Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale dinner
Michael and Marion Vogt
It was a special evening last Saturday at ‘The
House’, where guests were greeted by waiters and waitresses dressed in
fairytale-outfits, or as mermaids. The whole restaurant had been transformed
into a magic castle, straight out of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy
Cave, the terrace behind the Tapas Bar, was the stage for Arabic dances by
the Chiangmai Ballet Academy as well as for ‘Nikki’, the local tea guru,
who served exotic hot and cold teas throughout the evening.
The main restaurant was an aquarium, with rip-curls
waving from the ceiling, a mermaid embedded in shells and foam, and living
goldfishes bubbling away in glass bowls on the tables.
The more private and intimate Nightingale rooms on the
first floor were set out for those who wished to quietly listen to recitals
and readings from Andersen’s works, as well as having their fortune told
by Linda and her Tarot cards. In addition, the terrace behind the Tapas bar
became an Aladdin’s cave with treasure boxes filled with jewels and
The guests were encouraged to move through the different
settings, to enjoy the numerous delicacies. The Mermaid room invited the
diners to more aquatic specialties, such as graved laks, star sushi with
beetroot, and oriental shrimps with baby corn, capsicum and spring onions.
Aladdin’s cave tickled the oriental taste buds with Couscous, shitake
mushrooms, various pita breads and chorizo salad, sporting watermelon, and
Feta cheese, while the Nightingale room specialized in pasta and sweets,
where the chocolate fondue proved extremely popular.
MacLean (centre) from La Luna Gallery arrives with friends at The House to
be part of the Hans Christian Andersen night.
Honored by the presence of the Danish Ambassador to
Thailand, HE Ulrik Helweg-Larsen and his wife, a selected group of dancers
from the Chiangmai Ballet Academy enchanted the guests with performances
from “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin” both based on Andersen’s
This theme evening was as unusual as it was inspiring, and should be
commended as such. Although Chiang Mai is blessed with spectacular and out
of the ordinary events, the Andersen night placed our city on the world map
together with Copenhagen and New York, as over 3,000 events took place in
honor of arguably the most famous person from Denmark.
Utley, hidden in the waves of the ocean, played the harp tunes for the
bites, according to the theme of the rooms, were displayed throughout The
House, with the green apples filled with the most delicious cold
Gazpacho-style tomato soup with a hint of basil and coriander.
Christensen, proprietor of The House gave his guests the red carpet
treatment, including the Danish Ambassador to Thailand, HE Ulrik
Helweg-Larsen’s party and Lasse Norgaard of La Luna Gallery.
Truslow, a well known British artist based in Bangkok, read short stories by
Hans Christian Andersen in the Nightingale room.
little mermaids from Chiangmai Ballet Academy danced appropriately in the
April 2, 2005 marked the celebrations worldwide on the
occasion of the 200 year anniversary of the birth of one of the most well
known Danes, art lover and storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen.
left) Lasse Norgard and HE Ulrik Helweg-Larsen, the Danish Ambassador
La Luna Gallery started celebrating with 20 artists from
Asia, or living in Asia, who exhibited ‘their’ art creations, inspired
by Andersen’s fairytales or any other fairy or folktale in local culture.
The result was witnessed by a large audience who gathered
at La Luna despite the almost unbearable seasonal heat. Objets d’Art from
carpets to paintings to photographs exposed the wonderful world of magic, of
beliefs and of vivid imagination.
Old and young, everybody
listened in awe. The fascination of old fairytales is still evident today
and Hans Christian Andersen’s stories are universal.
Fairytales and Folktales has a dancing ugly duckling, an
agonized mermaid, a couple of Thumbelinas, a windy triangular garden, plus
woven elves, creations of Sagittarius and some highly unusual
interpretations of the epic of the Ramakien.
cakes were decorated with silhouettes from Andersen’s tales.
HE Ulrik Helweg-Larsen, the Danish Ambassador, said that
he was quite sure that Hans Christian Andersen would have heartily approved
of an exhibition such as Fairytales and Folktales.
little mermaid in the front, a very unique, brightly colored acrylic on
canvas by Belgian artist Christian Develter was amongst the first sold.
Lasse Norgard, one of the three partners in La Luna
Gallery and initiator of this unique display of art, pointed out in his
humorous speech that if Anderson were alive today, he would most probably
have taken antidepressants, perhaps declared himself openly gay, been
happier and probably would have not have written his fairy tales. He was so
different. He could see the world from different perspectives, from nature
and humanity, from the poor to the obscenely wealthy and from both male and
female angles, but most of all he could see the world from the child’s
An exhibition very well worth a visit until May 15, 2005 with a number of
the participating artists exhibiting in La Luna Gallery for the first time.
The Four Seasons Resort began a full day of 10-year
anniversary celebrations with early alms for 99 monks, Buddhist blessings
and a meeting at the spirit house on April 1.
left) Hon Australian Consul Michael Walther with his wife Maem, Neil B.
Jacobs, Four Season’s Senior Vice President Operations Asia/Pacific from
Singapore, Kathy Heinecke, Andrew W. Harrison, GM Four Seasons Resort Chiang
Mai, Titiya Chooto, Resort Manager and Colonel Pachom, commander of 5th
Special Force Regiment.
In the evening, local dignitaries, the Chiang Mai
diplomatic corps, and invited guests gathered in front of the Cooking School
to celebrate 10 very successful years that have been enjoyed by this
luxurious hotel that overlooks terraced rice fields and mountains in the
beautiful Mae Rim Valley.
dancers line the route to the cooking school pavilion where invited guests
experienced Four Seasons Resort hospitality.
General Manager Andrew Harrison said that the time has
come for the resort to give back to a community which welcomed them 10 years
ago. A scholarship fund for 124 students aged 11-12 years in the Mae Rim
district was set up to allow underprivileged children to continue from Patom
6 to secondary school. Beneficiaries include 12 year old Supitcha, an orphan
living with her grandmother, who also has to look after three other
grandchildren. The Four Seasons Resort also assists at the Viengping
children’s home for 1,000 children, some HIV positive while others cannot
be supported by their families.
The evening ended with a superb dinner at the cooking school and its
open-air dining pavilion, where the resort’s culinary team showed off
their skills and the guests were treated like kings, said to be the
signature of a Four Seasons experience.