Netflix Star And Chef Shane Osborn Introduces His Next Restaurant In Hong Kong
What was the inspiration behind starting The Arcane Collective?
We opened Arcane in 2014 with the long-term plan to create a small, quality-focused restaurant group. Our goal has always been to grow a collection of independently minded restaurants that reflect the values of the kitchen of Arcane: ingredients-driven, unpretentious, socially and environmentally aware, and a little irreverent. Each restaurant under The Arcane Collective empowers talent, respects all workers, champions diversity and creativity, and serves food that brings great joy to diners.
After Arcane and Cornerstone, what can you reveal about the group’s third restaurant?
The Arcane Collective’s new restaurant Moxie is a plant-forward concept that will open this month at Alexandra House at the Landmark. It will continue our journey as a forward-thinking restaurant group, focusing on simple and delicious food that will be driven by quality produce and an emphasis on ethical sourcing.
Some would say developing a restaurant group during a pandemic is a risky business. How did you know this was the right time?
A big part of what The Arcane Collective is about is having integrity and passion for our craft. The new group is about mentoring and providing opportunities for chefs, sommeliers and waiters, and helping them run their own restaurants under the Arcane umbrella. We support a community of specialist and artisan farmers, growers and suppliers of the best produce locally and internationally.
We are eternally optimistic that life and business must continue as normally as possible. The pandemic will end—who knows how or when—but as the well-known adage goes, life goes on. If we can help our community during this time, then all the better.
What are the challenges of working with fresh produce in Hong Kong?
Agriculture is extremely challenging when you take into account the local topography, extreme weather and short growing season. We are working with a local farming co-op which is growing beautiful, organic fruit and vegetables in Yuen Long.
What mentorship opportunities will you be providing under The Arcane Collective?
We operate as a large family—everyone has a role and everyone is as important as the next person. We like to identify the specific skill set that each of our employees has and provide an opportunity for this to shine and be recognised. A great example is Cornerstone’s chef Neal Ledesma, who spent years with me in the kitchen at Arcane and was really coming into his own. He deserved his own space to shine, and is doing some great things at Cornerstone, with our ongoing support. We hope to continue to replicate Neal’s success with Moxie this summer.
Why is mentoring other chefs so important to you?
I had the good fortune to work for some truly wonderful chefs during the early years of my career. Their generosity, mentorship and willingness to share knowledge had a profound effect on my education. I’m just continuing the cycle.
Have you been approached to do your own series since Netflix’s reality cooking show The Final Table?
The Final Table was a fantastic experience. I’ve since had a couple of offers to be on other shows but Covid-19 put a stop to all that.
How did it feel to receive your first of two Michelin stars for your London restaurant, Pied à Terre?
It was a bit of a blur. [However] I vividly remember when we won the second star ... My business partner received the call from Michelin, and he let out an almighty scream. I thought someone had been seriously injured. It was never my goal to win even one star, so this took me by complete surprise.
What would you say is the hardest thing about being a chef?
The unsociable working hours can have a negative effect on relationships. Working in a kitchen is also physically challenging.
Do you have any restaurant pet peeves?
Music is an important part of the dining experience and quality sound is so vital. Cheap-sounding speakers feel like nails scraping down a chalkboard to me.
Do you have any kitchen superstitions?
The only Superstition we have is the classic by Stevie Wonder. What a tune!
Do you have any culinary dreams you’d still like to accomplish?
I really enjoy teaching, so one day I’d like to own a small, intimate cooking school.