The year before Rigas hundredth birthday celebration I was asked to go over and help with some of the hotels which were mostly very old and needed kind of bringing up to a bit more international standards.
I also helped develop their star categories, working with each hotel and, after the improvements, awarding them the number of stars in the Michelin star program.
Riga is a beautiful city and there were many folk festivals.
I particularly enjoyed seeing the weaving because I myself am a weaver, so for me, it was very interesting to see their looms and weaving designs.
On one photograph there is a man holding a decorative shuttle which I actually purchased and which for years hung on the wall of my in my studio in Toronto.
During the Russian occupation, many homes were just literally taken away from people. Many years later the government is trying to return these homes to the official owners which is very difficult as many people left the country and never returned. Some of these homes were just simple dwellings in the city which you can in see pictures here. Some were magnificent mansions and a few of the people who had these mansions returned to them have turned them into hotels. I really enjoyed that part of my work.
Helping to make these beautiful mansions into luxurious accommodations for visitors was not easy but was a great joy.
While in Riga I was invited to demonstrate a recipe on local television. Here is a picture of me showing some shrimp in the newspaper article that followed
Riga folk festival