What have you been up to since the demise of Toscana? 'Besides consulting for a Beijing group and doing the promotion [of white truffles from Alba], I helped Roland Schuller open The Drawing Room [in Causeway Bay]. We just got our first Michelin star. [Schuller is Swiss] and he's lived and worked in Italy. A similar appreciation for food brought us together. He's humble, passionate and the best in Hong Kong for putting flavours together.' Have you missed being in the kitchen? 'Yes. I was happy that I had a free hand to do whatever I wanted at the Ritz-Carlton but it's the dream of every chef to have their own place. So I'm opening my own restaurant in Alexander House, in Central - it's [going to be] called Otto e Mezzo, after the  Federico Fellini film, 8?. There is a central theme about a [film] director's [creative] process and for me, that's cooking - a beautiful confusion.' How involved have you been with the design? 'I designed almost everything myself - with the help of Design Post from Japan. There is an ageing room for hams and cheeses, a wine room and a private room for 38 people - where I want to do banquets but in a more intimate way. I designed a proper kitchen with separate walk- ins [refrigerators] for fish, meat and vegetables. There is a window facing the mall; people can look through to the pasta station. I have a great pastry guy who worked for [Joel] Robuchon in Macau for three years. We have space for 16 cooks.' And what will be on the menu? 'I'm most excited about Amedei chocolate, the fish from Japan and this new Italian flour which is less refined, and gives a different flavour and texture to pasta and bread. I've been testing a dish with marinated raw red prawn and artichoke, served with Taiyouran organic egg from Japan. The flavour of this egg is more rich and clear than anything I've tasted before. [Producers] pay a lot of attention to the feed and the breeding of the chickens.' Will you be getting the old team back together? 'In this business, your staff become part of your family. You probably spend more time at work than at home. I'm lucky to be bringing four of my cooks from the Ritz to the new restaurant. The rest I can't afford - I'm proud to say they've all moved to higher positions since leaving Toscana. Many restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau have my former cooks as sous chefs.' What does the Michelin Guide mean to you? 'To judge Chinese food in Hong Kong, ultimately, Chinese critics have to do that. For Western restaurants, the Michelin guide means a lot. To have one or more stars gives a place an international identity and status; it will bring better Western dining to Hong Kong.'