My travel life: Gabriel Gate, chef, author, TV presenter

Gabriel Gate, chef, author, TV presenter and travel tour leader

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED

I am a bit disappointed to have visited only 23 countries so far.

ANY PASSPORT MISHAPS?

Being both French and Australian, I have two passports. In the late 1980s, I travelled from Australia to France using a new French passport unaware that it didn't have the necessary visa to re-enter Australia. Although I had been an Australian citizen for at least 10 years, it took several visits to the Australian embassy in Paris to prove I was an Aussie. Nobody seemed to believe me until I showed them a copy of my cookbook, French Cuisine for Australians, which mentions I had been living in Australia since 1977.

I GOT MY FIRST PASSPORT WHEN I WAS 18 in 1973 in France, and my first Australian passport at age 24 in 1979.

MY PASSPORT PHOTO IS proof that once I was younger.

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO Aix-en-Provence in France. It's one of the most charming and attractive French country towns, enjoying superb Mediterranean weather and, being the former capital of Provence, it's centrally situated between Spain and Italy and oozes history going back before Roman times. The wonderful daily market that has operated for several centuries is a wonderful window on Provencal food and its specialties.

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS Europe in late August and early September 2018. The first two weeks were spent filming food and travel-related stories on a Scenic river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam on the glorious Danube, Main and Rhine rivers. The second part of the trip was in the rustic Italian region of Puglia in the south of Italy travelling leisurely by car with my wife, Angie. We both love the joy of speaking, eating and drinking Italian.

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MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS Paris for two weeks during the summer of 2020 to see the Tour de France arrive on the Champs Elysees and to do  research for a potential new TV show.

I AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO trying the new floating restaurant on the Seine run by renowned French chef, Alain Ducasse. An evening dinner cruise on the Seine is really something.

WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS to spend more time walking in Paris to discover new districts and to visit markets, patisseries and specialist food stores. Then stopping for coffee or lunch to mix work and pleasure in a relaxed and harmonious way.

I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE the excitement of the unknown gives me a positive energy for adventure. I love hearing and trying to understand foreign languages, mixing and interacting with the locals. Travelling has also been a necessity for my evolution as a chef and a bonus as a human being.

MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS to make a genuine effort to discover how a new place and its culture can enrich my life.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS not leaving enough room in my suitcase for souvenirs or, in other words, taking too many clothes.

THE ONE THING I REALLY DO GET RIGHT WHEN I TRAVEL IS selecting at least one interesting restaurant in each destination. I have also become skillful at finding ways of discovering the best authentic restaurants.

IF I HAD TO SIT IN THE MIDDLE SEAT THE OTHER PASSENGERS I'D WANT ON EITHER SIDE OF ME WOULD BE Italian chef Massimo Bottura, and 85-year-old French chef Michel Guerard. Both are outstanding contributors to modern cuisine and run restaurants with three Michelin stars. They have excellent communication skills and it would be a treat to share our philosophy on life.

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Through his amazing TV shows he has taken us to places unreachable for most people.

THE ONE FAMOUS PERSON I'D LIKE TO TRAVEL WITH IS the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. I admire his wisdom and would love to hear him speak about his philosophy of mindfulness.

AIRLINE FOOD IS reheated, mass-prepared food designed by clever chefs. It concerns me that the impractical design of a plane's kitchen means that passengers on the way to the toilet witness the flight attendants' dreadful working conditions.

AIRPORT SECURITY IS an unfortunate and often challenging necessity. It is fascinating to observe how other people cope with it. I have learned not to travel with my chef knives.

HOTELS ARE a source of surprise. I still get excited with anticipation. I research them well before booking and ask for a quiet, large room with a great view. Sometimes it is bliss; other times purgatory – especially if it smells of cigarettes.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO Egypt, ever since, as a child, reading the Tintin cartoon by Herge called Cigars of the Pharaoh. I have been dreaming of travelling on the Nile, visiting the pyramids and discovering this mysterious ancient culture.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO from Europe to the US on an ocean cruiser. I don't fancy the idea of sailing for several days without setting foot on terra firma.

AISLE OR WINDOW? Aisle. It gives me more freedom of movement during long flights and there's no need to do acrobatics over someone sleeping next to you to reach the loo or stretch your legs.

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