All posts by Richard

Where to Eat in Vienna

Despite being a city steeped in history and to all effects an open-air museum, Vienna throbs with life, with its cafés, concerts and shopping districts. Its streets are filled with young people and its nights are frenetic, Strauss and heavy metal rub shoulders and Starbucks has opened in front of the legendary Sacher Hotel.

While it is easy to survive in Vienna by eating in the beisln, traditional venues of Viennese cuisine offering simple yet stodgy food, it is a little more arduous to enjoy a fine dining experience on a low budget. Here’s how to gain access to some great hotels and luxurious restaurants.

From 0 to 25 Euro

Since no one can really say they have seen Vienna without tasting some Sacher cake, it is worth seeking out the authentic version, even though it is sold in almost all the cafés in the centre of town. The Original Sacher-Torte, as it was patented, has been one of the most famous cakes in the world, ever since it was first created by apprentice chef Franz Sacher in 1832. It is basically a chocolate cake filled with apricot jam and often served with a dollop of fresh cream.

The Café Sacher is annexed to the Hotel Sacher, a magnificent 5-star hotel right in front of the Opera House. On this budget, you can treat yourself to a couple of slices washed down by coffee and, from 10 am to 2 pm you can also order a coffee and a snack in the legendary Blaue Bar of the hotel, where you will be immersed in an atmosphere of brocade wallpaper and velvet sofas, both in a deep shade of blue.

From 25 to 50 Euro

The Opus Restaurant is housed inside the Hotel Imperial and stands as a perfect example of how traditional Viennese cuisine can be transformed into something that is sparkling and contemporary, thanks to Sous Chef Stefan Speiser and his experienced team. For this budget, try the amazing Oibèrico pork served with yogurt, cabbage and mustard as a main course.

The Ritz-Carlton occupying four historical buildings on the Ringstrasse boasts a top floor bar with a panoramic city view, called the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar, where you can sip creative cocktails as you admire the skyline. The most discerning carnivores flock to the Dstrikt Steakhouse attracted by the establishment’s “farm-to-table” philosophy and ingredients brought in straight from the countryside. You will spend 20 Euros for almost two hundred grams of excellent organic beef fillet supplied by a breeder of Salzburg, which may be accompanied with a glass of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon selected from a lavish wine list.

A spectacular all-round view can be enjoyed from Das Loft, a restaurant on the 18th floor of the Sofitel, a hotel designed by Jean Nouvel situated on the Danube Canal, with one wall entirely constructed in glass. This place make the perfect venue for a drink, before or after dinner.

Fabios is a trendy Italian-style restaurant popular with celebrities. The venue offers a dining room and a separate, beautifully designed Lounge Bar. The mood and cuisine are Mediterranean-chic and the quality of the ingredients is tip top. Well worth trying are: the Lemon-flavoured risotto with smoked salmon trout (25 Euro); Beef fillet carpaccio with cream of chilli pepper and ricotta salata (25 Euro) and, extracted from the vegetarian menu, Pumpkin flowers filled with tomato sauce and courgette spaghetti (16 euro).

From 50 to 100 Euro

The Steirereck, owned by chef Heinz Reitbauer, is not just one of the city’s best starred restaurants, but has also won the tenth place in the rating of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. An experience in every sense of the word and a gourmet’s dream but it does not come cheap. Surrounded by greenery, it looks like a metal plate mirror positioned in such a way as to reflect the trees of the Stadtpark. Our recommendations: Courgettes and spelt with the fragrance of orange blossom, pistachio and egg yolk (34 Euro). Wild boar with purple carrots, pineapple and late-growing radicchio (34 Euro), accompanied with a fine glass of wine.

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How To Use Curry Powder

 

Do you keep a jar of curry powder tucked in your cupboard? If you can’t remember the last time you used it, it’s time to dust it off and put it to good use in the kitchen.

What is curry powder?

Curry powder is a spice mix invented by the British to mimic the flavors of Indian cuisine. Recipes vary but the main ingredients in curry powder are: turmeric, dried yellow mustard, coriander, ginger, white pepper, cumin, cardamom and ginger.

While curry powder per se isn’t used in India, it is beloved in many parts of the world such as the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

How To Use Curry Powder

What’s the best way of using curry powder? Well, that depends on what you’d like to make. You can use it for virtually anything – from simple sautés to soups, stews, marinades and sauces.

The recipes below will give you a great start for using curry powder in the kitchen. If you want to learn more about this spice, check out our A to Z guide: 26 Things You Didn’t Know About Curry.

Uses for Curry Powder: Tempting Recipes

Curried Parsnip Soup

Curry powder adds a lovely yellow hue and a boost of flavor to this creamy soup made with parsnips, onions, tarragon and cumin.

Click here for the recipe.

Curried Rice with Seafood

Here is a flavorful recipe of Taiwanese origin featuring rice, seafood, peppers and a generous sprinkle of curry powder.

Learn how to make it.

Curried Lentil Soup

This vibrant lentil soup obtains its beautiful golden color from fresh turmeric and curry powder.

Click here for the recipe.

Smoked Tofu Burger

Sink your teeth into this hearty smoked tofu burger topped with an addictive sauce prepared with curry powder, onions and peanuts.

Get the recipe here.

Spaghetti with Tofu and Curry

The chili-soy sauce infused with curry powder and coconut milk makes this vegan noodle dish a winner.

Find the recipe here.

Pumpkin Soup with Apples, Curry and Thyme

You’ll love this comforting pumpkin soup.  Apples add a touch of sweetness while curry powder provides a beautiful boost of color and flavor.

Learn how to make it.

Currywurst Sauce

Whip up your own spicy currywurst sauce at home with our special recipe. Then serve it over Bratwurst, just like they do in Berlin.

Cranberry Chutney

Curry powder is the secret ingredient that makes this cranberry chutney pop.

Learn how to make it.

Red Rice Meatballs and Noodles

Crispy rice noodles are the bed for these tender lamb meatballs prepared with red rice, nutmeg, caraway and curry powder.

Click here for this creative recipe.

Mexican Pork Roast

This succulent Mexican pork roast is seasoned with curry powder, sherry, oregano and paprika.

Find the recipe here.

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Thomas Keller: 10 Rules for Success

 

What does it take to make it the top of the cooking profession, to realise your dreams and be recognised by your peers as one of the best in the business?

Chef Thomas Keller is perfectly positioned to answer. The first American chef to simultaneously hold three Michelin stars at two restaurants (at The French Laundry in California and Per Se in New York), he’s widely regarded as one of the true greats and has helped train some of the worlds best chefs, including Grant Achatz and René Redzepi.

In the video compilation from Evan Carmichael above, Keller lays out his 10 rules for success, from never losing sight of your goals in the face of changing fashions, to surrounding yourself with people you can learn from.  It’s a long video, but worth watching through to the end for some bonus interview footage.

We’ve previously featured videos from the same series focusing on Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay that are well worth a watch, and below, you’ll find our full interview with Thomas Keller.

Thomas Keller’s 10 Rules for Success

1. Have desire

2. Be consistent

3. Transition to the next level

4. Step outside the norm

5. Play to your strengths

6. Be persistent

7. Surround yourself with great people

8. Pursue your true goals

9. Create great experiences

10. Master your craft

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Man Chopping Cilantro Gets Over 4 Million Views

 

What does it take to achieve viral stardom in 2018? Seemingly, chopping herbs well is enough.

A video posted by Rebecca Castañeda, who’s family own the El Camino Mexican restaurant in Fullerton, California has racked up 4.6 million views at time of writing – and it shows just that.

First posted to Snapchat and then in longer form to Twitter, where it has been retweeted 85,000 times and liked 262,000 times, the video, filmed in the restaurant’s kitchen, shows a chef called Rogelio finely chopping coriander (cilantro) and people are going crazy for it, calling it “mesmerising” and “so much better than Salt Bae,” 2017’s viral sensation.

Castañeda has even posted a follow-up now, which shows Rogelio putting the herbs into a pot – okay so the sequel doesn’t quite live up to the original, which we have to admit is hugely satisfying to watch.

The question is, is it more relaxing than this video of a Chinese street chef rolling out and cutting noodles, which has also racked up millions of views?

Expect to see plenty more of these kinds of videos going viral in 2018.

Top image: By Thamizhpparithi Maari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 

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Interview with Chef Mukhin about IKRA Festival and the Future of Russian Cuisine

 

The second IKRA international gastronomic festival sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna will take place in Sochi, Russia, from 31 January to 4 February 2018. Designed to promote Russian gastronomy and gastro-tourism, the event will feature a host of big name Russian and international chefs who will be gathering at the Black Sea resort for a series of workshops, dinners and masterclasses focusing on Russia’s culinary heritage and new culinary landscape. See the line-up and find out how to buy tickets here.

The chef ambassador for the event is none than other than Vladimir Mukhin, who is at the forefront of the new wave of Russian chefs looking proudly to the country’s culinary traditions to craft a contemporary cuisine using local products, and whose Moscow restaurant White Rabbit currently sits at number 23 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

We caught up with Mukhin ahead of the event to find out just why Russian gastronomy is so exciting right now.

How important is an event like IKRA to Russian gastronomy?
IKRA is not a gastronomic festival; it’s a platform on which we will build the future of Russian gastronomy. Books, collaborations, professional communities – talented people want to share their experiences, their energy. IKRA will help us to develop gastro-tourism – it highlights regions rich with food, recipes, and traditions. We can show the world what no one has seen. IKRA expands.

How greatly does the cuisine differ from region to region?
Very. In France each region has its own face, and we have regions that match France in size. I’ve made a gastronomic map of Russia. My goal is not just to come up with a menu for White Rabbit; I’m curious to find unique products in each region and I’m fascinated by the variety of recipes. How does Tula gingerbread differ from that in Vyazemsky, or Moscow kalach [a type of bread] from Kolomna kalach? How did mincemeat get into our country? It’s necessary for our generation to understand. The thread is almost lost. We need to find answers and pass them to the next generation, before it’s too late.

How then would you/can you define Russian cuisine today?
There are no ‘old’ and no ‘new’ Russian cuisine. It’s evolving. White Rabbit evolves, but it is built on the foundation of tradition. Russian cuisine lives in the stove, in pickles and sauerkraut that you can buy in any market, and grandmothers’ recipes. Russian cuisine has a heart – where is it? God only knows. Our goal is to keep digging. [At the restaurant] we use new technologies; build laboratories and libraries, travel and study. But White Rabbit is not only I – it is a huge team of people who care. And each brings something. It is a strong movement, which will popularise Russian cuisine around the world.

Do you think there is a gap between outside knowledge of Russian cuisine and the reality? How could that gap be overcome?
People, who come to us from abroad, are shocked by what’s happening here. The experts from Gault&Millau, who came to Russia this year, were surprised by the amount of good restaurants in Moscow. We don’t eat pancakes every day; we have no bears. We have developed and are an interesting country. My goal is to tell everyone about it.

Are Russian diners’ tastes changing? What trends are you seeing right now?
People began to travel, to discover new things. First, we copied Europe, but, fortunately, it quickly became boring and we returned to the roots. We started making Russian dishes with local products – a new wave of chefs has helped the return to our traditions. For the guests of the Moscow restaurants, it’s really interesting.

The embargo on Western produce is set to continue through 2018 – what does it mean for Russian chefs in their daily work?
The embargo is already part of our history – weird, in my opinion, a political move. I don’t want to brag, but it helped us to apply to our products, our traditions. If it hadn’t happened, we would have been preparing Caesar salad. This is an opportunity for farmers to rise and to revive Russian products, and for chefs to address these products and begin to cook them.

Tell us about some of the ingredients that you enjoy working with that people might not be aware of outside of Russia?
Black bread, pike caviar, Black Sea rapana, herring milt, pickled garlic, horseradish (sauce), tkemali [sour plum sauce], adjika [a spicy Georgian dip], baked milk, cottage cheese from boiled milk, black sea fish (grey mullet, red mullet, turbot, all of which are found nowhere else), lake fish – perch, tench, bear, grouse, berries, pickled mushrooms.

Which other chefs/restaurants are exciting you in Russia right now?
Serial young guys who are developing: the restaurant Severyane and George Trojan; Gastrobar, Tehnikum and Vitaly Istomin; Dmitry Shershakov, Dmitry Zotov, and Sergey Eroshenko.

What’s next for you? Any plans you’d like to share?
To continue to develop, to share knowledge with our guests, and to build a platform from IKRA and develop gastro tourism. This job is very exciting!

What IKRA Gastronomic Festival
Where Sochi, Russia
When 31 January – 4 February 2018
Tickets and programme ikrafest.com

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22 Comforting Winter Drinks From Around the World

 

Fend off the colder winter days with a selection of our warming winter drinks.

Choose between comforting cosy drinks offering a perfect excuse to curl up on the sofa or alcoholic punches designed for entertaining.

So whether you decide to stay warm at home or kick up your heels with a festive alcoholic punch these drinks should have you covered for any occasion you need flavourful winter drinks with international flair.

Hints of cinnamon and nutmeg make Mexican hot chocolate the perfect warm beverage for chocoholics. Get this winter drink recipe here.

This non alcoholic punch infuses all the best things about winter. Cranberries, star anise, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are all designed to give you a lift in this warming holiday season punch. Click here for this winter drink recipe.

Done well an Irish coffee is delicious way to end an evening as a nightcap. Capturing Irish whisky inside hot coffee with brown sugar amd loosely whipped cream floating on top it combines the bitterness of coffee with the whisky kick. Click here for this winter drink recipe.

One of the easiest and most loved of winter drinks mulled wine is a sure crowd pleaser. Make sure you use decent quality red wine to avoid headaches the next day! Find this winter drink recipe here.

This alcoholic punch blends red wine with rum and a number of festive spices. Perfect for giving a party that celebratory touch. Click here for this winter drink recipe.

Swedish Glogg makes for the perfect winter drink warming you from the inside with spice infused red wine and a hit of brandy. Find this winter drink recipe here.

This non alcoholic punch is a great party option for nominated drivers capturing the festive season in a glass without the alcoholic kick. Click here for this winter drink recipe.

This traditional Swedish alcoholic drink is sure to keep the cold out. Containing egg yolks, sugar and brandy and coffee, it’s almost like a drink and a dessert in one. Find this winter drink recipe here.

Warm up with a cup of South African rooibos tea – it is a great caffeine-free alternative to black tea. Here’s how to make it.

Here’s a nice thick and creamy winter drink that comes to us all the way from Fruili in Italy. Find out more.

You’ll enjoy cozying up to this festive yet comforting eggnog laced with brandy and cinnamon. Here’s the recipe.

13 More Winter Drinks From Around the Globe

Below you’ll find an interesting array of warming winter drinks and recipes to keep you cozy all season long. Cheers!

““Thanksgiving

Infographic via Crystal Ski Holidays

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Chef Dominique Crenn to Open Wine Bar in San Francisco

Chef Dominique Crenn is to open her first wine bar in San Francisco, with a menu that pays homage to France’s best chefs.

Bar Crenn, which opens on 20 February in the adjacent building to her two-Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn restaurant, will be, the chef announced in an Instagram post, a “sensual and intimate space” to enjoy “the great wines of France” and “a small low-proof cocktail selcetion with a nod to old-style French aperitifs,” from producers that “channel [a] shared philosophy of environmental responsibility, where vignerons and domaines are showcased that prioritise traditional methods of viticulture, as well as careful and thoughtful stewardship of the land.”

All that drinking is bound to make one peckish, so Crenn has gathered together recipes donated by an assortment of top French chefs, including Alain Ducasse, Yannick Alléno and Guy Savoy, which will be served alongside her own interpretations of French classics.

This will be Crenn’s third spot in the city, alongside Atelier and the bistro-style Petit Crenn.

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21 Lessons Learnt in the Kitchen

The lessons you learn in the kitchen can be lifelong, just ask Paul Sorgule. The chef and writer, who has spent nearly five decades working in professional kitchens, is better placed than many to reflect on their invaluable teachings.

In fact, he’s listed the 21 most important lessons he’s learnt in the kitchen in a new blog post, which we’re sharing with you below.

Don’t forget to check out more of his fantastic writing over on the Harvest America Ventures blog.

21 lessons learnt in the kitchen

1. CIVILITY and RESPECT ABOVE ALL ELSE

Respecting employees, fellow workers, and customers is paramount to building a cohesive, productive team. Failure to do so is the demise of many restaurants. Hire for civility above all else.

2. THE IMPORTANCE of ORDER

Kitchens only function well when order is the predominant rule of thumb. How cooks dress, organise their stations, follow standard cooking methods, handle their tools, follow directives, and even plate their food is absolutely essential in a well run operation.

3. WE VS. ME

It is never about the individual when a kitchen is charged with serving the public and helping to run a successful business. Every restaurant worthy of notice and respect operates as a unified team with common goals.

4. FEAR NEVER MOTIVATES

The old Machiavellian style of management through fear no longer has a place (if it ever really did) in an organisation. Fear breeds dissent and instability, places individuals in a position to look out for themselves rather than the team, and sets the stage for missteps. Chefs need to inspire and set the example for collaboration rather than survival. Angst separates – it never unifies.

5. PLAN FIRST

Thinking things through, anticipating what might go wrong, leaving no stone unturned, and building action scenarios where the unexpected suddenly becomes expected allows the ship to sail on stable waters and curve balls to meet the anxious batter. Take the time to think things through and plan better.

6. RHETORIC is DANGEROUS

The chatter of opinion at the expense of others can drive a huge wedge between the individuals on a team. This wedge divides a kitchen into ‘us and them’ and will always lead to problems. Put the rhetoric aside and insist on the same among your team members.

7. YOU NEED to DEPEND on OTHERS

Chefs, in particular, who feel that the kitchen revolves around them, are missing the real meaning of team. Chefs need to hire civil individuals, train them well, respect them for their abilities, treat them as equals, support their efforts with the right resources, correct them when they are wrong and compliment them when they are right, and allow everyone to realise how important they are to the success of a kitchens mission.

8. WORDS are IMPORTANT

The right words, crafted to fit the right moment, established as a support mechanism or positive action foundation can help to inspire others to exceed expectations. The wrong words will set the stage for disaster. Words are powerful – choose them wisely.

9. COMMUNICATION is KEY

Let people know. Let them know what is going on, what their role might be, what is not going well and how to correct it, and engage them in the operation as if they really are essential – because they are. 

10. WHEN it COMES DOWN to it – WE are ALL THE SAME

One of the most important things that the kitchen taught me is that regardless of views or beliefs, in spite of orientation or cultural backgrounds, putting aside age, gender, size, and colour – everyone in the kitchen is equal. We are all people hoping to do a good job, in love with cooking, and appreciative of the opportunity to learn something from each other. Chefs need to be the example of this inclusive approach.

11. RESPECT MOTHER NATURE

Whenever I felt, as a chef, that I was in control – Mother Nature would demonstrate her superiority. Chefs can control staffing, equipment, ingredients, cooking process, and even the financial operation of the kitchen, but when Mother Nature chooses to throw in a storm, flood, snow, bitter cold, or an extended heat wave – we are all begging for her mercy.

12. TRUST is EARNED

At the core of a successful relationship between employees, ownership, the chef, and the guest is a level of trust. When any stakeholder loses the ability to trust another then all is lost. The irony of trust is that it is never a one shot deal. Trust must be earned every moment of every day. It only takes a moment to lose all that is gained in this regard.

13. PAY ATTENTION

Watch what is going on – know what is going on and understand how to address challenges when they arise. Chefs need to pay attention to the mood of employees and the cause of fluctuations in their mood, the daily costs associated with operation, waste and spoilage, changes in customer habits, the every day quality of ingredients passing through the receiving door, and the trends that may have a short or long term impact on how the restaurant functions.

14. TAKE CARE of YOUR TOOLS

Tools in the kitchen allow a cook to be efficient and successful. Never lose sight of how important it is to care for your own and respect the tools of others. This is an individual and a group effort.

15. EXCELLENCE is a HABIT

If excellence is the goal of the kitchen than excellence must be the rule, not the exception. Excellence in how the dishes are washed and stored is as important as excellence in how a cook follows a procedure, how taste and flavour are addressed, and how the customer is served. Peel the carrot with an attitude of excellence and the stew will draw applause.

16. WHAT YOU DO as a COOK REALLY MATTERS

Ours is far more than a job. Cooking is an opportunity to stimulate all of the senses, to convert a bad day into a joyous one, to bring sunshine to all involved, and to celebrate the skill and pride of the cook who arranged ingredients on the plate. Cooking matters.

17. LISTEN MORE – TALK LESS

When people know that you listen, they understand that you care. When you are open to others ideas, concerns, and observations then that freedom will unify a team and build a positive brand for the restaurant and the chef.

18. LEAD, FOLLOW, or GET OUT of the WAY

The most sinful act in the kitchen is apathy. Apathy will cause the operation to stumble and one apathetic player will bring even the most positive, progressive, goal oriented kitchen team to its knees. Lead, follow or move on.

19. OPTIMISM is MORE FUN than PESSIMISM

The old cup half full example is always pertinent. Pessimism is a drag on the culture of a kitchen just as it is with a sporting team, the military, or any other business intent on winning. Weed out pessimism and reinforce optimism.

20. KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW

Don’t pretend – if it is beyond your current ability or base of knowledge then accept it, learn how to improve, or hire reinforcements with the skills to fill in the gaps.

21. EVERY DAY is an OPPORTUNITY to LEARN

A day spent without learning something, regardless of how large or small, is a wasted day. Start every day with the question: ‘What can I learn today’ and end each day with an assessment: ‘What have I learned that can be added to my bag of tricks?’

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Bangkok Street Food Chef Wants to Return Michelin Star

Jay Fai, the septegenarian who’s revered street food spot Raan Jay Fai made headlines when it was awarded a Michelin star in the inaugural Guide to Bangkok, says she wishes she could “give the star back already.”

Speaking to Eater, Fai, real name Supinya Junsuta, said that since the news of the star was announced, “Many people come just to see and take pictures and not necessarily to eat.” People presumably want to get snaps of Fai in action, cooking in her own unique style complete with ski goggles and the odd hairdryer to fan the flames under her spitting woks.

However, there is plenty of demand for Fai’s famous crab omelettes and spicy noodle dishes, though it has always been one of the most expensive street food spots in the city, with the former costing around $25. Lines outside the restaurant in the city’s old town can stretch up to two hours. Fai’s daughter, Varisa Junsuta, says her mother, who works 11 hours day, is “getting tired more easily” as a result of all the extra attention.

She is the latest in a line of chefs wanting to relinquish their Michelin stars. Last year, three-Michelin-star chef Sebastian Bras wrote to Michelin asking not be included in the next Guide, as he felt the pressure of maintaining Michelin standards was stifling his restaurant’s creativity, while more recently another French chef, Jérôme Brochot, requested to return his restaurant’s star because he couldn’t afford the costs of maintaining a Michelin-starred restaurant.

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The best Xbox One X games: what to play on the world’s most powerful console

What are its enhancements?

4K, HDR, 60FPS

We’ve had a chance to play Rise of the Tomb Raider at a recent preview event where we came away impressed by the work-in-progress patch.

The final version will support three modes, so you can tailor what exactly you want the console to prioritise with the game. High frame-rate has the game run at 1080p with enhanced textures, and upscaling to reach 4K. This mode is probably the worst looking of the three, but comes closest to maintaining a locked 60fps framerate.

Native 4K mode, as the name suggests, prioritises rendering a full 4K’s worth of pixels, even if this involves bigger hits to framerate, which can make the game judder in its more intense scenes, even though the game is targeting a more modest 30fps. However, since the version that’s been played so far isn’t final these performance problems may not be present in the final version of the patch.

Finally, the ‘Enriched 4K’ mode strikes a nice balance between the two. It features a more advanced form of upscaling, so even though it’s not native 4K, it’s close enough that it still looks decent.

In all three modes, the implementation of HDR was a treat. Light peeking into each tomb we explored had a fantastic brightness to it, while water had a fantastic level of glimmer and shine.

We won’t know for sure how well the game handles native 4K until the final version of the patch is released, but the amount of customizability on offer suggests there might just be something for everyone.