Hey Paolo Meets: Tiktok Couple Linda Huynh and Alex Huynh

Hey Paolo Meets: Tiktok Couple Linda Huynh and Alex Huynh

Young South Australian content creators, Linda Huynh and Alex Huynh, found their own niche on Tiktok while entertaining over two hundred thousand of their followers from all corners of the world.

Hey Paolo: What inspired you to start producing creative content on Tiktok?

Linda: We discovered Tiktok two years ago. I first uploaded a Tiktok video secretly and I didn’t tell Alex about it because he might think I was lame. I started getting likes and followers. Later on, he joined me and we started creating more proper and serious content.

Alex: I decided to jump on Tiktok because I thought there’s potential for growth. I thought it was really fascinating and fun. It’s like Youtube but in a shorter format.

Hey Paolo: What are your most popular videos?

Linda: I did a dance video where I accidentally stepped on my dog. It might have hit around two million views already at the moment. My dogs have become really famous on Tiktok. They’re Dino and Sora and the hashtag #DinoSora has over four million views. We do weekly vlogs about our dogs because everyone wants to know about them.

Hey Paolo: What are the types of content that you produce?

Linda: We call ourselves lifestyle content creators and we produce a variety: from fashion, vlogs, challenges to dance videos.

Alex: You can follow the journey of our relationship too and seeing things that we enjoy.

Hey Paolo: What is the importance of social media in today’s world?

Linda: I love and hate social media at the same time. I think it’s a very important aspect in everyone’s life especially the younger generation. It’s important that social media can inspire and educate people. We just have to be careful of what we put out and consume.

Alex: It has a big influence on people especially since Tiktok has a younger audience. People can learn more things now compared to what we could have learned when we were younger.

Hey Paolo: What keeps you motivated?

Linda: I’m very lucky to be managed by Born Bred Talent in Sydney which helps me find jobs and campaigns for Tiktok. Other than that, I get motivated by the encouragement from our followers, whether they give comments or likes.

Alex: What motivates me the most is seeing other people’s success while doing what they love.

Hey Paolo: How do you explain Tiktok to a nonuser?

Linda: It’s a 15-second to 30-second video platform showcasing dances, fashion content, or even cooking videos with the sole purpose of entertainment and education.

FOLLOW THIS COUPLE: TIKTOK: @lindarhuynh. INSTAGRAM: @lindarhuynh and @alexander.huynh.

Pre-lockdown: Weekend At Normanville

Pre-lockdown: Weekend At Normanville

When was the last time I wrote a blog post where I wasn’t bound by any content-specific restrictions and timelines? I can barely remember.

The South Australia-wide lockdown these past few days helped me concentrate a little bit to complete a few personal tasks and chores which I wouldn’t normally quickly finish if I wasn’t “forced to stay at home.”

You bet, I’m a home buddy, says nobody.

A few days before the lockdown, I was up and about hanging with friends by the beach, eating pies in bakeries, and sipping glasses of wines in various vineyards the next day. Thank god I’m not in any way involved in the state’s contract tracing activities, otherwise my very own “cluster” would have involved many individuals. Well, probably an entire community.

Can’t blame me — people in South Australia have been living an almost normal life for many months now. Last week’s disruption was indeed a shocker for everyone. It never crossed my mind it can actually happen again.

Life’s ironies: just a few days ago before the lockdown, I thought I was in the planet’s safest space.

Normanville has a long stretch of soft, white powdery sand set against a calm almost turquoise-coloured sea and gentle rolls of glistening waves. And when the sun’s up, grabbing a cold one is is always a great idea.

Growing up in Southeast Asia, we have been very spoiled with the best beaches in the world. Can’t help but compare what we have here in South Australia. For one, you can’t really swim far from the shore as sharks here are plenty.

But by far, among the SA beaches I’ve already visited, Normanville has become a new favourite (Silversand is now a close second). Having access to cafes and a small town are a major plus. Also, Normanville is just a one and a half hour drive from Adelaide. Easy peasy!

It has always been a challenge organising an excursion for a group of people, more so if they are much younger, if they come from different cultures, and also if you barely know them. But heck, having fun shouldn’t be that hard, right?

I’ve waited far too long for Summer to arrive, and now it’s just around the corner. Hopefully COVID will shoo away by then. Calling Astrazeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna to join forces please.

Who doesn’t want more beach days like these?

Hey Paolo Meets: Tiktok-famous Jaxon Samwell and Tommy Eyers

Hey Paolo Meets: Tiktok-famous Jaxon Samwell and Tommy Eyers

For most people, the Tiktok world is seen as nothing but pure novelty. But for South Australian content creators, Jaxon Samwell (17) and Tommy Eyers (23), Tiktok goes beyond novelty — it’s a new medium of creative, engaging, and out-of-the-box entertainment.

Hey Paolo: What inspired you to start your Tiktok pages?

Jaxon: Six months ago, I was still a very quiet person and I didn’t really interact with people unless I know them. But after doing two-three Tiktok interviews with random strangers, I thought it was heaps fun especially filming their real reactions and showcasing them on Tiktok.

Tommy: I just want to make people laugh. I didn’t really know anything about Tiktok back then, and I was trying to make videos (uploaded on Facebook & Youtube) to make as many people laugh as possible. Now, you put them on Tiktok and you can suddenly make a million people laugh.

Hey Paolo: What kind of content do you produce?

Jaxon: To make people laugh. I get surprise messages and they’ll say something like: “I was having a bad day and your content made me laugh.” Stuff like that keeps me going. What I do has also inspired other people to pick up their camera and film their own stuff.

Tommy: I used to do what Jaxon was doing like asking people questions and getting their reactions. But three months ago, I started dressing up in a school boy outfit and now all of my videos are of this character. I basically go around in a 10-year-old school kid’s outfit and I ask people to film me dancing and doing random stuff.

Hey Paolo: How do you explain Tiktok to the older generation?

Jaxon: If I had to explain Tiktok to my grandparents (which I actually had to do), I’ll say that it’s just like any other social media platform. Strangers can go viral. You can be nobody and become Tiktok-famous instantly.

Tommy: For anyone over the age of forty, they’ll be like, ugh, Tiktok’s going to steal your data. Tiktok is actually a good platform for those who wish to go viral.

Hey Paolo: What keeps you creating?

Tommy: Knowing that people are “wetting their pants” watching my content while laughing is good to know.

Jaxon: I get mostly positive comments on my videos and I love reading them and replying to them. And then there’s all meeting random people who recognise us. It’s such a weird thing because everything happened so quickly.

Things to Do in Adelaide: Painting Class at Vintage Van Gogh

Things to Do in Adelaide: Painting Class at Vintage Van Gogh

Spent an artsy Sunday afternoon at Vintage Van Gogh (1/71 Goodwood Rd, Goodwood SA 5034) with friends and thoroughly enjoyed exploring our creative sides. I chatted with Vintage Van Gogh’s co-owner, Adam Rankin, to learn more about his flourishing business.

Hey Paolo: What inspired you to start Vintage Van Gogh?

After seeing a friend open a similar business in New South Wales, where “paint & sip” as a concept is already massive, we thought we can bring the idea here in South Australia. Joe Royle and I are huge fans of all kinds of art, from live music to visual art. But getting started with something like acrylic on canvas can be intimidating and we wanted to change that. Opening the studio for BYOs (bring your own food and alcohol), keeping class sizes small, and ensuring that our lessons are easy to follow for beginners are all conscious decisions to make that barrier for entry as low as possible. 

Hey Paolo: What are the typical classes/workshops that you offer?

We have a growing list of famous and original artworks that are taught in each class. We run a few public sessions per week which you can join alone, with a partner, or with a small group of friends, as well as private events for larger groups.

Hey Paolo: How do you help local artists through your business? 

Although our focus is more on making art accessible to the general public, we’re always open to collaborations with artists and we also participate in the Goody SALA festival every year. Fingers-crossed, Fringe Festival will be going ahead next year too because we would love to host a few events in the festival gardens.

Hey Paolo: Can you customise the workshops? What are the most special/unique classes and events you’ve held so far?

We can and we often do. Favourites so far have been paintings of wedding bouquets for hens nights, surprise portraits of the birthday boy or girl, and of course, life (nude) drawings which are always a blast. I think my personal favourite so far is the “faceless portrait” style painting that we’ve done for a hens.

Hey Paolo: What should you bring to a class?

Just your preferred brand of liquid inspiration and any nibbles you want to bring along for the session. The only thing you need to prepare for is three hours of good music, painting, and fun with a bunch of likeminded people. Don’t stress if you’ve never painted before. The usual level of experience is year 8 art class. 

Hey Paolo: How has the arts scene evolved in Adelaide these past few years?

Adelaide has obviously always been an incredible nexus for the arts with the Fringe and surrounding festivals throughout Summer. We’ve only been around for a year and a good chunk of that has been taken up by COVID, but it’s been super exciting to see the increase in enthusiasm for visual art and we’re hoping that in 2021 we can participate in that community in a bigger way.

PHOTOS FROM OUR PAINTING CLASS AT VINTAGE VAN GOGH:

Hey Paolo Spotlight: Chef/Entrepreneur Billy Petropoulos

Hey Paolo Spotlight: Chef/Entrepreneur Billy Petropoulos

After his successful culinary stints around the world, while opening establishments in various countries and even working for a Michelin-star restaurant, South Australian Billy Petropoulus finally returns home to offer his amazing cuisines inspired by his global travels.

Hey Paolo: What inspired you to start your food businesses?

I have always aspired to own a restaurant. I have planned it for years. I knew that one day, I would open a restaurant called Billy’s Table and that I would offer a global menu inspired by my travels from around the world. I just didn’t know when the time is right. I have travelled for many years; I have tried to learn everything I possibly could so that one day, everything will fall into place. Living abroad gave me many inspirations and ideas that I would hold onto and these eventually were incorporated into my dishes.

Hey Paolo: How did you learn how to cook?

Sometimes you learn things without realising it. Mine came from my parents. Back then, they often asked me to peel potatoes, trim beans, and preserve olives. I had no idea I was learning great values in cooking at such a young age. I would often go with my father picking grapes to make wine, collecting honey from the bees, or baking with mum in the kitchen. I have always helped my father in the garden while picking seasonal fruits and vegetables. In my spare time, I would watch cooking shows for hours. Not to mention, my mum always had her cookbooks laying around the house. So you could say, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Hey Paolo: How colourful is your culinary journey?

I have been cooking for about 20 years now and I have helped open over 60 restaurants and cafes everywhere. I have travelled around the world and have cooked in more than nine countries such as China, USA, and UK. I have cooked for singers, athletes, actors and even royalty. I have also worked in cafes, restaurants, pubs, and even a Michelin restaurant. Fortunately, I currently own 10 cafes and restaurants.

Hey Paolo: Among all the things you’ve done so far, what are you most proud of?

Living in London, I became Bill Granger’s executive chef. Bill is a celebrity chef mostly known for Bills (Sydney), but it has grown to 15 restaurants around the world. That’s where and when I’ve learned who I really was. I was tested in every way possible: emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It was difficult, but all of those experiences made me the person that I am today. I have travelled with Granger to Japan, Korea, Hawaii, and Sydney. It was during that time where I have experienced first-hand the way of life I have wanted for myself.

Hey Paolo: Why return to Adelaide?

I initially returned to start my own business. When you’ve done so much work and traveling abroad, you then realise what you have “in your own backyard.” I was searching for the best produce I could work with in South Australia and we’re very lucky with what we have here. We’re blessed with great seafood, nearby wineries, and an abundant livestock. My own personal favourite is heading to the Adelaide Central Market to search for good supplies/produce.

Hey Paolo: How has South Australia shaped you?

I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on the best produce here in South Australia. It is easy to create what you want in the kitchen when you have access to great produce and meat. I often travel to the regions to get inspired. This helps me to be creative.

Hey Paolo: What is Billy’s Table?

About 10 years ago, I was working next door (Queen Street Cafe) and I was supposed to take over that restaurant after being there for about two and a half years. And things just moved differently and I moved overseas.

I have always fallen in love with the street, Queen Street. But what I like most about this place is the community and the locals — they really make the street so unique. That’s when Billy’s Table came in. I was just waiting for the right time and this place popped up.

Billy’s Table is a woodfire restaurant. Everything is cooked based on my travel experiences over the years and it has a global menu.

Hey Paolo: What is Billy’s Lane?

Billy’s Lane is a new multi food outlet at Myer Centre Adelaide offering four different cuisines while showcasing inspirations from some of my travels around the world:

Gelina Milk Bar is a cereal-themed pastry shop offering daily baked American pies, in-house baked sweets, crazy flavours, and combinations mixed in ice creams.

Little Pot is from the traditional Chinese food scene culture: you pick your items, weigh, and pay.

Boneshaker is from the same premium burger joint I have established since 2017 and has already spanned over eight sites (three of them are in China). It now offers a wider range of items such as hotdogs, chicken, sides, even vegetarian/vegan burgers.

Bao is inspired by my stay in in Asia. We have put together a white fluffy pillow of steamed buns with your choice of fillings. Made in-house, Bao also offers fresh dumplings and homemade organic teas.

Hey Paolo: Where do you see South Australia’s culinary scene heading towards in the near future?

The food scene has changed because of COVID-19; it has disrupted the way we do things now. Our business models need to adapt and change. Our way of service needs to be more creative. We need to start thinking outside the box. Restaurants that never focused on takeaways in the past must now adapt to online orders. We are all in this together and the hospitality industry as a whole needs to help each other out.

South Australia has been very lucky and our food scene is still growing, but online presence is now something I see coming into play.

Hey Paolo: Who is Billy when he’s not managing his restaurants?

I’m a father before I’m a chef. When I have free time, I love teaching my four-year-old about the values of cooking. Every Tuesday, we hit the Central Market and I enjoy teaching her how to pick ingredients like how my parents taught me. Every morning we make superfood smoothies, and a few times a week, we enjoy playing retro video games.

I have a passion for motorbikes and I love taking long rides to wind down, as well as finding some form of exercise to keep my body in shape.

I have also spent a lot of my time this year writing and developing a cookbook. It’s something I’ve been working on for years now, but this year in particular, you could say I’ve had more time on my hands. I aim to have it published by 2021.


WHERE TO FIND BILLY:

Billy’s Table. 16/18 Elizabeth St, Croydon SA 5008. https://www.billystable.com.au/. Instagram: @billys_table.

Billy’s Lane. Lower Ground Level, Myer Centre Adelaide. Instagram: @billys_lane.

How To Cook Satay Chicken – Ethan and Margaux’s Cooking Show (with Foodee Grocer)

How To Cook Satay Chicken – Ethan and Margaux’s Cooking Show (with Foodee Grocer)

Learn how to cook this all-time favourite Southeast Asian dish (which is almost similar to your typical chicken bbq), but of course with a special Asian twist.

What made this even more special is the addition of the delicious WARONG PEANUT SAUCE.

Yes, that’s right. Foodee Grocer now has a special collaboration with Warong (which currently has branches at Rundle Place, Westfield Marion, and Findon).

To order your Asian food pack today, visit http://www.foodeegrocer.com.au or check out @foodeegrocer’s Instagram page.

**Enjoy a 15% DISCOUNT when you order. Use HEYPAOLO15 code upon checkout.**

Foodee Grocer is Adelaide’s first online Asian grocery delivery service packed with the easiest and yummiest recipes.

ALSO, if you’re a brand and you wish to collaborate with Ethan and Margaux too, make sure you contact us so I can link you to their parents. (Again, aren’t they the cutest?) Hahaha!

Hey Paolo Spotlight: Vlad Sopotsko of Firestarter Beverages

Hey Paolo Spotlight: Vlad Sopotsko of Firestarter Beverages

Chatted with Firestarter Beverages Marketing Director Vlad Sopotsko to learn more about their products and the challenges of introducing a new brand to Adelaide, South Australia. “If you can make it in Adelaide, you can make anywhere in Australia,” he quips.

Hey Paolo: What is Firestarter Beverages?

Firestarter Beverages is a premium brand of spirits. At the moment, we have gin, vodka, and a range of sparkling wines with a colourful twist. Soon we’ll be adding tequila and rum to our range.

Hey Paolo: Who do you think will enjoy Firestarter Beverages?

Our primary target audience are the young adults who basically want to have a good time. We attract people who want to go outside the box. At the moment, our main campaign is: “premium has a new look.”

Hey Paolo: How different are your vodkas and gins?

Our vodkas can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks. The production of our gins and vodkas are currently in Moldova where our master distillers have been perfecting the recipe for many years. Our gin is the traditional London Dry Gin without the over-infusion of botanicals and other flavours. It’s a very nice Juniper-scented gin with the traditional aftertaste of a proper London Dry Gin.

Hey Paolo: What’s unique about your wines?

At the moment, we only have one line of wines called “Wine of Fire.” It’s a light, sparkling, fruity wine made from Spanish Airen grapes. In order to create the amazing pearlescent effect, you have to shake the bottle and serve it cold. Very soon, we’ll be looking at adding a selection of Australian-made wines.

Hey Paolo: What are the challenges introducing your new brand to Adelaide?

Our main expansion process started in 2020 which wasn’t the best time to start a new brand. We had a few challenges with COVID restrictions such as not being able to host tastings, parties, and be able to go out there to promote the product. But despite that, we managed to overcome those difficulties and we are growing rapidly. We are doing very well.

Hey Paolo: How receptive is Adelaide to new brands?

Adelaide is a very interesting market. But it’s just something we have to approach in a slightly different manner compared to other states which are probably just a bit larger and are more used to seeing new things come into their lives.

FIRESTARTER BEVERAGES. To learn more, visit: https://firestartervodka.com.au/

COCKTAIL OF THE DAY: RUSSIAN MOJITO WITH A TWIST

Ingredients: Lime, Parsley, Ice, Sugar, Soda Water, and Firestarter Vodka

Float Your Stress Away at the Blue Lagoon Float and Spa

Float Your Stress Away at the Blue Lagoon Float and Spa

Adelaide is now home to Australia’s largest luxury floatariums with the opening of Blue Lagoon Float and Spa’s second branch at Hyde Park.

I’m a big fan of spas and I don’t think I’ll survive a single month without getting my deep tissue massages. For some, going to spas is nothing but leisure and luxury. But for me, it’s more of a routine of wellness. As I always say, if I don’t get my monthly massages, I’ll probably fall sick. Like, seriously.

I’ve been to various types of spas including luxury wellness resorts, but a couple of months, I’ve tried something for the very first time: “floatation therapy” at the Blue Lagoon Float and Spa (132 King William Rd, Hyde Park SA 5061).

It was something unorthodox for me: a new age form of relaxation, floating in a pool filled with magnesium sulphate, aka pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salts. The therapy aims to help relieve stress, anxieties, insomnia, and body pain among others.

I came to their spa with my friend, Kyzeen. We were greeted by their very gracious owner, Trina Tramarchi, who ushered us to our floatation room. While walking inside, I was simply amazed by the general vibe and interiors of Blue Lagoon — it was clean, cosy, and stylish.

The floatation room itself was quite spacious with a couple of showers and a pool designed for a maximum of two floating people. Read: floating, not swimming.

I didn’t get it at first. What do you do once you start floating?

My friend, Kyzeen, enjoying her float.

Kyzeen and I spent about 45 minutes in the pool with some relaxing music in the background. We were meant to be silent while floating, but both of us, chatterboxes, couldn’t.

Although I needed to moisturise my skin too after getting marinated in a pool of salt, fascinating enough, I felt “lighter” in every aspect of the word immediately after the session.

On the Blue Lagoon Float & Spa’s website, they’ve listed these floatation therapy benefits:

  • Relieve pain from injuries, arthritis, tension, fibromyalgia, migraines, pms, multiple sclerosis, pregnancy tension, bursitis
  • Improves skin conditions such as eczema & psoriasis
  • Improves blood circulation and the distribution of oxygen and nutrients
  • Reduces blood pressure, pulse and heart rate
  • Balances your metabolism and hormones
  • Accelerates recovery from strenuous exercise and sports
  • Decreases production of cortisol, ACTH, lactic acid and adrenaline
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Epsom salts have a natural anti-inflammatory effect on the body
  • Boosts immune function

Aside from floatation, Blue Lagoon also offers other spa treatments such as massages, facials, spray tans, sauna, and crystal floats.

To learn more about them, visit: www.bluelagoonfloatandspa.com.au.

I’ve briefly interviewed Trina right after our session. Watch the video here:

Other photos supplied by Blue Lagoon Float and Spa and Mercy Me Marketing.

Celebrating my 35th in Adelaide

Celebrating my 35th in Adelaide

Whoever said it’s hard to make friends when you’re older surely hasn’t tried hard enough. Well for one, they should try living in Adelaide.

When most people get contented circling around the same set of friends as they mature, I just keep collecting new ones along the way.

I get it: small circle of friends solidified over time = quality, solid connections.

But I wanted to try and prove a different theory. For the sake of metaphor, let’s like our story to a fisherman: the more you fish, the more mouths you can feed. More chances of winning.

Lucky to have been blessed with new, good friends in the past one year and half here in South Australia. Give me a few more years, and I’ll probably need a park to host my birthday parties. I won’t mind that.

Event: The General Wine Bar & Kitchen, McLaren Flat

Event: The General Wine Bar & Kitchen, McLaren Flat

What a fantastic weekend it was — my heart’s full.

Aside from the fact that I turned 35 recently and celebrated with good friends last Saturday (26 September 2020), I was also invited that same day to an exclusive VIP lunch by Adelaide-based celebrity chef, Helen Mouneimne (The Greek Vegetarian), at The General Wine Bar and Kitchen, Home of Zonte’s Footstep.

Gorgeous Helen will be joining The General Wine Bar & Kitchen team offering regular kitchen collaborations, cooking demonstrations, and exciting workshops for kids. Follow @thegreekvegetarian for regular updates on Helen’s latest projects.

Helen (The Greek Vegetarian) with me

Owned by Brad Rey and Anna Fisher, The General was established in 2016 and is currently the home of the authentic and locally sourced Zonte’s Footstep wines. Aside from Helen, The General also features another amazing chef, Gabriel’s Kitchen, with his special menu every third Friday of the month for a “Friday Wine Down.”

Wine maker Brad Rey
Ana Fisher (left)

Spoilt that day sipping beautiful wines and indulging on a culinary feast (three course meal), we also had the privilege of experiencing their “Dine Around The World” offering, a unique program where The General whips a special menu inspired by cuisines from around the world.

That day, we were “transported” to Morocco. Kudos to the team for a well prepared program, complete with cabin crew, in-flight entertainment, and a stylishly decorated Moroccan-inspired venue. I was personally impressed.

The “Dine Around The World” program is an innovative initiative to recreate the experience of traveling to a destination especially during this time when we’re stuck in our little South Australian bubbles. Designed for a group of eight to 20 people, the menus are normally offered AU$99 per pax (Premium Economy: three course meal + four glasses of Zonte’s Footstep wines), AU$110 per pax (Business Class: three course meal + four glasses of Limited Release Zonte’s Footstep wines), and AU$125 per pax (First Class: three course meal + four glasses of Limited Release Zonte’s Footstep wines + Anna Fisher or Brad Rey providing your in-flight entertainment).

Our chef for the day, Gabriel’s Kitchen
Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Dates + Zonte’s Footstep 2019 Shades of Gris Pinot Grigio
Chicken Kefta with Chermoula, Green Olives and Basmati Rice + Zonte’s Footstep 2018 Love Symbol Grenache

The team also launched an interactive and educational game perfect for parties called “Taste The Regions.” This blindfold wine challenge features bottles sourced from Langhorne Creek, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, and the Barossa.

Special mention to The General’s passionate owners, Brad and Ana — they were fun and extremely generous. Loved both of their vibes! Loved this place! I wish them continuous success with all these initiatives.

The General Wine Bar & Kitchen. 55a Main Rd, McLaren Flat SA 5171.