of “Chefs are commis first and then Chefs” is something to follow.

ProChef360- Is there a particular ingredient that you really do not like?

Chef Burges- Anything unnatural or harmful to health.

ProChef360- To date what is your favourite memory from the kitchen?

Chef Burges- The busiest day of my life; when there were floods and only 7 staff could reach it to work as opposed to the scheduled 42. The occupancy was running at 100% in the 575 room hotel. The restaurants were chocker block FULL. I worked almost 72 hours nonstop but at the end it was one of those everlasting memories.

ProChef360- What do you do to relax yourself?

Chef Burges- Speed is what drives me. My favourite way to relax myself is to go on a long drive or a long ride late in the night with the wind in my face listening to METALLICA.

The parting words- why don’t you leave the audience

with a sentence or two to ponder over?

Chef Burges- The world may think us, Chefs to be crude and insane, however I pity them for they will never know the recipe to take a humans basic necessity “FOOD” to a level of ecstasy equaled by none.

It is just simply MAGIC.

ProChef360- Thank you for sharing your views and opinions with the readers.

Chef Burges would like to share the following recipes with us.

Curry Cappuccino with Lemongrass


Recipe by Chef Burges Chinoy

Serves: 4


100 ml  Noilly Pratt                                          

50 ml  Port Wine

80 ml  White Wine

5 sticks Lemongrass

2 gr  Lemon rind

20 gr  Onion

5 gr  Garlic

300 ml  Fish stock

300 ml Cream

10 gr   Curry powder

10 gr   Yellow Thai curry paste

1   Granny Smith apple

½   Pineapple

½   Banana

60 gr  Salted butter


Reduce the Noilly Pratt, Port Wine, White Wine along with the lemon grass until reduced by half.

In a pan, saute the onions, garlic, curry paste, curry powder, along with the chopped fruits.

Cover this with the fish stock and bring to the boil

Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, blend and then strain.

Add the reduced alcohol to the blended mixture and heat.

Add the lemon rind and cream.

Remove from the heat prior to getting too hot.

With a hand held blender, foam it and serve hot in a cup garnished with lemon grass skewer prawns.

Curry, Soup, Chef Burges Chinoy

Lamb Biryani

Recipe by Chef Burges Chinoy

Serves: 10


1000 gr Biryani rice

1500 gr Lamb

60 gr  Ghee

250 ml Vegetable oil

50 gr  Ginger- minced

30 gr  Garlic- minced

250 gr   Brown onions

12 gr  Cinnamon stick

For Garam Masala:

15 gr  Shahi zeera

10 gr  Cloves

5 gr    Green cardamom powder

250 gr   Curd

25 gr  Green chilli paste

20 gr  Khova

15 ml  Cream

250 ml Milk

40 gr   Coriander

40 gr   Mint

10 gr   Green chilli paste

6 each Green chilli- split in half

25 ml  Lime juice

20 gr   Raw papaya peel

For Boiling Rice:

50 gr   Salt

8 gr     Cloves

5 gr     Green cardamom

10 gr   Shahi zeera

12 gr   Cinnamon stick

20 gr   Ginger garlic paste


Wash and soak the rice in water for one hour.

Apply salt, papaya peel, minced ginger, minced garlic and garam masala to the pre cut lamb.

Mix the greens and marinate for a 2- 3 hours.

In the mean time fry the sliced onions until golden brown and allow to cool.

Mix the curd, lime juice, fried onions and oil. Add to the marinated meat and keep on the side.

In a cooking handi (traditional heavy bottomed pot) boil 3 litres water with salt and garam masala. Drain the water

Add the rice to the boiling water and bring to a rapid boil, drain the water, spread the rice on the meat. Mix cream and milk along with 100 ml of the drained rice water. Pour over the rice and meat evenly.

Seal the edges of the container with aluminum foil and cook on high heat until it starts to steam.

Cook on dum (traditional Indian method of cooking by covering and simmering on a very slow flame) for approximately 30 minutes, remove from heat and leave covered for a further lid be till another 30 minutes.

Mix the desi ghee (pure ghee) with the biryani and serve.

Lamb, Rice, Main Course, Indian, Chef Burges Chinoy

Pro Chef 360- Chef Training Resources Platform

An Introduction

The Pro Chef 360- Chef Training Resources Platform is being created by numerous chefs from all corners of the globe. The platform is currently being developed via an internet based open source.

The Pro Chef 360- Chef Training Resources Platform is destined to become the Number “1” resource for online chef related training activities.

It is a result of culinary passion and professionalism, along with the knowledge and skills gained from many years of hands on experience.

The idea behind the development of the Pro Chef 360- Chef Training Resources Platform is to provide a centralised focal point whereby various documents can be housed for you the professional chef to formulate their own training courses.

The various documents will provide you with inspiration and assist you in the daily operation of “Your Kitchen“. The data is by no means exhaustive; we will continue to build upon the portfolio as time passes by. In addition the information housed within will be updated as and when required.

The purpose of the training material is to give the culinary associates of this day and age an insight into the overall process within the kitchen operation. It will provide the required basic fundamentals to be successful.

Each and every culinary team member within the industry is an important part of every meal served and each guest’s experience within the various properties and establishments all over the world.

We as professional culinary practitioners take great pride in the quality of the food along with the cleanliness and efficiency or our kitchens.

The high standards can only be maintained through great people who share similar values and desire to do the very best job possible for the guests every day.

We will establish guidelines to assist in our efforts to present these qualities to our guest’s. Along with the hands-on experience provided, the subject matter within the Pro Chef 360- Chef Training Resources Platform will provide answers to questions that your trainee’s may have regarding the day to day operational procedures within the culinary domain.

Further details in relation to the Pro Chef 360- Chef Training Resources Platform will be provided as they become available.

Chef-a-Go-go Volume 1 Issue 4


Volume 1 Issue 4- Monday August 4th, 2008


Reality e-letter


This is a continuation from the Chef Shane – The Culinary Globe Trotters’ feature article in the Chef-a-Go-go e-letter.


At the moment, Matthew is thinking the worst, cementing his “Chef’s frown” into place as he imagines me lying back surrounded by empty Angkor cans and admiring women.


In actual fact I am in an internet café, and only through choice of abode.

In my last place in Bangkok we had Wi-Fi throughout the building, so I could often work, play, tease, communicate, do business and move my finances in between buying food from street vendors, having a beer with friends, or watching a movie.


There are a lot of ways to benefit from “globalisation” whether you eat at McDonalds or not.

Staying in touch, getting and using money, phoning home, taking pictures, it has all changed.




I used to love having the email address and web space from my internet provider at home, but moving house or suburb often meant changing email address. As did changing internet provider.


In the old days, email on your home account was faster, more secure and with fewer limitations. Now it is the other way around.

There are some great options with web based email these days, and you can keep the same email address no matter how many times you move or change providers.


What is web mail?


Quite simply, email that you have to check on the internet.


The big ones are Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo.


I personally have used all 3 and recommend Gmail as it is the most reliable and functional with the most generous features and the fewest limits.


Gmail also offers free “Documents”- which allows you to view spreadsheets and word documents on any computer – even if it doesn’t have office software.


It also links to your blog, your online photo albums, your newsreader and rss feed reader, and your personal webpage.


Hotmail and Yahoo are also massively popular


What you are looking for with web based email:

  • Fast loading and simple. Not too much fancy stuff
  • Reliable and easy to use
  • Large size limit for attachments (at least 2MB each. Better if it is 5 or 10MB ea)
  • Large storage space (more than 5GB)
  • It’s good if you can combine mail accounts, or check all accounts together


A lot of web based email allows you to download it to your computer or open/ check it with you usual email software (often Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird, etc).


This means you can use your webmail as if it were “normal” email and store it on your computer.


Other web mail allows you to check all of your email accounts through your single webmail account.


Why email?


Instant, accurate and flexible, email zaps across the globe in a split second and is adaptable to your needs.


It is also FREE.


It is easy to format and make text smaller or larger.


You can add sound to your email, and attach photos, videos and voice files.

You can link to a web album to show your photos instantly, but MORE importantly, a good free web email address serves as a constant point of contact for us, remaining stable even as we change jobs, houses, phone numbers, fax numbers, countries and more.




In the good old days, one could either be a wastrel and burn rolls of film on a whim – or camera shy, clicking only the most special moments.


Digital photography has eliminated the need for expensive film and developing, and allows relentless snapping and excessive experimentation with no financial penalties or disincentives.


I like to use mine for food shots at work, and other shots elsewhere.

Think about your usage and pinpoint the right model for you.


What to look for:


5 megapixel + – this is how many ‘dots’ make up the image, if one were to break it down into the crudest possible explanation. The more the merrier. Over 8 is a bit excessive and gives huge file sizes (fills up your computer with big photos more quickly). Less than 4 is lacking in detail.


Good quality lens this makes a big difference to the image quality, and NOT the brand.


Long Battery Life – I ALWAYS buy a second battery, it just isn’t negotiable. You WILL run out of battery at a crucial moment. Choose a camera with good battery life and buy 2 batteries and you will always be ready to go.


Zoom – Forget digital zoom. The optical zoom is the only one worth using. 3x zoom is standard on all cameras, 7x is standard for big cameras, 10-12x is very good if you can get it. A big zoom means a big lens, and a big lens can’t fit in a very small camera, so this is a trade-off right here – size for zoom.

Zoom is one of the most used features. Realistically, if you get a high definition compact camera, you can “zoom” by cropping the image in Photoshop or Picasa, but it is not the best or most efficient way.


Buy for your needs If you don’t know much about cameras and don’t want to, then buy a compact – a small camera with mainly automated features.

If you want to take pictures anywhere and everywhere, also buy a compact.

These small cameras fit in a pocket and can be whipped out with OK results almost anywhere.


Check the performance on night time or low light shots. I have problems there.


If you want to play around with settings, be artistic, or do some more advanced photography, have a look at digital SLR cameras, or there cousins with most of the features of a manual camera but slightly condensed.


Now you can get the same results as with film, and choose all settings as you would with a regular SLR camera.


Of course, if you get a semi professional camera, or one with a big zoom, it will be a LARGER camera which makes it less discreet and more difficult to carry and use.


Review it online


After you have the photos:


Software which is free and easy to use.


Even YOU can make your photos look good with Picasa.


The best features here – red eye removal, instant auto-fix with “I’m feeling lucky” and the amazing “straighten” tool which is easy and effective.


Another essential feature is the “export” function and the “email” function which lets you resize your photos for whatever purpose you want with 2 clicks.


Or – email the photos you have selected with one click, and it automatically makes them the right size and sends them off through your Gmail account.


You can also organize photos on your computer with Picasa, and store them online and share with friends – or not.


Web Albums


Emailing photos


PLEASE re size your photos if you email them.


Many people have limited speed connections, or in the case of Chefs, limited patience.


Photos directly from your camera are LARGE. They should be 2-5MB each.


If you attach 5 photos it can be 10MB and too large to send.


Using basic photo software to send or resize your photos makes them large enough to fill a computer screen in vivid colour and detail, but small enough to send and download quickly.


A solution to this if you WANT people to get the big hi def photos is to put full size photos on your web album on the  internet, and invite selected friends to view them, (or make the album public so anyone can access it, as you prefer).


Then the people viewing the photos can look at a small version, and download the full size pictures at their own pace.




Those travellers’ cheques were always a hassle in the old days.


Cash was even worse.


Now we need only have our trusty ATM card or credit card in order to get cash overseas.


Bank ATM’s overseas


Bear in mind that the safest way to travel is with one or two CREDIT CARDS even if you do not wish to use the credit facility on them.


When you need funds it is faster, cheaper and easier to use the ATM than it is to queue in a money exchange.


The notes are crisp and clean, and the exchange rate is better than shopping around.


An ATM will usually accept visa and mastercard, and most major bank network ATM cards from around the world.


Definitely the cheapest and most convenient option.


CAUTION about having ONE source of funds.


If you have one card and it is lost or damaged, it can cause inconvenience.

Also – some debit cards and smaller bank debit facilities are not available in entire networks overseas.


A credit card allows you to use the ATM for debit and credit transactions as a rule, with the usual daily limit that applies in your home country.


You also have the option of taking an over the counter advance (in person, with passport as ID) against your credit card which is exempt from your daily limit.


If you are in a lesser known country with rare currency, don’t bring too much of it outside that country as you may not be able to change it back easily.

As many of us work in hotels, there is no need to say never exchange your money in hotels – the rates are exorbitant.


In the shit?



Western Union and Thomas Cook do international money exchanges at varying rates, so it is always possible to get and receive money overseas with or without banks and cards.


You basically need an ID and the cash.


You give the cash, your ID, and then the name of the recipient and any ID or security required.


The receiver goes into the exchange, quotes the reference number, shows ID and walks out with the money at the other end.


Western Union advertise “15 minutes” from one place in the world to another, but it can be up to an hour or two to fill out the forms, queue and get the transaction completed, so if you are in the snow at a kiosk in Moscow waiting for cash from grant to buy warm clothes, there could be trouble.


Also consider that many Muslim countries have Friday off and most others normally Saturday and Sunday, so already 3 days are difficult for same day transactions.


Most of these exchanges operate 7 days – although hours do depend on each branch and country.


Instead of currency


In the old days you could swap bottles of Black label Scotch or a pair of Levis for almost anything.


These days, even gold is hard to unload without hassles.


If you are having currency hassles between countries, carry USD$ or Euros.

Every country will be able to swap these two into local currency.




Matthew has now been put at ease.


I was grinning at this end, thinking of him pounding his fists on the table as he searched for me online, trying to get this completed e-letter from me.


I was on “invisible” on Gmail, but saw he was there and tapped out “Hi” and seconds later he had responded.


And that is just checking webmail.


IM or instant messaging is excellent, and the main ones are again Yahoo, Hotmail/ Microsoft and Google.


Google’s Gmail has instant chat on the Gmail window, so whenever you check your email you can see your friends/ colleagues/ family/ enemies and chat with them at will. No software is required on the computer you are using, but it only allows you to chat with others if they also have Gmail and are in your address book.


Yahoo and Windows both have IM programs of their own, called “messenger”

These are a little different, in that you need the IM program to be installed on the computer you are using before you can chat.


MOST internet cafes have both yahoo and windows messenger, and once you install on your own computer, that’s all you have to do.


You have to download the program.


You can even use this new IM called ebuddy which combines all the programs together and lets you chat with anybody on any messaging program you link up with.


There are a few programs which combine different IM programs together.


Phoning Home


Very much like our friend “E.T.”, we can find ourselves overseas feeling a little estranged and out of touch.


As I was, last month in Bangkok munching nam sausage in between job interviews and reassuring calls to and from friends and family.


In the old days those wily telecom providers held our tender parts in their greedy hands, controlling every word through a breathtakingly arrogant pricing structure.


Since the internet, VOIP or “voice over internet protocol” has meant an opportunity for free or cheap phone calls and this is no longer a futuristic dream.


One company leads the market – SKYPE.


Skype is a small efficient piece of software which you download, set up and run on your computer.


To use its basic features, you need a microphone and headphones.

To use its video call feature you need a web camera.


Pricing is great.


To call anybody from your computer to their computer it is totally free for chat, voice phone calls, and video calls.


You can even do conference calls with more than two callers at once (like a group chat).


Both computers must have Skype.


If the other computer does NOT have Skype, or if there IS no other computer, you can use Skype to send and SMS or make a phone call to a landline phone, or a mobile phone anywhere in the world.


This is a charged service, but at a fraction of normal phone rates.


You need to open an account with Skype, and buy credit to make calls to phones.


It saves a fortune, and allows high quality, frequent calls for whatever purpose suits you.


Video call is GREAT for a couple of groups to hook up or for teams of old colleagues catching up, or to have a long lingering chat with that distant spouse or childhood chum.


Please Note- At the time of publication the above links were operational. I offer my sincere apologies in advance if you have trouble accessing the full story via the links provided.


Safe travelling,


Chef Shane – The Culinary Globe Trotter

Passionate Chef of the Week August 1 2008

Heinz Klenner

You will find the beginning of this interview in the ProChef360 Weekly Wrap e-letter- if you would like to receive your personal copy of the e-letter please contact Chef Matthew J.G.








I began by asking Chef Heinz;

ProChef360- Were you destined to become a chef?

Chef Heinz- For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be in the kitchen working as a chef, growing up as a child I had a great passion for cooking.

ProChef360- Can you offer a few words of advice for the chefs of tomorrow?

Chef Heinz- Be focused, work hard, learn as much as you can from good experienced chefs and do not think anything will be given to you for free.

I dislike young chefs, who think they can cook because they went to USD 36,000 per year schools, and think they will be stars on TV without the necessary experience.

Last but certainly not least, do not take shortcuts.

ProChef360- What are you hobbies and spare time interests?

Chef Heinz- I enjoy like photography, skiing and sailing, in addition I am about to make my scuba diving license.

ProChef360- What do you eat for breakfast?

Chef Heinz- Usually just a coffee or two.

ProChef360- What were your favorite foods as a child?

Chef Heinz- I grew up in the Austrian countryside on a family owned winery, I enjoyed most foods and still do. My favorites from my childhood are old Austrian home-style classics like Tafelspitz (Boiled Beef) and Kaiserschmarrn (Caramelised Pancake).

ProChef360- If you had one wish, what would it be?

Chef Heinz- I would like to have my own small place where I grew up, something like a 40 seat restaurant- a place where I can cook as I want without having to worry about the financial aspects. This wish is more than likely feasible for the last part of my career.

The parting words- why don’t you leave the audience

with a sentence or two to ponder over?

Chef Heinz- I have met many great chefs over the course of my career so far; consequently I am grateful to have worked with them and learnt as much as I possibly could. The bottom line is that it is the experience which makes us qualified, valuable, and distinctive.

ProChef360- Thank you for your time Heinz. It is nice of you to share your views and opinions with the readers.

Chef Heinz would like to share the following recipes with us.



Gazpacho Jelly with Baby Mozzarella

Recipe by Heinz Klenner

4 servings


80 gr baby mozzarella

12 pcs cherry tomato

20 gr basil pesto

20 gr black olive tapenade

40 gr rocket leaves

40 gr red onion

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

80 ml balsamic vinegar

20 gr brown sugar

50 gr toasted Focaccia bread

Gazpacho Jelly (recipe)

50 gr vine tomato

1 clove garlic

20 gr red onion

20 gr ea red and green peppers

20 gr cucumber

20 ml olive oil

10 ml sherry vinegar

gelatine (take 8 sheets to the litre)

5 peeled almonds soaked in milk


Day 1

Prepare a gazpacho with the mentioned ingredients, season to taste. Make sure to add the almonds and oil last, to ensure a smooth consistency is achieved

Dissolve the gelatine and add to the gazpacho- chill overnight in a shallow flat bottom rectangle dish

Marinate the halved baby mozzarella with the pesto, refrigerate overnight as well

Poach the cherry tomatoes in herb oil @ 70 degrees Celsius until the skin pops off (usually takes 45 minutes) drain and chill. Reduce the balsamic vinegar with the brown sugar to have paint like consistency and chill

Day 2

Cut the gazpacho jelly into stripes (see above photo) just to have enough space to arrange the baby mozzarella halves on top

Trim the toasted slice of Focaccia toast to size, spread with the tapenade, top off with rocket leaves and red onion rings

Garnish with the balsamic reduction using a paintbrush. Give a grind of black pepper

Lastly add the poached cherry tomatoes. (looks a lot better on the bunch)



Pan Fried Fillets of Red Snapper, Mussel Veloute, Sautéed Baby Spinach

Recipe by Heinz Klenner

4 servings


4 fillets red snapper- 180 gr each

80 gr peeled mussels

60 gr carrots, diced

50 gr asparagus spears

40 gr kipfler (la ratte) potatoes, diced

50 gr peeled, deseeded cucumber, diced

60 ml cream

100 ml fish stock (seasoned)

80 gr baby spinach leaves

5 gr rice flour





salt and pepper to taste


Cut the snapper fillets into 8 pieces, score if necessary, season with salt and pepper

Pan fry in a hot pan with a little olive oil, pad dry, set aside

Blanch the mussels, carrots, asparagus, and potatoes separately, chill

Bring the fish stock to the boil, add the cream and allow to reduce

Heat some butter in a pan, add the rice flour and pour in the boiling fish stock mixture to get a smooth veloute

Season the veloute with saffron, salt, pepper, and chopped parsley, add the mussels, carrots, asparagus, and potatoes, bring it to simmer

Sauté the spinach with some butter, season with salt and pepper

To serve pour the veloute onto a deep plate, top with the sautéed spinach and the red snapper, garnish with some dill

Happy Cooking!!!