Bravissimo! Italian chef on fame and fine food | 7Days | 7Days: Life & Style

Italian-Australian chef Romeo Rigo is no stranger to fame. His career began in the 1960s when he left Venice to work as the personal chef of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt. Today, he hosts cooking segments on Weekly TV and ABC Radio in Australia and is currently a penning a cook book.

This week, Rigo will spend four days at the Sofitel turning out special dishes and leading a cooking workshop. Proud and flamboyant, Romeo spoke with 7Days about his life as a celebrity chef.

When did you choose to become a chef?
I was studying to be a dental technologist. In my last year of university, when the exam came and I had to do an autopsy, I fell down like a bag of potatoes because I just couldn’t handle it. Then I had a problem with my father. He was a doctor, and because of the old Italian mentality, he wouldn’t talk to me because I didn’t want to continue my career in medicine like him. So I decided to become a chef, and I got an apprenticeship at the Cipriani Hotel (in Venice). That was about 50 years ago.

Why do you still cook after all these years?
I can’t stay away from cooking. Its love, its like a drug. For a lot of people, cooking is just money. I never look at it that way, I look it at for the enjoyment and creativity of creating good dishes. It’s a wonderful thing.

Your first chef job was working for Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt. What was he like?
He was absolutely a fantastic person. The day he disappeared, I was at his house in Portsea preparing breakfast. It happened early in the morning, and we did not find out until about 10:30am that he had disappeared. He dived into the ocean, and never came back to the surface. The water was moving out to sea at about nine knots, and by the time they began the search he was gone. They never found his body. Whenever I think about it, I feel upset. He was a beautiful, wonderful man, and I think the best prime minister we have had. And he loved his food.

Any other famous people you’ve served?
I’ve served Johnny Cocker, the Rolling Stones, Tony Bennett. You name it. I’ve got all the big followers. I’ve got them coming after me after 10 years, or more. Once, I was in the kitchen, and my dining room manager came in and said that there was a gentleman who wanted to see me. I knew him from somewhere but couldn’t recognize him. He got up, big as he was, and said, “Don’t you remember me?” And I remembered, oh my God! It’s Barry White!

People call you a celebrity chef. Do you enjoy being in the spotlight?
I don’t mind, it’s fun. But for me, I prefer to be in the kitchen teaching the young generation.

Does it take a special kind of person to be a chef?
We’re another breed of people. We can talk for two hours about what we’re going to cook and how we’re going to cook it, and not much else. A lot of people call us workaholics, but it is love for what you do.

What culinary trends can you not stand the most?
Changing the name of a dish to make it sound Italian when it is not Italian. I hate that.

What food do you despise?
Fast food, I hate it. First of all, the people don’t really know what they’re eating because they can put anything it. Secondly, all the cheap cuts of meat they cover up with spices. It’s frozen when they cook it, it’s dry, not juicy, it’s terrible. I can’t describe it any other way. Mind you, I’ve tried them all. The only one I could stand a little bit was Kentucky Fried Chicken, but I had to peel off the skin and only eat the meat.

Have you discovered any great Khmer dishes since you arrived?
My manager recently took me to Sugar Palm. To be honest with you, I was very surprised. It was a nice little restaurant. The guy cooked me a dish which was called, I think, Amok with seafood. It was served and cooked in a coconut shell, and me being a chef, I thought that the flavour was nice and clean and fresh.

What do you like most about Phnom Penh?
The people are so polite, so beautiful.

 I don’t think they have bad bones in their body. Everyone wants to help and they smile at you all the time. They’re happy people, they’re not like people in Europe or the States.

In some places in the world, they make you feel inferior. Here, they make you feel like they’ve known you for a thousand years.

Boris Berezovsky found dead at his Berkshire home

Police trained in handling chemical, biological and nuclear material have launched a search of the Berkshire home of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, hours after the fierce critic of the Kremlin was found dead.

The circumstances of the 67-year-old’s death were unclear, though there were unconfirmed claims that the former power-broker of Russian politics had killed himself at the property in Ascot. Police said the death was being investigated as unexplained and the search for hazardous materials was a precautionary measure. Reports said his body was discovered in a bath.

Berezovsky’s death comes only months after he lost a high-profile and personally disastrous court case against fellow Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. He had accused the Chelsea football club owner of blackmail, breach of trust and breach of contract in relation to a Russian oil company.

After the claims were dismissed, he was ordered by the high court to pay £35m of Abramovich’s legal costs. His financial difficulties were recently exacerbated after his former mistress, Elena Gorbunova, 43, claimed Berezovsky owed her £5m in compensation over the sale of their £25m residence in Surrey.

Berezovsky is said by friends to have become deeply depressed last year, not just because he lost to Abramovich, but because the damning judgment at the end of the case had so badly damaged his reputation.

The businessman thought highly of the British legal system – explaining in an interview with the Guardian six years ago that it had been one of the reasons he settled in the UK – and is said to have been distraught that the judge, Mrs Justice Gloster, described him as “dishonest”, “unreliable” and even “deluded”.

One close friend said Berezovsky had taken antidepressants last year and had checked into the Priory clinic for a brief period about four months ago while being treated for depression, adding: “He was very, very low. He talked about suicide. He would say to me: ‘It’s all over, it’s all finished, there’s no point in anything – the best thing that could happen to me is that I have a heart attack.’

“But I still don’t believe he had the courage to take his own life – he loved life too much.”

Following the loss of his fortune, Berezovsky was said to have been concerned about his ability to support his children. He had six children by three women: his two ex-wives and Gorbunova. While two of his children are now in their 40s, two are in their 20s and his youngest are aged 12 and 10. The businessmen had been mired in a series of legal disputes, and is said to have been worn down by his long battles with the Russian state, during which there were reports that he had faced a number of assassination plots.

Berezovsky, a Kremlin insider in the days of Boris Yeltsin, left Russia in the late 1990s after a money-laundering scandal involving Aeroflot airlines and has been the subject of an extradition order by Russia. He has appeared on Moscow’s most wanted list since 2001 on charges of fraud, money-laundering and attempted interference in the Russian political process. A Russian court sentenced Berezovsky in absentia for embezzling $2bn from two major state companies. Moscow has repeatedly requested his extradition, though British authorities have not complied.

He had forged close contacts with a number of influential British figures around the time of the 1996 Russian election, which saw Yeltsin defeat a communist challenger, and was permitted to settle in the UK. In time, he changed his name to Platon Elenin, Platon being the name of a character in a Russian film based loosely upon his life. He was subsequently given a British passport in this name.

In 2007, Berezovsky said he had been told to leave by British police for his safety after the British security services claimed they had evidence of an assassination plot against him.

In the meantime, he led a lavish lifestyle, with properties in London, the home counties and the south of France, a private plane and a 1927 Rolls-Royce.

All that was wiped out by the disastrous defeat in the Abramovich case. Last week he was reported to have been selling a £50,000 Andy Warhol portrait of Lenin.

One Russian lawyer, Alexander Dobrovinsky, said that Berezovsky “was in a dreadful, horrendous state; covered in debt, almost broke”.

According to Putin’s official spokesman, Berezovsky wrote a personal letter to the Russian president two months ago, asking for forgiveness. “Boris Berezovsky passed a letter personally written by him. He admitted that he made lots of mistakes and asked Vladimir Putin to forgive him,” said Dmitry Peskov. “He asked Putin for a chance to come back to Russia.”

Peskov said nothing about Putin’s reaction to Berezovsky’s letter, adding: “I can say that in any case information about somebody’s death – whoever the person was – cannot bring positive emotions.” In the UK, however, friends of Berezovsky cast doubt on this claim.

In Russia, Berezovsky’s death was greeted with surprise, with former associates and observers offering opinion on his legacy and the possible causes of his unexpected demise.

Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was a rival of Berezovsky in the late 1990s and knew him well, said: “His life at the end was terrible … he lost money, he lost to Abramovich and he lost his wife … he not only suffered financially but also personally.

“His minuses for the country were more than his pluses, but he wasn’t too much of a devil – although he often wanted to look like a devil.”

Prominent opposition activist Sergei Parkhomenko, talking to liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy about Berezovsky’s differences with Putin, said: “We were talking once and we turned to the strange topic of health and illness. He told me: ‘My health is yet another weapon. Who dies first, loses. And I never lose’.”

Parkhomenko added: “He didn’t seem like a potential suicide.”

Mark Feigin, a lawyer, who worked as a civil servant in the 1990s and met Berezovsky several times, said: “He was not a little person in politics and had unbelievable energy … things you couldn’t do, Berezovsky could do.

“Over the last few months he had been experiencing a full exhaustion of his internal reserves, maybe this caught up with him.”

Andrei Sidelnikov, a Russian emigrant, told he had known Berezovsky for 11 years. He said: “Such a person could never commit suicide. He was an exceptionally joyous person and, despite his various reverses in life, always remained as such. My personal opinion is that his death has either natural causes, or [is the work of] the Russian secret service. Everybody knows that Boris was Putin’s enemy number one.”

RIA Novosti, a state-run news agency, cited a source close to Berezovsky, saying he had died of a heart attack, and had recently undergone treatment for health problems in Israel.

Proper Feeding An Essential Part Of Responsible Pet Ownership

There are a growing number of pet owners in the Philippines. As such, the Pet Food Institute (PFI), the U.S. trade association for the makers of cat and dog food, has partnered with the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines (VPAP) to create a campaign on pet health and responsible pet ownership called “Well-Fed, Well-Nurtured”. This campaign encourages Filipino pet owners to supervise their pets’ diet carefully and seek professional advice from veterinarians regarding the overall care of their cats and dogs.

Feeding pets the right food is a key component in ensuring pet health and wellness.

“Veterinarians and animal nutritionists have determined that table scraps are not balanced meals for household pets,” said Duane Ekedahl, president of PFI. “When pet owners mix leftovers into a balanced diet, they can inadvertently add extra calories, throw off the nutritional balance of the diet, and can even introduce foods that are detrimental to the pet’s health.”

Pet nutritional needs are different from the needs of people, so pets should be fed the appropriate amount and type of food, not leftovers of food for people. It is also important to feed products to the type of pet they were designed for (i.e. cat food only to cats and dog food only to dogs) because cats and dogs have different nutritional needs as well.

VPAP president Dr. Gabriel Paz explained that many of the foods people eat are harmful to pets and can even be deadly, such as chocolate, onion, caffeine and alcohol. “Even if a type of human food does not contain a harmful ingredient, it may contain too much fat, salt or spices that can upset a pet’s stomach,” Dr. Paz said. “While people enjoy variety in their diet, cats and dogs actually do better on a consistent diet. Switching foods quickly can cause messy, digestive issues for pets.”When buying their pet’s basic diet, pet owners should look for products marked “complete and balanced” or similarly labeled, as they are designed to provide all the nutrition a pet needs. It is important to use products as they are intended or instructed on the label such as food for special use or supplemental feeding. Make certain that the pet has plenty of water to drink and do not overfeed. If for any reason a pet owner feels that their pet is not doing well on a particular diet, he or she may want to seek help from a veterinarian or change to another product.

“Good nourishment is important, and with today’s wide assortment of commercial pet foods fully formulated for all stages of pet growth, it is easy to find well-balanced meals for pets,” adds Ekedahl.

Complete and balanced commercial pet food has been hailed as one of the 20th century’s revolutionary inventions that have resulted in longer, healthier lives for pet cats and dogs in conjunction with regular veterinary care.

Decades of research have been conducted in the area of canine and feline nutrition, resulting in the carefully formulated products found in the market today that are designed to meet all the complex nutritional needs of cats and dogs. With just a small can of food or scoop of kibble, pet owners are able to fulfill all the nutritional needs of their family cats or dogs.

′Wide Entertainment News ′ to Follow Teen Top Around in Mini-Documentary

Wide Entertainment News will be airing clips from Teen Top′s everyday life.

This week′s Starcam, the Wednesday section of Mnet′s Wide Entertainment News, will be showing how the Teen Top members fared through a week of their promotions.

The camera will be visiting their waiting rooms, their vans and beauty shops to catch the Teen Top members in their ′natural habitat′.

The members will be shown playing smartphone games just before their appearances on music shows or radio shows, and at times putting on little skits by themselves in front of the camera.

After a fansigning event, in which they got to meet their fans in person, they especially thanked their fans in front of the camera, saying, “We get pumped up today again thanks to our fans.”

Teen Top′s Starcam will air on March 20.

Photo credit: Mnet

Reach reporter Park HyunMin on Twitter @happygato!

Reporter : Park, HyunMin (
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Taylor Swift Has A New Beau

Taylor Swift has a new beau according to Life Style magazine. Reportedly Swift is dating Hawaiian surfer, John John Florence.

“He and Taylor have been text-messaging,” a source told Life Style magazine.

Florence was asked about his relationship with Swift on TV at a surfing event in Australia, but he remained mum.

“Uh, I’m not supposed to talk comment about that.”

Surf All Beaches also confirmed the news in a tweet, “John John Florence recently announced that him and Taylor Swift are officially in a relationship. #Swifties #JohnJohn.”

The two seem to be in the beginning stages of the relationship and Swift wants to keep things quiet.

“John John doesn’t want to ruin things, so he’s being careful not to say too much.”

Obama appeals to Israelis: Give justice to the Palestinians

President Barack Obama on Thursday urged the Israeli people to put themselves in the shoes of Palestinians and recognize their “right to self-determination, their right to justice.” NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

President Barack Obama on Thursday urged the Israeli people to put themselves in the shoes of Palestinians and recognize their “right to self-determination, their right to justice.”

In a televised speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center, Obama said there should be “two states for two peoples.”

Breaking off from his prepared text, he said that he recently met with a group of young Palestinians.

“Talking to them, they weren’t that different from my daughters, they weren’t that different from your daughters or sons,” he said.

“I honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with these kids, they’d say, ‘I want these kids to succeed, I want them to prosper, I want them to have opportunities just like my kids do,'” he added to applause.

Obama, on the second day of his first official trip to Israel, warned that “the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state” was through the creation of an independent Palestine.

That state had to be “viable” with real borders, he said, criticizing the building of settlements in the West Bank.

President Obama receives applause from a crowd in Jerusalem Thursday by challenging groups that reject Israel.

He urged ordinary Israelis to put pressure on their leaders to achieve a future in which Jews, Christians and Muslims could live in peace.

“I also know that not everyone in this hall will agree with what I have to say about peace. I recognize that there are those who are not simply skeptical about peace, but question its underlying premise, have a different vision for Israel’s future and that’s a part of democracy and the discourse between our two countries,” he said.

“Peace is necessary, I believe that. I believe that peace is the only path to true security. You have the opportunity to be the generation that permanently secures the Zionist dream, or you can face a growing challenge to its future,” he added.

Jason Reed/ Reuters

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Israel’s President Shimon Peres after Obama was presented with the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israel’s highest civilian honor, during an official state dinner in Jerusalem on Thursday.

At a state dinner in Jerusalem Thursday evening, Israel’s President Shimon Peres awarded Obama with Israel’s highest honor — the Presidential Medal of Distinction — emphasizing what Peres called his “unforgettable contribution” to the security of Israel.

U.S. support for the Iron Dome missile defense system had been instrumental in saving Israeli lives, Peres said.

As Obama sat at the dais with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara before a room full of Israeli dignitaries, Peres called out the U.S. president’s “tireless work to make Israel strong to make peace possible.”

Peres said he was “convinced” the United States “will do whatever is necessary on the Iranian threat.”

Obama said he was accepting the award “on behalf of the American people.”

Israel must avoid ‘isolation’
In his address at the convention center Obama stressed that America would always support Israel, echoing his comments Wednesday that the U.S. was Israel’s “eternal” ally.

But he said peace had to be made between “peoples” and could not be achieved through military hardware alone.

“Given the frustration in the international community, Israel must reverse an undertow of isolation. And given the march of technology, the only way to truly protect the Israeli people over the long term is through the absence of war — because no wall is high enough, and no Iron Dome is strong enough and perfect enough, to stop every enemy that’s intent on doing so from inflicting harm,” he added.

There was a warm, official welcome for President Obama in Ramallah. In the streets, away from the Palestinian government compound, street demonstrations. NBC’s Martin Fletcher reports.

Obama said Israel could not be expected to negotiate with anyone “dedicated to its destruction.”

But he said he believed that Israelis had a “true partner” in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, along with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. On a visit to the West Bank earlier Thursday, Obama condemned the Palestinian Hamas party, which holds sway in the Gaza Strip and is a rival to Abbas’ Fatah movement.

Oliver Weiken / EPA

President Barack Obama embraces Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival at the presidential compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday.

“So many young Palestinians have rejected violence. There’s an opportunity there. There’s a window,” he said. “Peace is possible.”

At one point in the speech, someone in the audience began heckling Obama, who peered toward the back of the hall to try to see what was happening.

“This is part of the lively debate we talked about,” he said, referencing a line earlier in his speech. “This is good.”

He joked about media reports that he and Prime Minister Netanyahu do not get along. It was just a “plot” between him and “my friend Bibi” to give journalists something to write about, he suggested.

Earlier, Obama met with Abbas in the West Bank.

After his helicopter touched down in Ramallah, Obama was greeted cordially by Abbas and the two hugged.

“We cannot give up on the search for peace, no matter how hard it is. … Too much is at stake,” the president said during a joint news conference.

President Barack responds to a heckler in the crowd during his speech Thursday to the Israeli people at the Jerusalem Convention Center .

‘Misery’ of Hamas
He sounded hopeful about Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and reiterated U.S. willingness to help.

“The United States is deeply committed to the creation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine,” he said, adding, “Simply, Palestinians deserve a state of their own.”

When asked whether he thought a halt to further settlement activity was required before peace talks could begin in earnest, Obama demurred. 

“If the only way to even begin the conversation is that we get everything right from the outset … then we’re never going to get to the broader issue, which is how you actually structure a state of Palestine that is sovereign and contiguous,” the president said.

“The core issue right now is how do we get sovereignty for the Palestinian people and ensure security for the Israeli people,” he added. “If we solve those two problems, the settlement problem will be solved.”

The president praised Abbas for his leadership and sharply criticized rival group Hamas for the “misery” of Palestinians in Gaza.

For his part, Abbas said he had “renewed confidence” in U.S. assistance with the peace process after meeting with Obama.

“We have conducted a good and useful round of talks,” he said through an interpreter.

Abbas called for an end to Israeli construction of settlements in Palestinian territories.

He warned that continued building of the sites was causing Palestinians, particularly the younger generation, to lose hope that Israel and a sovereign Palestine could peacefully co-exist.

When young Palestinians see the settlements, he said, “they do not trust the two-state solution anymore, and this is very dangerous” for the future.

Two rockets that may have been a show of protest were fired into southern Israel close to the border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip early Thursday.


Iran threatens to destroy Tel Aviv, Haifa if Israel attacks

Obama says ‘still time’ for diplomacy with Iran

Israel walls off the Arab Spring

On the Brink: Palestinians, Israelis lukewarm on visit


This story was originally published on

Healing laser enhances pet health at La Jolla Veterinary Hospital

Dr. Marilyn Seals (left) and Dr. Julie Breher of La Jolla Veterinary Hospital perform laser therapy on Pixel the dachshund. (Courtesy Photo)

By Marti Gacioch

Whether it’s for arthritis, dermatitis, a surgical incision or dental inflammation, La Jolla Veterinary Hospital is seeing amazing healing benefits for pets treated with K-Laser therapy, according to Dr. Julie Breher, DVM, MPVM.

“Laser therapy is appropriate for any inflammatory condition like arthritis; in 90 percent of the cases, we see improvement for dogs that walk better and are stronger,” Breher said.

With pet arthritis, the hospital’s three veterinarians adhere to a 3-2-1 protocol. They use the laser on a pet three times a week during the first week, twice a week on the second week, and once during the third week. Then they do monthly or bi-monthly single-dose boosters if needed.

Each laser treatment takes 3-5 minutes per site. On a typical large older dog with hip and back problems, the vet will treat the left hip, the right hip and the lower lumbar spine, taking about 15 minutes in all.

“We’re still finding more uses for The K-Laser; it’s good for inflammation, and when we use it on an incision post-op, we can usually take the stitches out in seven days, rather than 14,” Breher said.

The K-Laser is also used for “hot spots” (moist dermatitis) frequently caused by allergies. “Hot spots occur when the dog starts scratching and biting at a particular location that may cause enough trauma to induce a secondary infection that gets wet and infected,” Breher said. “We usually put the pet on antibiotics, but now we’re also giving them the laser, which makes a hot spot significantly better in 24 to 72 hours.”

The K-Laser also relieves dental treatment inflammation.

“We use the laser while they’re under anesthesia, and when I discharge a pet, I see a lot less swelling, and owners say that their pets are more comfortable,” Breher said. “Laser treatments are not harmful and there are no medications required. Furthermore, for holistically minded people, it’s a wonderful alternative to pain pills and extremely cost-effective.”

Laser therapy (the application of energy via light into the tissue) has been around since the 1960s, but the Food and Drug Administration didn’t approve it for use on humans and pets until the early 2000s.

La Jolla Veterinary Hospital
Address: 7520 Fay Ave., La Jolla, Calif.
Hours: Open seven days a week with new Sunday hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phone: (858) 454-6155

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Shinhwa Talks About Concert on ′Wide Entertainment News ′

Mnet′s Wide Entertainment News recently sat down with Shinhwa at it′s 2013 Shinhwa 15th Anniversary Concert – The Legend Continues concert, held from March 16-17 in Seoul, and the episode aired on March 18.

Shinhwa meets its 15th anniversary this month, as it debuted on March 24, 1998, but the group managed to show that some things never change even after 15 years with its splendid performances and songs.

The members emphasized that “you are the hero of the concert,” and asked fans to enjoy their time as much as they could.

In the interview, the members said they donned new, shocking styles because “the performances are of course important, but the members′ looks are also as important.”

Andy appeared in what the members called a ′Greek Prince′ look, while Jun Jin joked that he had lived with his hair designers for two days for his blond hair.

Shinhwa plans to release its 11th album in late April then embark on an Asia tour.

When asked about its future plans for promotions, Shinhwa hinted that a comeback was near, saying, “Let′s meet at M Countdown soon.”

Reporter : Lee, KyungNam (
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