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The New GM

on February 23rd, 2010
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23

Feb

Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz
Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz

Bob Lutz Drives Home a Few Key Points for the Energized Automaker and the Industry as a Whole

 

by Alain Gayot
 

 

From his early upbringing in Zurich and cross educational platforms in Lausanne and UC Berkeley to a five year stint as a US Marine Naval Aviator, Vice Chairman of GM Robert Lutz has been a citizen of the auto world. With positions at General Motors in Europe starting in 1963, BMW, Ford Europe and U.S., Chrysler and back in the General ranks since 2002, the multi-lingual executive wants to hang on until his “Intense Focus on Superior Products” doctrine sticks at The New GM. “Our J.D. Power Initial Quality Study results are at par with Honda and Toyota… and we can still do much better,” claims Lutz. “Residual values for our new models are up,” he added, “sales are up, and we are energized with the launch of the Volt in the fall of 2010.”

 

Continue reading “The New GM” »



04

Dec

Clos d'Ambonnay cork and capsule with cage
Clos d’Ambonnay cork and capsule with cage

Krug is it, Monsieur le President!


by Alain Gayot

 

 

 

Since it’s no longer politically correct to take the Gulfstream Jet around, we suggest you trade it in for a couple of cases of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay. It seems the two have about the same value these days. Yes, at $2,250 a bottle, this ultra Champagne is très cool, très, très bon and très, très, très cher… but no one has to know it costs that much, right?

 

 

 

Set up a listing on eBay and get rid of the kerosene-guzzling airplane and do the environment some good; Sarah Palin did it. The big difference is that you’d be hard-pressed to sell the carbon-footprint-handicapped flying machine in these economic times; while filling your Riedel flute with a few drops of the golden beverage is nearly impossible.

 

Continue reading “Champagne Krug Clos d’Ambonnay” »



Porsche Panamera

on November 24th, 2009
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24

Nov

Porsche Panamera Turbo

Porsche Panamera Turbo

Power of Four


by Alain Gayot
 

The definition of a Porsche could be along the lines of: Sleek and efficient German-made two-seat sports car with a mid-or rear-positioned engine with impeccable handling.
  So, why is it that when the engineers in Stuttgart move the engine to the front and add two more doors, the car flies even higher, on a business level? And, it’s an SUV to boot, which could not be furthest from the definition of what the iconic car born circa 1946 had been, and it’s been Porsche’s top seller since inception.  

  Continue reading “Porsche Panamera” »



By Jeff Hoyt

 

Our own Alain Gayot appeared as a judge on the season finale of Hell’s Kitchen on FOX-TV on Tuesday October 13, and showed that his taste matched that of chef and host Gordon Ramsay. In the first showdown between the final two competitors, filmed outside of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles, Alain preferred Dave Levey’s rack of venison with sour cream and chive parsnip purée over Kevin Cottle’s petite clambake with poached lobster and clam pudding. Despite fracturing his wrist during the production, Dave went on to win this sixth season of competition, and the position of head chef at Araxi Restaurant in Whistler, British Columbia.



Fashionable Wine

on September 22nd, 2009
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22

Sep

Marian Jansen op de Haar, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Alain Gayot at the Ferragamo Wine Dinner

Marian Jansen op de Haar, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Alain Gayot at the Ferragamo Wine Dinner

By Alain Gayot

 

Most of us, especially women, associate the name Salvatore Ferragamo with a high-end designer of shoes and handbags. And for the right reasons. It was for noted actors that Salvatore originally designed the pieces. “Next time you see a photo of Marilyn Monroe with her skirt flying in the air, pay attention to her shoes,” says Salvatore Ferragamo, the designer’s grandson in charge of the Il Borro wine program back in Tuscany.

 

We had the opportunity to sample new releases from the estate at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at LA Live. A new era for sure, but the wines are crafted with the very same care and quality as the fashion items. The good thing, though, is that the pricing is actually quite reasonable, delivering a good value.

Continue reading “Fashionable Wine” »



Julia Child brings inspiration to a young woman through her cooking in the film Julie & Julia

Julia Child brings inspiration to a young woman through her cooking in the film Julie & Julia

By Alain Gayot

How about a cute movie which is certainly going to deliver good laughs if not a bunch of chuckles sans the Hollywood special effects craze? Should you be a foodie or other type of gourmand head to see Julie & Julia, a movie based on the book by fellow blogger Julie Powell, who you can read more about at Eatizen Jane. In celebration of the film, some restaurants, like Chef Mavro in Honolulu, are offering movie-themed dinner menus, and the executive chef of The Ocean Bistro at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach in Florida, will be recreating his favorite Julia Child recipes. To learn more about the movie check out the review by clicking on the link at the bottom of this blog.

In this day and age when people are educated about food and wine, mastering the art of French cooking might not be your first priority, but what Julia Child started doing in the 1940s was monumental for food in America. Some of us might prefer Japanese food or, why not Mexican cuisine, but all of us owe thanks to a few key masters like Jacques Pepin and of course Julia Child with their TV shows.

Continue reading “Julie & Julia Brings the Culinary Greats to Mind” »



24

Jun

About to board

About to board

By Alain Gayot

 

Take any flight on Virgin America and compute in the cloud with your notebook or mobile phone. Today was D-day for the young airline to offer a WiFi environment for any passenger on every flight in the U.S., the first airline to stake that claim. Sir Richard Branson appeared via an animated video to introduce the program via Gogo technology, along with the flight’s friendly crew. What was special about our 6:00 am flight VA 921 from Los Angeles to San Francisco is that it competed with flight 920 from San Francisco to Los Angeles in The Day in the Cloud Challenge – an online puzzle played in the air and on the ground. Our winning plane earned each participating passenger a nifty and slim HP netbook. The game continued for 24 hours as well, and enabled all top five scorers of each flight to earn A Year in the Cloud package comprised of free flights, free in-flight WiFi  from Virgin America, a netbook computer from Hewlett-Packard  and one terabyte of online storage from Google. Happy gamers went to work early and connected to Google apps in the clouds to secure information to solve the puzzle.

 

Continue reading “The Day in the Cloud Challenge” »



Jenson Button

Jenson Button

By Alain Gayot

 

I have been a fan of Formula One racing for as long as I can remember. Sunday afternoons watching these soldiers fight it out on the racetrack felt a lot like what my ancestors would have felt, watching gladiators in the  Arenes de Nimes   –  which by the way is the place where we got the  word Denim  from. The Levi brothers used  the durable  Toile de Nimes to manufacture solid outerwear for the 49ers;  no, not the football team. The drivers lost their lives in horrendous and fiery crashes. Due to improved technology, not only are the cars faster today but, thankfully, no one dies anymore. Although the drivers are still the critical part of the operation, software in its many shapes and applications is what wins races. How is it possible that in the 2009 championship the usual suspects (Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes, BMW and Renault) are quasi scoreless after five races? And the British sensation of the last two seasons, Lewis Hamilton, is left in the brake dust of Brawn-Mercedes, RBR-Renault and Toyota.

Continue reading “The Curious Case of Jenson Button” »



11

May

Pylone turn

Pylon turn

Racing Bulls


By Alain Gayot


Motorsports are elevated when you are a live spectator from the sound of the roaring engine to the anticipation of an active crowd of 55,000. But when you are talking about the Red Bull Air Races, everything get kicked up a notch – especially when fans can get right up to their favorite pilot for a quick autograph on a recently purchased t-shirt. Finally it certainly can’t get much better than the setting in San Diego Bay with perfect weather conditions.


Created in 2003 by the energy drink guru Dietrich Mateschitz, the air racing series is a cross between the air races of the twenties and modern aerobatics flying. Although the aircrafts are small in size, the show they put on is big – very big. And beyond the actual race plane, there are all sorts of other acts and fly-bys by the U.S. Navy, demonstrations by the Coast Guards etc. You sort of need to attend to catch the full effect.

  Continue reading “Red Bull Air Race in San Diego” »



George Boyd and James Warren with Andre and Alain Gayot

George Boyd and James Warren with Andre and Alain Gayot

Tuskegee Airmen at the Udvar-Hazy Center and Baghdad


by Alain Gayot


It’s been a few decades since the end of WWII but there are still wars being fought and airmen up in the skies chasing bogies and dropping ordinance. A select group of black men, who had been previously forbidden to participate because of their race, were chosen as part of an “experiment” towards the end of the second world conflict to see if they might be fit to fly. African-American men had flown in air forces in Canada and France but never in the U.S. or for the U.S. Air Force.


“If you want to know more about us,” says George Mills Boyd, “you can watch the 1995 Robert Markowitz movie with Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding Jr., The Tuskegee Airmen. But you should know that Eleanor Roosevelt was flown by the [white] Base Commander, as no [black] cadet would have been allowed to take the President’s wife up.” Alain and André caught up with four of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen, who were on their way to meet the boys in Baghdad for a motivational encounter, during a United Airlines tribute. It was an honor and a pleasure to meet a bunch of alert octogenarians who not only fought the enemy but also quasi-insurmountable racial obstacles on their ascent to build the respectable Fighting 99th Squadron. Some of them still fly to this day.

Continue reading “Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center” »



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