Robb Read: Are We On a Private Flight To Climate Hell?

Private aviation’s booming. Critics say flying’s wrecking the planet, but what are the facts?

By Mark Ellwood 23/05/2022

There’s never been a busier time for private aviation. Vista Global Holdings, for example, reported a 64 percent rise year on year in 2021 for its VistaJet and XO brands, and fractional behemoth NetJets reported a 30 per cent rise vs pre-pandemic levels. That boom, of course, was powered mostly by the switch to private flying as a result of Covid-19, but it’s likely to continue even as we move out of the pandemic phase: 92 per cent of the members of Private Jet Card Comparisons said they would fly the same or more in 2022 versus last year. Another 95 per cent said they would renew their card or program memberships.

But should we be getting on planes at all—let alone flying private? Are the environmental costs too great? Are carbon offsets just a way to relieve guilt and greenwash airline travel?

As the world’s attention on climate change intensifies, anti-take-off efforts are, well, taking off. Take the concept of flygskam, or flight shame. This Swedish-birthed anti-aviation campaign leverages social pressure to keep folks grounded: Cut out flights, flygskam-ers posit, and you’re making major sacrifices to offset climate change. Nothing’s worse in the sector than private aviation, with its let-them-eat-cake-at-60,000-feet reputation: Per one study, flying private can produce eight times more emissions per person than comparable jaunts on commercial carriers. So with a surge in private flying, and that sense of impending, aviation-induced doom, are we on the flightpath to hell?

Flightpath to Hell Climate Change

Worldwide flights produced 915 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2019, or 3.5 per cent of total output, while private aviation accounted for 37.1 million tons. Courtesy AP

The facts, of course, are a little more complicated. First, some data: Worldwide flights produced 915 million tons of CO2 in 2019, though the entire human output of that pollution was 43 billion tons total in the same year. By most estimates, per data from 2018, flying produces around 2.5 percent of global CO2 emissions, or 3.5 percent of what’s known as “effective radiative forcing”—think of that as its overall impact. Another study says that business aviation contributes just 2 per cent to overall aviation emissions, but that on a per-person basis, its emissions are much more damaging on a per-person basis.  One study of private aviation’s annual contribution to greenhouse gas emissions pegged it at 37.1 million tons.

On the flip side, the Air Transport Action Group, an industry-funded body, touts that aviation overall would rank 17th in the world if its economic activity is compared with individual countries, or around the same as the Netherlands.

“Aircraft are tools of global trade—they can’t fly on fairy dust and neither can the global economy,” says Hong Kong-based Paul Jebely, head of asset finance at law firm Withers Worldwide; he works with UHNW folks across the world every day to buy and finance private planes. “There are lots of armchair Captain Planets who willfully overlook, or fail to recognize, the second- or third-order consequences of their flight shaming. That iPhone permanently glued to their hands has a bigger footprint to get into someone’s hand thanks to shipping, logistics and mining. But let’s go ahead and replace the aviation component with carrier pigeons on a gluten-free diet and, somehow, it’ll all be better.”

Portrait of Paul Jebely, head of asset finance at law firm Withers Worldwide

Paul Jebely Withers Worldwide

Jebely’s numbers are off: per one estimate, the lifetime carbon footprint of an iPhone is around 168 lbs of CO2-e (carbon dioxide or equivalent greenhouse gas); Apple’s own data shows that the environmental footprint of an iPhone 13Pro varies from 69kg- 111kg of CO2-e, depending on storage memory capacity. It’s hard to quantify the average carbon footprint of private jet travel, given variations in plane capacity and fuel efficiency, but by one estimate, the per person environmental impact of flying private is around 631 lbs of CO2-e per hour. The BBC Reality Check team’s own calculations produced a figure of 430kg per person for the same period.

Still, the truth is that there’s still good reason to make efforts to minimise the climate impact of every private flight.  Sustainability in this sector is in its infancy, but many leaders are making worthwhile strides. It’s responsible and responsive; corporations, too, are increasingly setting goals that include targets around CO2 emissions related to their business, including jet flights. The nimbleness of this sector, as well as the higher margins compared with commercial operation, mean that innovation should ignite more readily here. “Everyone in the entire aviation industry is well aware of the necessity of reducing aviation’s climate impact while also being aware of the fact that we’re bearing a heavier burden than other industries because of the public pressure,” Jebely continues. “But private aviation can and must and will do better.”

Jebely points, for example, to efforts by OEMs like Bombardier and Gulfstream to improve the footprint of their production processes. Fractional and charter firms, of course, are keen to tout their commitments to climate—NetJets, for example, now includes carbon offsets in all proposals, and has committed to buying 450 million litresof sustainable fuel from WasteFuel. Sustainable aviation fuel, which still has extremely limited distribution around the world, can cut aircraft emissions by 80 percent. No firm, though, goes as far as London-based Victor.

Flightpath to Hell Climate Change

Earlier this month, Bremen airport in Germany offered the airport’s first fueling with sustainable aviation fuel. Courtesy AP

The firm has established a program in which it pays for 200 per cent of every flight its clients charter. The money comes from Victor’s own bottom line, rather than as an add-on to its clients’ invoices. Last year, for instance, the company organized flights totalling 2.7 million nautical miles, which created 27,906 tons of emissions. Victor purchased 60,128 carbon credits that were invested in forest restoration and wind-power projects in Borneo, Cambodia and Turkey. The company bought 93 per cent of the credits, while its clients contributed 7 per cent. “My personal gold standard is to avoid flying whenever possible and the middle ground is to reduce how much we can fly,” says Victor Chairman Clive Jackson, who launched the program. “To mitigate means that if you have to fly then at least have the good grace to clean up after yourself.”  Translation: Buy carbon offsets or use sustainable aviation fuel.

Jackson says he brokers around 5,000 flights for clients per year, versus the 300,000 or so that, for instance, industry giant NetJets handles.

Carbon offsetting isn’t endorsed as a practice by all climate-change experts. “It has a long history of not lowering carbon levels,” says Greenpeace UK’s Charlie Kronick, who notes that his own organization doesn’t buy them as they don’t actually reduce the amount of carbon dioxide discharged into the atmosphere, the key metric for Greenpeace. “They are too often based on exaggerated claims of emissions reductions,” he says, “A one-off payment for a carbon credit does not assure the growth of trees, nor protection of forests from fires or industrial pressures.“

Clive Jackson, CEO of Victor

Clive Jackson, CEO of Victor Victor

While carbon offsetting is important, it’s much less sexy than another option touted as a solution to flying private, guilt-free: eVTOLs, (Electric Vehicle Take Off and Landing aircraft). Those Tony Stark-like concept planes rely on climate-friendly fuel for propulsion and take off and land much like helicopters. No wonder, then, that the real-life Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr, has invested in Whisper Aero, one of the startups aiming to pioneer this technology. The commitment has been attention-grabbing enough that it’s persuaded several celebrities to invest in different firms, including the J-Lo-backed Archer, and Larry Page’s Wisk, which have been embroiled in legal tussles.

The eVTOL segment, which has attracted serious financial investors for a half-dozen brands, expects to see it first electric aircraft certified in 2024 and 2025, with widespread adoption expected closer to 2030. Besides their emissions-free credentials, they will also offer new ways to commute within cities and regions., though eVTOL aircraft are likely to come into service as cargo carriers before being adopted for passenger transport.

Mike Hirschberg, the executive director of the Vertical Flight Society, the leading  eVTOL association, says battery technology will need to progress to increase range for the aircraft before there is widespread commercial use. Hirschberg adds that it’s vital that work on an infrastructure for eVTOLs starts sooner than later, and forecasts it will be at least a decade before eVTOLs are mainstream.

A wisk Aerotaxi in flight

A wisk Aerotaxi in flight

In the meantime, the industry is looking at piecemeal solutions. Kennedy Ricci, whose family owns Directional Aviation,  just launched 4Air, which offers a certification program that aims to be the eco equivalent of the safety ratings produced by industry-standards firm Argus. The start-up doesn’t handle flights, either as an operator or a broker, but instead works with companies that do to both improve their sustainability efforts and certify their actions to reassure clients. CSG targets at corporations are key drivers for his business growth, but Ricci tells Robb Report that there’s another audience that’s critical: “We see it’s a lot about employees—companies wanting to retain good talent who want to work for a more sustainable firm. They want to show their employees they’re trying to be better stewards.

The cost of partnering with 4Air on a flight program is minimal, per Ricci—a few hundred dollars at most per hour of flying for its most intensive certification. 4Air offers four tiers in its program, ranging from simple carbon neutrality in level 1, or Bronze, to a commitment to sustainable fuels in Gold or level 3—that’s a commitment to not just offset but also reduce emissions. The fourth tier, Platinum, is the company’s most ambitious: It involves a commitment to underwriting innovation in aviation via a contribution to the 4Air-helmed nonprofit Aviation Climate Fund. It focuses on research and development, working with innovators around the world, including the team at the Whittle Laboratory at Britain’s University of Cambridge. That lab is named after the jet engine inventor who graduated from the same university, and Professor Rob Miller is one of its current team.

Contrails from a jet airliner

Contrails from a jet airliner Adobe Stock

SAF and eVTOLs are, of course, potential solutions to the climate crisis when it comes to private flying, Miller says, but there are other, more unexpected ways that private aviation can lead the reduction in CO2. Take condensation trails, or contrails, for example. These remain in the upper atmosphere for far less time than carbon dioxide—hours versus years. “But nitrous oxide produced when you burn nitrogen in an aircraft, that’s a greenhouse gas, and soot is going into the atmosphere, too. The contrails can form cirrus clouds, too, and that has a global-warming effect,” he says, “When you add all those together, you find that CO2 is only really half the problem.”

Reducing contrails, then, should be a focus for aviation innovation, he says, citing work on hydrogen fuel-cell aircraft. “The hydrogen that reacts in the fuel cell is closer to the environmental temperature outside, so it doesn’t produce nitrous oxide or soot. And we don’t know for sure, but you may also be able to condense out some of the water.” Miller also points to routings of planes as an easy way to improve sustainability: Aircraft flying in the Gulf Stream across the Atlantic, for example, are more fuel efficient. “Right now, you have to be at a certain distance from each other because air traffic control is not good enough to allow them to be closer.” Aircraft manufacturers have changed their avionics to fly more efficient routes, resulting in an estimated five to ten percent reduction in emissions. All of these tweaks are more readily adopted by nimbler private flying firms, of course, than any large, commercial airliner.

Miller’s insights highlight easier wins that the aviation industry has overlooked. Congested air traffic control or ATC systems, for example, contribute hugely to emissions: Operational planes spend 15 percent of their time on the ground rather than in the air, burning fuel all the while. One fix touted by Paul Jebely is TSAS, a NASA-championed program from 2017 that promises to streamline ATCs. “The most important advancement aviation can make, globally right now, whether commercial or private, is making ATC systems way more efficient,” he says, “This is basically like a super software update to air navigation and ground control systems and is available right now. If it had been adopted two years ago, it would already have had an impact.” (Singapore’s Changi airport is currently trialing these systems.)

NASA TSAS air traffic management software simulation

NASA TSAS air traffic management software simulation NASA

It’s a reminder that there isn’t a single area where charter user and private aircraft owners should focus their sustainability efforts—carbon offsets might be box-ticking, but they’re still important. Wealthy fliers, though, can apply financial support or pressure in less familiar areas to perhaps greater effect. “People fixate on planes flying around the sky, and that’s a misplaced focus,” says Jebely. “The damage is done not just when they’re flying around but [when they’re built], and by them sitting on the ground.”

While there’s no easy solution to erasing aviation’s environmental impact, the solutions are being adopted—albeit slowly—by the leaders, and even some of the smaller firms in private aviation. Victor’s 200 percent offset program is a start, but the fact that only seven percent of its clients are willing to pay for offsets gives a sense that the change may have to come from top-down legislation or a more concerted industrywide effort to make SAF and electric aircraft more common.

Are we on the flightpath to hell with private aviation?

Many private aviation companies have launched carbon offset programs, but it’s not clear how effective they are in actually reducing carbon emissions. Courtesy AP

“We need a higher level of transparency,” says Victor’s Jackson. “I would like to see all flight movements published—was the flight a carbon-offset or not? I want it to be verified. Follow the money. We have to think about the claims that individuals and companies make as they aim to promote and differentiate themselves.

“Right now,” he continues. “There are no regulations or obligations to prove whether or not the claims companies are making are true. We need independent monitoring by region, industry and country. What goes into the atmosphere is important, but we also need to find out what we’re missing and whether our actions are working.”

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Everybody Loves Naomi 

Fashion fans adore her. And so do we. Lucky, then, that a new exhibition is paying homage to four decades of snake-hipped catwalking.

By Joseph Tenni 22/06/2024

Naomi Campbell contains multitudes. Since emerging on the scene in 1986, modelling for British designer Jasper Conran, the statuesque stunner has used the runway for takeoff. She has ventured into all aspects of the culture, from Vogue to Playboy and reality TV. In the business arena, she has dabbled in publishing and the two F&Bs (fragrance and beauty, and food and beverage). Her philanthropic efforts are legion.

Naomi is better known than any of her peers and, aged 54, remains more relevant than ever. As a testament to her pervading influence, a new exhibition, Naomi: In Fashion, is opening at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Celebrating her 40 years in the spotlight, the show includes clothes from the model’s closet and some of the designer fashion she has helped to immortalise.

We all know her snake-hipped walk, her glowing skin, her famous paramours, and—yes—her many tantrums and tiaras. But how much do we love her exactly? Let’s count some of the ways. 

1. She Was Born to Be Famous

Many people know Naomi for her appearances in music videos for Michael Jackson’s In the Closet and George Michael’s Freedom! ’90—the latter also featuring fellow supermodels Linda, Cindy and Christy. But Naomi has been in front of the camera since she was a child, and her prolific music-video career predates her modelling. At 8, she appeared in the official video for Bob Marley’s 1978 hit Is This Love. At 13, Culture Club cast her as a tap-dancing teen in I’ll Tumble 4 Ya. It would be another two years before she was discovered by model scout Beth Boldt, while shopping in London’s Covent Garden.

Courtesy Off-White. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

2. She Hits All the Right Notes

As anyone who has ever seen Unzipped, the 1995 cult fashion documentary by Douglas Keeve, Naomi always has a song in her heart. She put her mouth where her money was in 1994 and recorded an album, Babywoman. The cover art featured Naomi, photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth, shaving her legs while sitting on the toilet. Fittingly, the album was canned—despite assistance from contributors like Donna Summer and PM Dawn. 

3. She’s Always Ready for Her Close-Up
Hollywood’s history is full of models who went on to become successful actors. Naomi is not one of them. But not for want of trying. Her turn as a nightclub singer in Vanilla Ice’s 1991 movie Cool as Ice flies under the radar but doesn’t deserve to. Nor does her scene-stealing cameo as a French cheese shopper in The Night We Never Met, alongside Matthew Broderick and Jeanne Tripplehorn. Or her playing a sexy telephone operator in Spike Lee’s Girl 6. Who else has that kind of range? 

4. She Tells It Like It Is

We’d be remiss not to mention her 1994 novel Swan. A roman a clef about a young girl breaking into the modelling industry, flanked by her four besties who are also divas in training heels, it certainly played with genres. A murder-mystery-cum-sexy-romance-cum-vocational-advice page-turner, or something like that, this guilty pleasure was cruelly overlooked and relegated to the annals of bargain bins everywhere. 

5. She’s Got a Mind for Business

Naomi has been vocal over the years about making less money than her white peers and was not going to wait for the industry to catch up. Instead, she has ventured into businesses ranging from her former stake in the Fashion Cafe in New York to her signature fragrances, first released in 1999. What does Naomi smell like? Subtle yet complicated, consisting of top notes of peach, coconut and bergamot with a deep, woody base of cedar and sandalwood—apparently.

6. She Gives Until It Hurts

For a so-called narcissist, Naomi has often put her fame to philanthropic use. She has galvanised black models in fashion with the Black Girls Coalition and has raised money for Africa, Haiti and disaster relief worldwide, including after the Mumbai terrorist attacks. When she was dating the Russian billionaire and Aman Resorts owner Vladislav Doronin, she became committed to saving the tiger. Is there anything this overachiever can’t do?

7. She Can Make Hay From Anything

When she was sentenced to community service following allegations by a former employer that Naomi had attacked her with a mobile phone, the model emerged from her punishment dressed in couture and trailed by a photo crew who were shooting a fashion layout of her for W magazine. And when she was summoned in 2010 to appear in a war crimes trial against former Liberian president Charles Taylor—in relation to an uncut blood diamond he’d allegedly given her—our girl showed up in an Azzedine Alaïa twin-set and wearing a silver “evil eye” necklace, turning the courtroom into a photo opportunity.

8. She’ll Be on Your Side for Evermore
The fashion industry is hardly known for its loyalty or congeniality, but Naomi has maintained decades-long friendships with not only her supermodel sisters like Christy Turlington but also some of the most powerful and difficult players, including John Galliano and Marc Jacobs. That she has remained tight with so many of her friends is not lost on her adoring public. She must be a loyal person and in return, fans everywhere remain loyal to her.

Naomi: In Fashion runs from June 22, 2024, until April 16, 2025, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; vam.ac.uk

Courtesy Vivienne Westwood. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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The Sapphire Dinner 2024 Raises Support for Ocean Conservation

This year’s boldfaced bash raised funds for our critically under-supported national treasures. 

By Horacio Silva 22/06/2024

The big fish of Sydney society came out Thursday night for the third annual Sapphire Dinner to raise much-needed money for ocean conservation. Held in conjunction with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the boldfaced bash was the first sit-down dinner held at the Tank, a repurposed World War II fuel container that sits beneath the Art Gallery’s new wing. 

Set against a backdrop of immersive ocean-inspired video projections by South Korean digital creators d’strict, and with a dress code that inspired guests to recycle their most fabulous fashions, the zero-waste dinner supports The Sapphire Project’s mission to galvanise the community to take action to protect our oceans and the Great Barrier Reef.

Deep-pocketed VIPs who walked the evening’s blue carpet included  Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull, real estate maven Monika Tu, Penelope Seidler, Anna Marsden (Managing Director of Great Barrier Reef Foundation), Michael and Tina Brand, Andrew Cameron, MCA Chair Lorraine Tarabay, Myer boss Olivia Wirth, benefactors Paris Neilsen and Beau Neilson, and Paul Howes and Olivia Wirth, the power couple known as ‘Paulivia’. 

Retired swimmer Giaan Rooney MC’d the event, hosted by Sapphire Committee co-chairs Hayley Baillie and Ryan Gollan and committee members Ian Thorpe AM, Luke Hepworth, Clare Herschell, Susan Wynne, Brioney Prier, Bianca Rinehart, Doris Ma, Kate Champion, Ellie Aitken, and Chong Chua. 

A troupe of former Australian Ballet dancers and a musical performance by the Fijian-Australian singer and actress Paulini entertained the revellers.   

Among the auctioned items was an original work by Del Kathryn Barton, which raised more than $200,000 in a high-spirited bidding war led by Four Pillars Gin founder Stu Gregor, whose expletive-laden entreaties were suitably salty. 

Nobody minded, given that more than a million dollars were raised to support the criminally underfunded ocean conservation (it’s estimated that only about 2 percent of philanthropy in Australia goes towards the preservation of our precious national treasures), with funds going to support important initiatives such as The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the University of Sydney’s One Tree Island Research Station, the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station, the Australian Sea Lion Recovery Foundation and Biopixel Oceans Foundation’s Project Hammerhead

The Sapphire Project Dinner 2024
Clare Herschell, Kate Champion, Bianca Rinehart & Hayley Baillie
The tablescapes at the Sapphire Project Dinner
Ian Thorpe
Adrian and Beck Buchan
Monika Tu
The Sapphire Project Dinnner 2024
Lucy & Malcolm Turnbull
Sapphire Committee co-chairs Hayley Baillie & Ryan Gollan

For further information, visit SapphireProject.com.au

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The 10 Best Omakase in Sydney

Sydney’s best Japanese chef’s-table dining experiences.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 06/06/2024

In Japan, where food is a cultural art form, omakase stands for traditional Japanese foods made with seasonal ingredients. A good omakase meal, prepared with purity and mindfulness, can make an unforgettable imprint on the culinary memory. Yet in a land defined by seasonal traditions, omakase is a relatively new concept.

Omakase originated in Japan in the 1970s as affluent Japanese began to dine more regularly at first-rate sushi counters. Bowing to the expertise of the sushi master, omakase loosely translates to “I’ll leave it to you.” In a setting where money is no object, letting the chef decide was designed as a chic way to take the awkwardness out of ordering.

In Australia where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood, omakase menus have experienced a recent rise in popularity. Today omakase is any series of small dishes served directly by the chef to the diner. Each part of the meal is presented on beautiful ceramics and lacquer wear, with a great —and somewhat— intimidating reverence for elegant details. It’s a chance to see a chef’s knife skills up close and get a feel for their cooking style.

Omakase menus are based on whatever is freshest at the market and can be influenced by the chef’s mood, expertise, and response to the guest. They can be slowly paced like a ceremony—hushed and reverential—but they can also be rowdy, humorous, and personal.
Here we give you 10 of the best to try in Sydney.

Yoshi’s Omakase at Nobu Crown Sydney

Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo. Open: 12–3 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm Phone: 02 8871 7188 Reservations: F&B-SYD-Nobu@crownresorts.com.au; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake). Crownsydney.com.au

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: jizakana16@gmail.com Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head. jizakana.com.au

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point; Tuesday – Saturday: 17:30 – 10.45 (closed Sunday/ Monday) $185-200 per head Kisukepottspoint.com

Haco 

102/21 Alberta St, Sydney. Lunch, Friday to Saturday 12 -2:00 pm Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday 5:45 pm – 8:1 5pm (closed Sunday & Mondays) P: 0408 866 285                                     E: haco@hacosydney.com.au; $150 – $210 Hacosydney.com.au

Kuon

Shop 04 2/58 Little Hay St, Sydney, Lunch: Fri-Sun 12:30 pm. Dinner  Tue-Sun 5:15 pm or 7:45 pm sittings.  Reservation via SMS at 0488 688 252; $220 per head @kuon.omakase

Sokyo 

The Darling, Level G, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. Open dinner Monday to Thursday from 5:45 pm P: 1800 700 700 $300 per head Sokyo.com.au

Kuro

368 Kent St, Sydney; Open Tue – Wed – Thur: 6 pm Fri & Sat: 5:30 pm P: 02 9262 1580, reservations@kurosydney.com $220 per head. Kurosydney.com;

Choji Omakase

Level 2, 228 Victoria Ave, Chatswood —upstairs from Choji Yakiniku. Every Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm. One seating per day only. $295 per head. Chojiomakase.com.au

Gold Class Daruma

The Grace Hotel, Level 1/77 York St, Sydney; 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–9.00 pm Phone: (02) 9262 1190 M: 0424 553 611 booking@goldclassdaruma.com.au·$120 – $150 per head Goldclassdaruma.com.au

Besuto

Besuto Omakase, Sydney Place precinct, 3 Underwood Street, Circular Quay. Omakase is available to book for dinner – Tuesday to Saturday. 5:30 pm & 8pm sittings. From $250. Besuto.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is no soy and wasabi offered during my omakase meal?
Even though sushi and sashimi are being served, the chef is serving each piece of sushi so quickly and directly that the chef is applying the wasabi and soy to the sushi themselves. Watch as they brush the top of the fish with soy and dab a tiny amount of wasabi on the rice, under the fish. You should not need to add extra, and in fact, it can be insulting to the chef to add more. Bathing the bottom of the rice of your sushi in soy sauce is considered bad manners, as it is seen as detracting from the flavour of the fish.

Nobu, Sydney

Can an omakase experience accommodate my dietary needs?
Although there is often little variation once the chef has set the daily menu, some customisation is possible. Advise the restaurant when you book and remind them of allergies or aversions again as you sit down. They will let you know when you book if your allergy is possible for the chef. Japanese menus feature a lot of seafood and dashi so accommodating a no seafood request can be genuinely tricky.

What are the golden rules for chopstick etiquette?
Use your chopstick holder in between eating, rather than putting chopsticks on your plate. Don’t use your chopsticks to gesticulate or point; if offering food to someone to try, never pass food directly from your chopsticks to theirs. Rather place the food onto a small plate and let them pick it up.
Never touch communal or shared food with your chopsticks. The longer, slightly larger chopsticks are like sharing cutlery, never put these in your mouth.

Without a menu, how can I know what I am eating during omakase?
Omakase is often a no-menu situation, and you are expected to try new things. Attending an omakase experience with an open, trusting mind yields the best results.
There are Wagyu and tempura omakase that reflect the chef’s personal predilections and training, but in a standard luxury omakase, the format will include a lot of freshly caught seafood and will usually kick off with a delicate appetiser. This will be followed by a sashimi and sushi course, a savoury egg custard (chawanmushi) with meat and seafood, a cooked or blow-torched market fish, a soup course, and dessert.

Can I talk to the chef during omakase? What is the protocol?
Guests at an omakase experience are welcome to ask questions of the chef; in fact, interacting with the chef is part of the experience. It is considered polite to ask questions or inquire about the food so they can explain.

What is best to pair with omakase  in terms of drinks?
In general, wine and sake are a perfect match for omakase. Aged fish and vinegar have strong umami flavours so depending on which course you enjoy, different wine and sake will pair well. Dry chilled sake is a great choice. Amazing sakes are imported into Australia, so trust the restaurant to advise you and take you on a sake journey at the same time.  If you don’t like sake, drinking chardonnay, a crisp young riesling, or even a dry complex Riesling is also totally acceptable. All three styles help bring out the flavour of the fish. Champagne can also be good. Try a blanc de blancs— 100% chardonnay —for a great way to start the meal. As you progress, remember that sake is good for dishes with a strong taste, such as uni and eel.

Nobu, Sydney

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The Tod’s SS25 Men’s Collection in Milan Was a Showcase of “Artisanal Intelligence”

It was also the debut men’s collection by creative director Matteo Tamburini.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

Earlier this week, Tod’s presented its SS25 men’s collection at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) for Milan Fashion Week, where all eyes were fixed on Matteo Tamburini and his debut menswear collection as Tod’s newest creative director.

Striking “a balance between tradition and modernity”, was the former Bottega Veneta designer’s intention, and indeed his showcase offerered a spotlight on the quality, materials, and detailing that are central to the Tod’s wardrobe.

“The collection is more about subtraction rather than addition, highlighting the very elevated, timeless and relaxed materials,” says Tamburini via a statement.

Tod’s

In line with Tod’s restrained design codes, the garments presented were characterised by timelessness, unmistakable Italian flair, yet a casualness appropriate for everyday wear. Only the best leathers were used in the collection—thanks to the Pashmy project, which Tod’s unveiled in January to champion high-end Italian materials—used in creating garments like the Tod’s Bomber, the Gio Jacket, the Shirt Jacket, the Di Bag sack, as well as footwear staples, like the Tod’s T-Riviera.

Of course, the iconic Gommino driving shoe wasn’t without an update, too: you’ll find a new sabot interpretation, as well as the Bubble Gommino introduced in a new boat model with the T-bar accessory.

“Craftsmanship” was at the forefront of messaging, with chairman and chief executive officer of the Tod’s Group, Diego Della Valle, reiterating the message of honouring artisanal arts in an increasingly digital-first world.”[It’s] important to uphold artisanal intelligence, keeping under control artificial intelligence as it is now developing rapidly and powerfully,” he said via a statement.

“Individuals and artisanal intelligence at the centre, with its traditions and values, will contribute to keep artificial intelligence in check. Our Italian craftsmanship and supply chain can be an example of the combination of tradition and the new speed of artificial intelligence.”

tods.com

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Pitti Uomo’s Best-Dressed Men Cut Through the Noise With Personal Style

From vintage gems to tasteful tailoring, attendees of Florence’s biannual tradeshow brought their best sartorial selves.

By Naomi Rougeau, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Whether or not you’re well versed in the ins and outs of Pitti Uomo, the biannual menswear tradeshow in Florence that brings together buyers, press—and, naturally, a vast ostentation of peacocks—the chances are that photos from the gathering are still making their way into your newsfeed. You might even smirk at the mention of it. To be sure, you’ll encounter plenty of “overdressing” strolling through the main venues but by and large, great personal style manages to cut through the noise.

Part of what makes the Pitti scene so exciting is that menswear moves relatively slowly. It’s less about seeing something earth shatteringly new but rather gradual shifts and discovering fresh ways to put things together. Menswear regulars such as Alessandro Squarzi, owner of a considerable vintage archive that influences his Milanese boutique Fortela, can be relied upon to provide inspiration on how to make tried and true staples and silhouettes feel modern.

Speaking of new old things, vintage fashions made their way into the chat in a big way this June, whether in terms of rare finds or sustainable efforts via upcycling, fabric development and natural dyes (Paris-based De Bonne Facture achieved an ideal medium brown using coffee, for instance). At the heart of the conversation was another bona fide vintage guru Maurizio Donadi who made a case for the timelessness and democratic nature of indigo with his centuries-spanning exhibit of antique garments from around the globe.

Below you’ll find a dozen of our favorite looks from Pitti Uomo 106, lensed by our eagle-eyed street-style photographer Lorenzo Sodi. We hope they inspire.

Lorenzo Sodi

A lesson in simplicity and the power of a classic palette—good quality vintage accents such as a turquoise embellished belt buckle add interest to timeless workwear. Ray-Ban’s universally-flattering Wayfarer sunglasses are the perfect finishing touch.

Lorenzo Sodi

Sans suit and shirt, the neckerchief (of which there were many at Pitti), adds a welcome dose of colour to a white tee and relaxed jacket and proves that sometimes one choice detail is all it takes. A well-loved, slightly-too-long belt and canvas Vans contribute to the casual harmony.

Lorenzo Sodi

Whatever the weather, you’ll find Douglas Cordeaux, from Fox Brothers, looking immaculate in shirt and tie… and a suit made of one of Fox’s many fabrics. British elegance, embodied.

Lorenzo Sodi

Relaxed elegance is the foundation of the Brunello Cuccinelli brand. Here, the maestro himself shows us how it’s done in a double-breasted linen ensemble featuring a few personal flourishes.

Lorenzo Sodi

Designer Alessandro Pirounis of Pirounis offers a masterclass on the rule of three with a contemporary twist, subbing the usual jacket with an overshirt of his own design.

Lorenzo Sodi

A renaissance man takes Florence. True to his roots, US Marine veteran, Savile Row-trained tailor and photographer Robert Spangle blazes a sartorial trail that’s all his own.

Lorenzo Sodi

Cream trousers are an essential element of elegant Italian summer style. Designer Nicola Radano of Spacca Neapolis channels one of the greats (Marcello Mastroianni) in a dark polo of his own design, collar spread wide across his jacket’s lapel for a welcome retro lean.

Lorenzo Sodi

Proof of the power of tonal dressing, that can create an impactful outfit just by sticking to the same colour family. A chic ensemble and in some ways an elevated version of the double-denim look, every element is working hard in service to the whole.

Lorenzo Sodi

UK-based stylist Tom Stubbs has long been a proponent of blousy pleats, lengthy db jackets, and statement-making neck scarves and here, in vintage Armani, he embodies the louche, oversize look that many designers are just now catching up on.

Lorenzo Sodi

A tailor splitting his time between Berlin and Cologne, Maximilian Mogg is known for his strong-shouldered, architectural suiting. Yet in Mogg’s hands, particularly with this non-traditional colour scheme, the effect is always modern and youthful.

Lorenzo Sodi

If Max Poglia’s relaxed Hawaiian shirt and suit combo is any indication, summer has truly arrived. But it’s an excellent example of how to wearing tailoring in more casual fashion. This cream db would look perfect with shirt and tie at a wedding in August and just as chic here with slippers and a laid-back shirt.

Lorenzo Sodi

Another example of how tailoring can be laid-back and breezy for summer, from a dude who looks no stranger to enjoying the best of the warmer months. Jaunty pocket square, sandals, untucked linen shirt…go forth and emulate.

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