Robb Read: Race For Supersonic Flight

With futuristic Mach-1 jets promised, can supersonic’s challenges keep up with its lofty goals?

By Christine Negroni 01/07/2021

When United Airlines announced earlier this month that it had made a deal to purchase 15 airliners still under development from Denver-based Boom Supersonic, the airline became the latest entity to place a bet on one of aviation’s sexiest and most quixotic propositions; flight that is faster than the speed of sound and affordable to the masses.

Opinion is mixed on the feasibility of supersonic commercial flight in the near future. But one of the concept’s biggest boosters, Boom’s CEO, Blake Scholl, insists the goal is achievable. “We get as much speed as possible, for as many people as possible, to as many places as possible, as quickly as possible,” he told Robb Report. 

Scholl is enthusiastic because we’ve already been there. Boom’s demonstrator aircraft, the XB1, and its bigger sibling the commercial jetliner, Overture, are leveraging technology from the days of the Concorde, “rather than starting from scratch,” he said. Scholl expects the Overture to be certified by 2029 and take its first commercial flight in 2030.

Supersonic jets look like the future but it's questionable whether they will ever enter commercial service

United Airlines’ recent order for 15 Overture jets shows it’s betting on a supersonic future. Fractional providers NetJets and Flexjet also ordered $11 billion worth of Aerion’s AS2 business jets. Courtesy Boom Supersonic

It was nearly half a century ago that British Airways and Air France flew the Concorde across the Atlantic in half the time of subsonic airliners. Fourteen of the droop-nosed, European-made SST’s continued in commercial service until 2003. Before the Concorde there was the Russian-built Tupeluv 144D. Two fatal crashes—one in 1973 at the Paris Air Show and another in Russia in 1978—spelled the end of that aeroplane. The few remaining are housed in museums where they still fuel a yearning to fly tomorrow on newer versions of these artifacts from the past.

If there is to be a new generation of supersonic jetliners, success is inextricably tied to how well their creators can navigate through the obstacles that plagued the Concorde.

These include the sonic boom, the noise created at the speed of sound threshold (Mach 1.0 or 1234km/h) which prevented supersonic flights over land. Then there is the copious fuel consumption and carbon emissions of supersonic flight. When weight is everything, the limited passenger-carrying capacity and scaled-down cabin interior could make it difficult to sell enough tickets to make SST flights profitable. Finally, there is the need for regulatory approval using standards that do not yet exist, from dozens of governments.

Last Concorde landing in Germany

The last Concorde lands in Germany in 2003. The aircraft proved that supersonic flight was possible, but with challenges like limited interior space, sonic booms and heavy fuel burns. Photo: Uli Deck/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

These issues populate the to-do lists of the SST engineers. Boom, with its plans for a 40- to 50-passenger airliner, touts its planned use of biofuels like sustainable aviation fuel, as does California’s Exosonic, with its 70-passenger jetliner. Boston-based Spike Aerospace is focusing on an 18-passenger business jet with a proprietary technology it claims will keep the sonic boom at the level of vacuum cleaner. It recently received FAA approval for limited testing of its design over land.

Norris Tie, CEO of Exosonic, says before his company produces its airliner, it will move incrementally towards refining its technology with a small research contract it has with the U.S. Air Force. It recently announced plans to develop an Air Force 2, a supersonic jet for the vice president and cabinet-level officials.

“That helped put our company on the map for supersonic aviation and benefited us by letting us grow, hire people and do wind-tunnel testing that’s been really helpful,” he said of the work being done on a supersonic government personnel aircraft.

Supersonic jets look like the future but it's questionable whether they will ever enter commercial service

The poster child of supersonic flight, Aerion had been working on a supersonic jet for almost two decades, but ran out of cash in May. Courtesy Aerion Supersonic

Even small government contracts offer companies bragging rights and insight into research and regulatory agencies.  In March, Subaru, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and several other companies formed Japan Supersonic Research with a goal of having an SST passenger jet by 2030. They partnered with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and have access to JAXA research going back to 1997.

“No single nation can develop supersonic transport on its own, since this requires an enormous amount of capital and the integration of many advanced technologies,” Dr. Takashi Ishikawa, director of the space agency’s aviation program, wrote on the government website.

To deal with noise, fuel inefficiency, and the many other significant technical issues, what every aspiring SST maker needs most of all is money.

Supersonic jets look like the future but it's questionable whether they will ever enter commercial service

Spike Aerospace says it will neutralize the sonic boom on its 18-passenger business jet so it can fly to cities like London. Courtesy Spike Aerospace

“The only thing that matters is cash and so far it isn’t there,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation consultant who publishes the widely distributed Teal Monthly Aircraft Letter.

Government contracts of one or two million dollars are meaningless, he said. “The funds we’re talking about are incredibly trivial in the world of aerospace.”

Reno-based Aerion Corporation is a case in point. In May, it issued a stunning announcement. After nearly two decades of working on a supersonic business jet, it said it was shutting down. It had a plane that could fit seamlessly into airports, an engine deal with GE and an operational procedure that it claimed would allow the plane to pass through Mach 1 soundlessly, though not necessarily consistently. It had purchase commitments totalling US$11 billion from FlexJet and Netjets. It had a partnership with Boeing. It had a plan to launch its first commercial flights by 2026. What it did not have was money.

Supersonic jets look like the future but it's questionable whether they will ever enter commercial service

The S-512 has a lavish business-jet interior designed to compete with first-class cabins. Courtesy Spike Aerospace

“It tore my heart out,” said Steven Berroth, who joined Aerion in 2018 and was senior vice president of operations when the announcement was made. “It was three years of my life, it was 170 employees, their livelihoods and their dreams. It is a terrible outcome.”

“They had put together amazing talent,” said aviation consultant Rollie Vincent, who did work for Aerion. “The number of PhDs per square foot was off the charts,” he said. “But they weren’t building things, they were trying to refine design and purify aerodynamics. At some point, everybody, including investors, want to see parts.”

That is the route Boom Supersonic took. It spent US$150 million, more than half of US$270 million it raised, building the XB1 demonstrator dubbed “Baby Boom.” Though Baby Boom’s design may be unrelated to the Overture jetliner sold to United and Japan Airlines, just having something to fly enhanced Boom’s profile. Still, to build Overture, it needs investors willing to fork over US$6 to US$8 billion.

Supersonic jets look like the future but it's questionable whether they will ever enter commercial service

Exosonic is working with the US Air Force to develop a supersonic jet to transport the US vice president and cabinet-level officials. Courtesy Exosonic

“It is absolutely obtainable. Think about the investment required in relation to the size of opportunity,” Scholl explained. An investment in Boom, he says, is a billion-dollar investment for a multi-billion-dollar payoff.

Not everyone is so sure that business-class travellers will beat a path to a supersonic aeroplane. Noting the enormous improvements in premium cabins today, the wide seats and privacy pods, Aboulafia wonders if cutting flight time in half is worth the step down in comfort.

“Why are you rushing? Why are you paying such a big premium?” he asks. “You won’t have a lie-flat bed or that fantastic screen. You’re not going to have all that.”

Supersonic jets look like the future but it's questionable whether they will ever enter commercial service

While functional, the Concorde’s interior is barebones compared to today’s business-class cabins. Courtesy Jetlinercabins.com and Spiritofconcorde.com

Jennifer Coutts Clay, who was British Airway’s Controller of Corporate Identity when it was operating the SST, has photos of the Concorde interiors in her book, Jetliner Cabins. While not exactly spartan, she describes the environment as similar to today’s premium economy. But what she says is more important than seat size is VIP service and faster movement through the airport on arrival and departure.

“Who wants supersonic if we’re going to be stuck at the airport for 3 hours before and 2 hours after and the distress that you get in a normal airport? There is a need for a new handling procedure,” she says. This is her message to aircraft manufacturers.

Even so, SST developers say supersonic air travel is the inevitable next step. And even among sceptics, there is a sense of nostalgia for the Concorde-era’s age of innocence, what Rollie Vincent called a “time of infinite possibilities.” Innovation was wholeheartedly accepted with an obliviousness to the environmental consequences.

Supersonic jets look like the future but it's questionable whether they will ever enter commercial service

The first flight of Boom’s XB1 supersonic demonstrator is scheduled for early 2022. Courtesy Boom Supersonic

“Suddenly, we started embracing the notion so that we might have to take care of the planet,” Vincent says, adding that he thinks today’s aeronautical engineers are up to the task.

The proponents of SSTs claim to be conscious of the impact of their products, though, and solutions are a lot more complex than just switching to biofuels. SSTs will have to do what the Concorde did not—meet global fuel-efficiency standards. This could be difficult, according to the predictions of environmental scientists Anastasia Kharina and Tim MacDonald, who write in a study for the International Council on Clean Transportation that “commercial SSTs could be three times as fuel-intensive per passenger as comparable subsonic aircraft.”

“We’re making sure we’re not going to make the problem any worse than it is,” Exosonic’s Tie told me. “There are no answers today, but those are issues we want to work to make sure our aircraft is as environmentally friendly as possible.”

Supersonic jets look like the future but it's questionable whether they will ever enter commercial service

The interior of Exosonic’s Air Force 2 includes a situation room with advanced communications to handle world crises in real time. Courtesy Exosonic

When I asked a knowledgeable insider just how likely SSTs were to fly in the near future, he replied that one must strip away the aspirations and look only at the current capabilities. Then, he said, it is clear a revival of supersonic flight now is inconsistent with the huge challenge of climate change.

Supersonic flight “looks like it should be a thing,” Aboulafia told me. “Aviation insiders, writers, and the Richard Aboulafia’s say, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be great if…’ but don’t scratch too deeply.”

That said, the companies that have raised millions and stake their brand names on faster flight, have scratched deeply enough to have seen supersonic’s potential to reinvent itself. Will it happen? Watch this space.

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Wake Up To World Martini Day 19 June

Cocktail legend Dale de Groff talks Grey Goose, World Martini Day and getting wet.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 18/06/2024

Dale de Groff knows his way around a bar. Back when late nights and heavy drinking were a badge of honour, he presided over one of New York City’s most legendary venues, The Rainbow Room, and is credited with reviving the classic cocktail across Northern America.

To promote World Martini Day on June 19 he’s teamed up with vodka company Grey Goose, for which he has served as a brand ambassador since 1997, to make a winning case for the classic Martini everywhere. He is even lending a hand at the opening of Le Martini bar at Crown Melbourne. 

We asked de Groff about his time serving stars like Michale Douglas, Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood and, of course, how he likes his martini.

Dale for the uninitiated, please describe the Rainbow Room.

In the 1980s Rainbow Room was situated high atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. Back then, it was just the pinnacle of glamour.

It has stunning views of the city from way up on the 65th floor. Being situated in the same building as NBC Entertainment, still pretty synonymous with late night TV,  it was and still is the home of Saturday Night Live. You can imagine the kinds of people we’d be getting in each week—from celebrities, musicians, even governors, you name it. 

Robb Report ANZ: What was one of your favourite memories from that time?

Dale de Groff: In ‘88 we held the 30th anniversary Grammys afterparty at the Rainbow Room which I’ll never forget. The event took place over multiple floors, but in the bar itself, the three tiers that go up from the dance floor were taken over by the who’s who of the time. I remember roping off a zone just for music legends like Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and Madonna—who was no stranger to the bar during those times. Not bad for a Wednesday night.

RR: What role do cocktails play in making a good venue truly great?

DD: A venue’s popularity ultimately comes down to the bartender or team behind the bar. How they interact with people, size them up as they walk through the door, talk to them over that three feet of mahogany, I mean, it’s everything.

RR: What’s the trick to becoming a great bartender, one who can easily impress guests, friends and family?

DD: Knowledge behind the craft. Let’s face it, understanding how to create a really high degree of deliciousness is required, but getting deep into how beverages are made is a massive skill in drink making. The research and innovation behind it is just mind-blowing.

RR:What three cocktails should every sophisticate know how to make?

DD: Well, a martini obviously! I personally like mine 50/50—equal parts vodka and vermouth. I used to drink my martinis for the power, but now I prefer a wet martini. Then I think a classic spritz is a must—always effervescent, lower in alcohol, really it’s the preprandial libation. Then thirdly, it’s gotta be an Old Fashioned.

RR: How do you make a solid martini at home?

DD: If I’m making a classic martini at home, I’m adding Grey Goose, vermouth and bitters to a mixing glass with ice, stirring then straining into a chilled glass. Garnished with lemon twist of course.

Le Martini, the world’s first standalone Grey Goose bar, is now open and will welcome guests in time for World Martini Day on 19 June. You can follow:  @LeMartiniBar 

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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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Can Italy’s Lake Garda Finally Compete With Como—or Will It Become a Victim of Its Own Success?

Crowded, cacophonous Lake Como is overflowing, filling its nearby villages and lakes with new luxury hotels and savvy, in-the-know travellers.

By Jake Emen 17/06/2024

The sun is shining down and your wooden Riva Aquarama boat is slicing through the lake. The crowd is beautiful, well-tanned and they like their spritzes. Sound like Lake Como? Almost. You’re about 150 kilometres southeast on the larger, yet less frequented, Lake Garda.

As the popularity of Lake Como has grown thanks to non-stop celebrity endorsements filtered down via social media, an in-crowd is discovering that Garda offers the same glitzy perks of its neighbour with far fewer headaches.

“Giorgio Clooney is to Como what Tom Hanks is to Garda,” says Katie Parla, author of “Food of the Italian Islands” and a tour leader across Italy. “Sure, Como is beautiful and charming, but Garda is equally talented, and some would say, more versatile and well-rounded.”

Grand Hotel Fasano, which turned 135th anniversary, is welcoming a new crowd.
Grand Hotel Fasano,

Long the preferred destination for Italians and other continental families, the secret of Garda has now well and truly been leaked. Investment is pouring in at Ferrari speeds.

On the hotel front, historic, legendary properties such as Grand Hotel Fasano (from USD$470)—which celebrated its 135th anniversary in 2023— are joined by a flock of newcomers. There is the new family-owned spa hotel Cape of Senses, a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member (from USD$628). Conti Thun (from USD$225) debuted as an on-vineyard wine resort last year. And this spring, Borgo Tre (from USD$640) opened a small collection of luxury apartment suites in a converted 18th-century farmhouse. (If you haven’t noticed already, a stay here is still considerably cheaper than say, Lake Como’s Passalacqua at USD$2,660 a night).

The region’s established properties are doing their best to stay ahead of the new arrivals, too. The mountain-top wellness haven Lefay Resort & Spa (from USD$460) is famous for encouraging its guests to wear their plush robes across the grounds from morning to night, as the saunter from treatment to treatment. It’s just unveiled a new, elevated room category dubbed Sky Suites that will speak to Como expats. These top-floor units are 1,500 square feet and come with a terrace hot tub, a private in-suite sauna and, of course, unimpeded views of the lake, mountains, and valleys beyond.

Lefay Resort & Spa is drawing wellness activists to the region.
Lefay Resorts

But change like this always comes at a cost. Locals and long-time visitors worry that the region’s newfound popularity puts it in danger of losing its distinctive atmosfera. Ironically, even the new guard hotels are concerned.

“We don’t want that, we’re not a mass tourism product,” says Cape of Senses general manager Alina Deutsch of any attempt to clone Como at Garda. “What is luxury today? It’s what people are missing from their lives, and that’s space and time.”

“Locals, like me, really hope that our beautiful destination will remain as authentic as it is now, even if international tourism is booming and new luxury properties are going to continue opening in the next couple of years,” added Alice Lancini, Grand Hotel Fasano’s sales and marketing manager.

But the scene in Lake Garda’s is already shifting. Lancini says that in the last three to four years, U.S. travellers have made the lake hotel the brand’s second strongest market after Germany. “Lake Garda is becoming more popular in the States as it’s much cheaper than Como, less crowded—still, for now—and it’s a completely different experience than Lake Como.”

Parla adds that the 50 kilometre-long Lake Garda has a natural protection from “becoming a Disneyland” overnight: its massive size makes it feel more like a sea than a lake at times.

“Como the town, Bellagio, and all the fancy hotels are beyond overcrowded and have become the playground of influencers generating their FOMO-inducing content,” she says. “I don’t see a way to enjoy the lake if you stick to those two towns, which most do…Lake Garda is so much bigger.”

Its other protection? Garda isn’t a first stop for first timers. After all, would you tell someone to skip the Eiffel Tower on their first trip to Paris, or forgo the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco? Icons are icons and that includes Lake Como.

The new family-owned spa hotel Cape of Senses just opened on Lake Garda.
Cape of Senses

“Lake Como is for romance and honeymoons, and lounging around on a boat and never leaving the confines of a luxury hotel,” adds Parla, noting that other lakes and villages attract a more active, creative and adventurous crowd.

So will Garda ever become Como? Lancini thinks it’s likely, and that’s why you should get there sooner rather than later. “Lake Garda is going to boom as a destination in the next three to five years,” she says. “Now is the time to take advantage and come to this beautiful destination before it becomes too crowded.”

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Kyoto Has the Most Michelin Restaurants per Capita: Report

There are 100 Michelin-starred spots in the Japanese city, serving some 1.5 million people.

By Tori Latham 17/06/2024

The residents of Kyoto, Japan, are positively swimming among Michelin-starred restaurants.

The Japanese city is home to the highest density of eateries ranked by the French tire company, including five three-starred restaurants, according to a new report from website Chef’s Pencil. With 100 Michelin-ranked spots and a population of almost 1.5 million, Kyoto has one restaurant for every 14,637 people.

Coming in a close second is—unsurprisingly—Paris: The city’s 122 Michelin-starred restaurants serve 2.1 million residents, resulting in one spot for every 17,235 people. (Paris also has the second-highest absolute number of Michelin-starred restaurants, behind Tokyo.) Third place may come as a shock: Washington, D.C., has ranked highly, with 25 restaurants for 690,000 residents, or one for every 27,582 people.

Of course, there are some caveats for the Chef’s Pencil report. The website looked only at cities with 500,000 or more residents. And the restaurants had to be located within the city limits, rather than the larger metropolitan area. The Michelin Guide itself often includes eateries in a broader region, so this list may be slightly more abbreviated than the official selection.

To address some of that disparity, Chef’s Pencil has also released a ranking of Michelin density in midsize cities, those with 100,000 to 500,000 residents. At the top of that list is Nara, Japan, which has 23 starred restaurants for a population of just 367,000 (one restaurant for every 15,972 residents). That’s followed by Maastricht, Netherlands (six Michelin-starred restaurants and 120,000 residents, or one restaurant for every 20,038 people), and Geneva, Switzerland (eight starred eateries and a population of 204,000, or one spot for every 25,494 residents).

And while France is the country with the most Michelin-starred establishments, Switzerland actually has the most starred spots per capita. The country’s 134 Michelin-starred restaurants serve a population of almost 9 million, or one for every 66,872 residents. The much smaller Luxembourg, with just 672,500 residents, comes in second for this metric: With 10 Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s one for every 67,250 people.

While many people travel to the areas with the most Michelin-starred restaurants, they may be better served by going to the areas where they’re the densest. Neither Kyoto nor D.C. may be called its respective country’s culinary capital, but both are teeming with Michelin-ranked spots relative to their size.

 

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Tyler, the Creator’s Golf le Fleur Teamed Up With Parachute for a New Bedding Collection

Available from today, the new line includes sheets, duvet covers, and even plush slippers.

By Rachel Cormack 17/06/2024

Tyler, the Creator is bringing his signature golfer style from the streets to the sheets.

The two-time Grammy-winning artist’s luxury brand Golf le Fleur has teamed up with U.S. outfit Parachute on a new line of bedding and accessories. The collaboration may not seem as natural a fit as, say, Tyler’s collab with Pharrell and Louis Vuitton or Globe-Trotter, but it did come about quite naturally. Apparently, the rapper walked into the Parachute headquarters in California unannounced and then spent hours with company founder Ariel Kaye. The two talked about dream bedding and the new collection started to form.

The limited-edition Parachute for le Fleur range is fun, whimsical, and a little unpredictable, just like Tyler’s own highly distinctive fashion. The curated pieces showcase an unexpected palette of pastels and le Fleur’s signature camo print, making more of a statement than the boring white sheet. Parachute says the designs are made of “the softest linen you’ll ever touch.” Crafted in Portugal from the finest European flax, the buttery material is also garment-washed for a perfectly lived-in feel from the first night. Linen is fit for both warm or cool sleepers, with an insulating quality that keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The light and airy material is also naturally eco-friendly, antimicrobial, and durable.

The duvet set in Geneva Blue with sheets and pillowcases in Blonde.
Jessica Schramm

Starting at USD$69, the linen bedding is available in the elegant hues Geneva Blue, Jade, and Blonde. The Blonde is adorned with a subtle leopard print, too. The sheets, sham sets, duvet covers, and pillowcases come in a range of sizes, from standard to king.

The Shearling Slippers.
Jessica Schramm

The line also includes statement pieces such as a striking spherical pillow (USD$109) made from 100 percent shearling wool and a cozy throw woven from baby alpaca wool for extra fluffy softness (USD$299). The star of the collab has to be the plush slippers (USD$109), though. Made from 100 percent shearling, the wool clogs are “like fluffy clouds for your feet,” according to Parachute. Available in multiple sizes, the unisex kicks feature sturdy foam soles and are comfortable enough for all-day wear.

You can shop the collection now on the Parachute website.

 

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