Hello folks!!! FIRST OFF…Thanks so much Baccarat Magazine and Jill for giving me the chance to feature restaurants, having interesting conversations, and writing about my foodie journey and passion!! 😉 Cant wait for the next one!!!
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BACCARAT/NOV2013/MODEL LUNCH WITH Lisa S/DINING OUT -JESSICA JANN COLUMN (Yup Yup, published writer here!!!)
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Model, actress and foodie Jessica Jann hails from sunny California where she majored in theatre and business at Irvine. She made her screen debut in Lethal Weapon 4 at age eight. Now living in Hong Kong, she’s signed to Bullet Films. Follow her food journey at www.eatwithjess.com and in this column as she takes supermodels out for lunch.
Photography by Ike, Dress by Mitu, Hair by Katie @ iL Colpo, Makeup by CLing
A Culinary Conversation . . . with Lisa S
With the very humble, down to earth and new supermom(del) Lisa S!
Lisa Selesner walks over to our table at Common Room like a ray of sunshine. She’s a statuesque supermodel and incredibly fit. And for having a baby a few months back she looks stunning. Lisa’s skin is amazing too and her bubbly personality shines through when she greets us. She’s frank, lovable, energetic, and boy can she eat? I’ve never seen a supermodel scarf down risotto or wagyu foie gras burgers (she had two, which I’ll get to later) like that.
Lisa burst into the modelling in New York when she was only 14 years old. She still does the occasional job, but has branched out now into show hosting, the top-rated Singapore-produced reality show Supermodel Me, and a radio show on RTHK, as well as strutting her stuff at red carpet events. And all while building an online beauty empire, marrying her longtime beau, actor Daniel Wu, and most lately being a super mom to baby Raven.
Jess: Congrats, Lisa, on the arrival of Raven! Five months later you look in amazing shape. How much weight did you gain while you were pregnant? And more importantly, how did you lose it?
Lisa: [Big laugh] Towards the end of my pregnancy I weighed about 200 pounds. I was feeling very bloated. I put on well over 70 pounds over the nine months, but of course I was very underweight for my height when I became pregnant. I lost the first 50 pounds the old-fashioned way – just eating healthily and exercising. Shortly after having Raven, I went back to work hosting and filming for Supermodel Me. On set I naturally lost a lot of weight. You don’t tend to eat much when you’re working, so that helped!
Jess: How has married life with Daniel changed after having Raven? Any tips for new mothers?
Lisa: Well, the obvious thing is that Daniel and I have less time for each other, so we have to make a conscious effort to hang out. After the baby goes to sleep, we go up to our rooftop to just talk. We appreciate the times we are together now. My one tip for new moms is to get sleep! Once the baby comes you hardly get the chance! When the baby sleeps, you should sleep too. Also, don’t transfer your anxiousness to your child. Babies are very astute beings. They feel so many different emotions.
Jess: How have you found motherhood? What’s the best thing for you about being a mother?
Lisa: Once you have a child, you start to realise that there really is a meaning to life. It’s what I feel I’m meant to do; it’s so natural. Work becomes more valuable; life becomes more valuable. I feel there’s more of a purpose. I want to build a future for Raven.
Jess: How did you come up with the name Raven?
Lisa: I have a friend who lives here whom I’ve known for more than 10 years. When I first heard her name, it just struck a chord with me. It’s beautiful, feminine yet powerful. It has such strong character and it really suited Raven when she first came out.
Jess: You have an amazing career while being a great new mother. How do you juggle it all?
Lisa: I have help! [Another big, beautiful laugh] I’m lucky that I have good help, someone whom I feel able to leave my child with. I believe a stay-at-home mom is the hardest job in the world. They deserve a medal. I’m lucky to have a moment to breathe, and I really salute those stay full-time moms.
Jess: How did you end up in Hong Kong?
Lisa: I was spotted by a photographer while horse riding and signed by an agency at 14, but my mom said I must finish high school, which I did. I then went straight to Munich, Japan, Milan and Paris; I had the opportunity to travel the world. I was in the industry for a long time and even though I was working a lot I hardly made any money. Then, my accountant gave me the best advice I ever got: he told me to go work in Hong Kong. To keep the story short, I went through a terrible break up with an ex-boyfriend and even though I had re-applied to NYU, I decided to try it out in Hong Kong to get away from everything. Somehow, three months became six months, six months became a year and, before I knew it, it became my home. Hong Kong appreciated my look.
Jess: Where do you see yourself in the future?
Lisa: I’m going to be doing the whole school run thing! I’ll be in America. I won’t be working much; by then I want to be a full-time mom. I want to make sure my kid survives high school and get into college. High school was brutal!
Jess: Any wise words for aspiring models?
Lisa: The industry is incredibly tough, so you need a really thick skin. You are going to get a lot of Nos before you get your first Yes. Giselle Bundchen worked for years before getting any sort of fame. Same goes for Karlie Kloss. You have to be prepared to work hard. It’s not an easy route. You have to be strong, confident and never doubt yourself. You have to know yourself and be very comfortable with yourself. Believe in yourself.
Jess: What’s your typical day of eats?
Lisa: [Attacking a mighty large portion of lobster risotto] The first thing I do is wake up and pump milk for Raven. I’ll get take-out breakfast when I’m at work, usually Chinese fast food. But lunch and dinners are a lot healthier. I eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, tofu and whole grains at home. I have really good help in the kitchen.
Jess: Do you have any beauty secrets or a special fitness regimen?
Lisa: I exercise. I’m not going to say I love it, but once I get up I need to, so I get on the machine. Exercise is how to achieve longevity, be healthy; it keeps you young inside out. My best beauty advice is just to wash your face before bed, whether you have been wearing makeup or not. There are so many dirty pollutants in the air it’s scary!
With Chef Tez…thank you for the scrumptious eats!
Food: Hot pot
Restaurant: Him Kee (for hot pot!)
Drink: Fresh lime soda. I don’t drink much alcohol, just the occasional glass of red wine.
Dessert: Chocolate molten lava cake.
Movie: The Usual Suspects (the ending was wow, shocking; it’s so well written and amazing acting!)
Mommie must-have: A nursing bra! Or . . . patience
Travel destination: South Africa [Lisa owns two houses there now, out in the wilds.]
De-stresser: Coming home from work and playing with Raven, and hanging out with my husband.
Wagyu Foie Gras burgers lights up the menu at Common Room….here’s a review of the gastrobar taking LKF by storm!
Perfect Mini World
Common Room (you can read my Common Room post on EWJ TOO!) is no common room. It’s a gastrobar that has served up a lot of buzz since opening in late spring – around the same time Lisa gave birth to Raven, in fact. Their three cocktail mixologists are top-notch, serving guests scintillating sinful delights. The premises are industrial chic with plenty of wood; it’s classic, polished, comfortable, sophisticated and sleek. But the best part is that this little gem is hidden right in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong.
The food does not disappoint either. A world-inspired menu features tapas-style bites from French, Italian, Indian and several other cuisines. Lunch is a set with antipasti buffet and a choice of mains, but Lisa and I were treated to some of their signature dinnertime dishes. Their chicken liver and foie gras pate is infamous; seasoned with peppercorn and brandy it sits atop a crisp homemade crostini. The slight sweetness of the thin brandy and peppercorn jelly blends delightfully with the rich, creamy and filling foie gras. Smear a generous coating on a crunchy piece of crostini, and it is perfection. Lisa and I gobbled it up.
Sweet potato fries are served piping hot with a special homemade chipotle and buttermilk aioli sauce. It’s amazing how good these are. Lightly fried, they are crispy on the outside and a faultless blend of light, fluffy and sweet on the inside. The buttermilk sauce is absolutely addictive.
Wagyu foie gras burgers, with caramelised onions, rocket and balsamic vinegar, came next. And my goodness, these mini sliders are among the best I’ve ever had. Two mini buttered sesame buns sandwich a big, juicy, flavourful beef patty buttered with a strong, generous, succulent portion of foie gras. Sharp and the tangy, the balsamic vinegar cuts superbly into the meaty combination. I’m drooling as I type . . .
And last but not least, the lobster risotto. Common Room’s head chef Tez Pun comes from an Italian cooking background, so his Italian dishes are a special treat. Succulently creamy and perfectly seasoned, the rice is mushy and marvellous. Lisa loved this dish and we scooped it all up, even licking the last spoonful clean. A flawless end to a great meal.
Common Room, 1/F, Wo On Building, 8-13 Wo On Lane, Central, tel: 2525 3599, www.common-room.hk
Have you all read about my Amber lunch with supermodel Qiqi (post)!? Here’s a look into my last issue!
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<3 Always, Jess