The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

AWARD-WIN­NING chef Gio­vanni Spe­ciale has worked in Italy, Corfu, Lon­don and Sar­dinia and, for the past 13 years, in Asian cities such as Bangkok, Hong Kong and Manila. He is now ex­ec­u­tive sous chef at the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel, Shang­hai. Spe­ciale is pas­sion­ate about tai chi, which he prac­tises daily, and nom­i­nates Italy, Bali, Chi­ang Mai, Langkawi and Ja­pan (for ‘‘ art­form’’ cui­sine) as his favourite des­ti­na­tions. www.foursea­ For ap­parel, it’s Dolce & Gab­bana, Gucci and Prada. I favour th­ese la­bels not be­cause they’re Ital­ian-made but for the qual­ity, cut and fit plus the sim­plic­ity and prac­ti­cal­ity. www.dol­cegab­;; SAL­VA­TORE FER­RAG­AMO; TOD’S I ad­mit I’m a shoe junkie and be­lieve in in­vest­ing in a very good pair that will last. www.sal­va­tore­fer­rag­; FOUR SEA­SONS, CHI­ANG MAI Work­ing for Four Sea­sons has en­abled me to en­joy other prop­er­ties in the group. Of those I have seen in my 13 years with Four Sea­sons, my favourite is at Chi­ang Mai in north­ern Thai­land. It is calm and peace­ful, in beau­ti­ful sur­round­ings; when­ever I visit, I’m in­spired to rise early for hours and hours of tai chi prac­tice. www.foursea­­ang­mai. THE LEVENDOME, BANGKOK This French restau­rant in the heart of Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road serves Proven­cal cui­sine in the re­lax­ing am­bi­ence of an old Thai house with land­scaped gar­den. It is very pretty. www.lev­en­domer­estau­ I AL­WAYS PACK A com­fort­able pair of loose-fit trousers, T-shirt and what I call my ‘‘ kung fu shoes’’ for tai chi prac­tice. And a good pair of walk­ing shoes, my avi­a­tor sun shades, a bed­side photo of my girl­friend Cassie, a jour­nal and dig­i­tal cam­era, and a small can­vas with my paint and brushes. I also pack print-outs from my Google re­search on new des­ti­na­tions. Sharon Fowler SHANG­HAI GAL­LERIES & MU­SEUM I en­joy paint­ing when I can af­ford the time and love the art gal­leries along Shang­hai’s Mo Gan Shan and Tai Kang roads; I reg­u­larly check out ex­hi­bi­tions at the Shang­hai Mu­seum. I find paint­ing keeps me fo­cused and grounded and, as I work in a busy kitchen, I be­lieve to achieve clar­ity in what you do, you first must calm the mind. www.shang­haimu­ THE LIFE SHOP, SIN­GA­PORE I like any­thing min­i­mal­ist, and this is re­flected in my cui­sine. To me, less is more. So any­thing that is sim­ple draws my at­ten­tion. In Europe, there are thou­sands of con­tem­po­rary de­sign stores but the Life Shop in Sin­ga­pore is my favourite in Asia. You will usu­ally find styles here months be­fore they be­come a trend else­where. www.the­ DOLCE & GAB­BANA, GUCCI, PRADA

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