Epicure (Indonesia) - - CONTENTS -

Char­lotte Chen, owner of Ev­ery­day for Ev­ery Body

An en­tre­pre­neur with a fin­ger in al­most ev­ery pie and a new mom, Char­lotte Chen is also a sea­soned globetrot­ter. By Jes­sica Chan

Char­lotte Chen grew up sur­rounded by fash­ion. Her late mother was Hong Kong fash­ion de­signer Rowena Yu, while her fa­ther was in the gar­ment busi­ness. It made per­fect sense for her to give up her in­vest­ment bank­ing job to sat­isfy her cre­ative streak to co-found Spot­tly, a photo-based travel app that al­lows fel­low trav­ellers to see the world as she and her in­flu­encer friends, like Earn Chen, do. Not only did Spot­tly earned the ti­tle of Best New App across 15 coun­tries on itunes, it be­came the step­ping stone for her next ven­ture, Empyr+co; the con­sul­tancy helped lux­ury brands, in­clud­ing The Hour Glass and Tod’s, at­tract younger, more tech-savvy cus­tomers. Her suc­cess caught the eye of Dior Cos­met­ics and Pernod Ri­card in Hong Kong, who en­gaged her to man­age their prod­uct launch cam­paigns.

To­day, the 34-year-old fronts Ev­ery­day for Ev­ery Body, her brand of non-toxic per­sonal care prod­ucts. But it was last year when she took on the big­gest project – moth­er­hood. How­ever, she still finds time for trav­el­ling, whether it’s a ski va­ca­tion to Hakuba or a hol­i­day spent saun­ter­ing through the streets of Brook­lyn in her trusty Sa­cai jacket. You were just in Hakuba for a win­ter hol­i­day with your fam­ily. Tell us more.

We stayed at Hakuba Go­ryu Snow Re­sort for its more ad­vanced ski cour­ses, but also drove to Hakuba Happo-one Win­ter Re­sort near Mount Kara­matsu. It was a three-and-a-half-hour car ride from Tokyo and worth ev­ery se­cond. The skies were painted a beau­ti­ful, cloud­less blue for the en­tirety of our trip.

While I only man­aged to squeeze in half a day of ski­ing, I wouldn’t have traded any­thing else for an af­ter­noon with my daugh­ter. It was amaz­ing to see her en­am­oured by the tex­ture of snow. She is much too young to build a snow­man but thor­oughly en­joyed a ses­sion of bum-board­ing and sled­ding off gen­tle slopes. Best of all, we found Rest House Toomi, a café at the base of the hill with an al fresco area. There, we got to savour a com­fort­ing plate of katsu kare raisu and sip on a Grape­fruit Kirin Chu Hi while ad­mir­ing the snow-cov­ered alps.

What is it like to travel as a par­ent?

It is im­por­tant to main­tain your child’s rou­tine no mat­ter the lo­ca­tion. I’d look for ac­com­mo­da­tion that of­fer a kitchen. Think ser­viced apart­ments, fam­ily suites or Airbnb. I took it easy with the sched­ul­ing as well. Rather than cross­ing out a check­list of pic­ture­wor­thy mon­u­ments, so­phis­ti­cated restau­rants or mu­se­ums, I find joy in the lit­tle dis­cov­er­ies I’d make at a lo­cal fruit mar­ket or kid­friendly at­trac­tions we’d both en­joy.

I love try­ing out lo­cal spe­cial­i­ties, par­tic­u­larly break­fast foods.

My favourites in­clude break­fast por­ridge at Grød in Copenhagen; tor­tilla Es­pañola in San Se­bastián, Spain; and m’sm­men (crispy Moroc­can pan­cakes), cour­tesy of my col­lege room­mate from Casablanca.

What’s next on your fam­ily’s itin­er­ary?

A place like the Galá­pa­gos Is­lands. It is filled with a mag­nif­i­cent ar­ray of marine life like the Galá­pa­gos tor­toises, but we have in­tro­duced our daugh­ter to a dif­fer­ent kind of win­ter in Stel­len­bosch, Cape Town, over Christ­mas. It is where my hus­band is from so the lit­tle one got to visit her grand­par­ents as well. Tell us about your trip to Brook­lyn.

I adored the quaint neigh­bour­hood of Cob­ble Hill and Dumbo. It is a trea­sure trove of cafés and bou­tiques. I found Reg­u­lar Vis­i­tors, a cosy corner store-cum-news­stand packed with home­wares and apothe­caries. It also func­tions as a café for guests to grab a cuppa or en­joy a slow af­ter­noon read. Fel­low shopa­holics can go to town at Con­sign­ment Brook­lyn, a high-end se­cond-hand store; Shen Beauty with its nat­u­ral, non-toxic beauty prod­ucts; and Bird Brook­lyn. To date, I’m still lust­ing over a pair of WWAKE ear­rings and a Proenza one-sleeve dress from Bird Brook­lyn.

What des­ti­na­tions around the world would you rec­om­mend? Stay at the Ho­tel Aba­dia Retuerta Le­do­maine, a 12th cen­tury abbey turned five-star ho­tel in Val­ladolid, Spain. The pic­turesque vine­yard aside, it is home to one Miche­lin-starred Re­fec­to­rio, helmed by head chef Marc Se­garra. There’s also Baby­lon­storen, one of the old­est Cape Dutch farms with its own veg­etable gar­den, a spa set within a bam­boo for­est as well as a vine­yard pro­duc­ing a fine Bour­deaux blend, Ne­bukad­ne­sar. When in Italy, pop by Cantina Ati­nori, a cen­turies-old vine­yard, for a taste of their Chi­anti Clas­sico.

Last but not least, any travel essen­tials?

Cle De Peau’s The Cream to keep my skin hy­drated in colder, drier cli­mates, and Tata Harper tinted balm to keep my lips plump with a nice pop of colour. As for my wardrobe, I can’t live with­out my Sa­cai ba­sics and arse­nal of FENDI BY THE WAY. Right now, I’m ob­sessed with what I call ‘ugly dad sneak­ers’, like the Louis Vuit­ton LV Arch­light Sneak­ers. It’s ba­si­cally chunky footwear – once de­cid­edly un­cool – that’s got­ten a re­vival, thanks to the rise of street fash­ion.


Ho­tel Aba­dia Retuerta Le­do­maine

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