James Roy Oakley
Chef at Armani Aqua
I wonder, how many are there Chefs in the world, who don’t think their dishes are the best and the most interesting, and restaurant they work at is the only one which is worth of visiting? Oh no, I’m more modest. My name is James Roy Oakley. I am an Executive Chef at the Armani/Aqua Restaurant in Hong Kong. Our customers are beautiful people with zest for life.
As you might guess, I was born not in Asia, but in windy England. If you want to send me a postcard on occasion of my birthday, please do it on 16 April, I’ll be 30.
I was born a Chef. Well, almost. Since I was a child, when I had problems reaching a sink and a stove, I told to my granny: ‘I want to be a chef!’ We used to cook together quite often. And my real work in the kitchen started when I was 14 (I had already become good at reaching different kitchen worktops then). I washed plates, cups and forks. So one can say I started from the bottom, and I had to gnaw my way through with labour and persistence.
I always enjoyed cooking and I wanted to become Chef for as long as I can remember. And I never paid attention to those who said otherwise. Yes, industry professionals advised me to give up this idea. But I was sure. And I became Chef when I was 16.
What’s my favourite food? And here’s paradox: I like to eat Japanese cuisine, but my favourite cooking techniques are classical French. They are the «heart» of my skills and I’ll always have them in my hands, brain and soul.
French food is, of course, very appetizing, but it’s just not my style. And I love Japanese cuisine for its fantastic flavours, techniques and healthy style.
In Aqua, I use western cooking techniques to cook Japanese dish. So, this work is ideal for me. And it’s in harmony with my gustatory and kitchenary tastes. I’m lucky!
Sometimes, people think that chefs have no personal life. I work 6 days a week in a restaurant, and I also practice muay thai (kick boxing). Every morning I am in the gym at 7am. I don’t want to be a typical chef from cartoons – constantly eating and with big belly. That’s why I keep fit.
Sometimes, it seems that it’s enough for a person having only 24 hours a day. But… I also have my sweet family. I have a beautiful wife and a wonderful six month old daughter – I wake up with these thoughts in the morning, and they make me happy. Only then I go to gym and in the restaurant, only after I spend morning with my favourite girls.
The dish in the photo is Turkish delight. It is very tasty!
2/F Chater House, 8 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong
Fashion house Giorgio Armani and Aqua Group created a place with a pronounced flavour of delight. Italian and Japanese cuisine ‘haute couture’ in elegant interior at the very heart of Hong Kong. Relax, smile a bit and enjoy combination of tastes from two cuisines, as well as the way they’re served, and Armani atmosphere itself.