Journeys In Taste

Journeys In Taste

Lexus with Condé Nast International

Join Lexus and Condé Nast International on a global exploration of craftsmanship. 

From wine making in China to reimagining Russian cuisine, this four-part documentary series follows four culinary experts and examines the meticulous craft that underpins their visions. 

Much like the Lexus models in which they show us their world, each expert showcases the utmost attention to detail and a commitment to innovation. 


Chapter 1: Defining Taste

Emma Gao is putting Chinese wine on the global map. 

On the first day of the annual autumn wine harvest, Lexus and Vogue embarked on a roadtrip to northeastern China to meet the country’s breakthrough independent winemaker. 

In the Lexus LC*, Gao drives through her family estate of Silver Heights in Ningxia Hui, where she grows the grapes for her now-famous wine that is challenging the status quo to compete with the world’s greatest estates. 

Like the Lexus LC, Gao is forging a new path, surpassing all expectations to create a wine unlike any other that has come before - especially in China. 

“The image of Chinese wine is mass produced, [it] is fast without much care,” Gao explains. 

Emma Gao, Lexus LC

Morphic Blue is not available for purchase in Australia.

Inspired by the wine she tasted while studying Oenology in France, Gao has set her sights on turning the arid foothills of the Helan Mountains into a thriving vineyard, which now covers some 70 hectares. 

It has been no small task, given the remoteness of the area, and the fact that she's had to change people's perceptions of winemaking in China.

“Wine is not really in [China’s] culture—we make tea, not wine.” 

As Gao takes us through the vineyard, she draws parallels between her craft and Lexus; both refined, elegantly designed, and delighting in the unexpected. 

“Just like our wine, the LC defies expectations,” she says. 

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Chapter 2: Preservation Through Reinvention

Renowned Russian chef Vladimir Mukhin is redefining the cuisine of his homeland, taking inspiration from his past to propel traditional recipes into the future.

GQ, together with Lexus, travelled to Moscow in the Lexus ES* to meet Mukhin as part of the next chapter of the Journeys in Taste documentary series that celebrates innovative tastemakers across the globe. 

After working his way up through the ranks of Moscow’s restaurant scene, Mukhin is now head chef at the White Rabbit, a restaurant he says is “magical” for the way in which it delights diners with experimental dishes (think garlic-infused desserts and Russian bread made from birch bark), and its decorative Lewis Carroll-inspired interiors.

Hailing from a small town at the foothills of the Caucasus mountains, Mukhin says he was drawn to Moscow to make his own mark on Russian cuisine. 

“I wanted to find a different style, I wanted to find my style,” he says. 

Overseas model shown.

Taught to cook by his grandmother, Mukhin takes inspiration from her traditional family recipes, and uses only Russian ingredients to create spectacular dishes that captivate diners with their new and exciting flavours. 

His pioneering approach has earned him a coveted place on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for the third year running, but Mukhin is adamant he doesn’t do it for for the glory. 

“It’s about inspiration. It’s not a job - it’s a way of life,” he says. 

Indeed, Mukhin’s desire to constantly raise the bar is compatible with the ethos of the Lexus ES - where performance and high-end craft form a perfect union. 

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chapter 3: Exploring Taste

Chef Miles Thompson with the Lexus UX
Overseas model shown. Australian specifications may vary.

Prolific young chef Miles Thompson is famous for revitalising one of America’s most iconic restaurants, Michael’s Santa Monica. Now, however, he is embarking on something new. 

Chapter 3 of Journeys in Taste follows Thompson in the all-new Lexus UX* as he travels across Los Angeles to source ingredients for his new culinary project - a traditional Jewish appetizing shop, but with a modern twist informed by the diversity of the city. 

Overseas model shown. Australian specifications may vary.

“Jewish food is by no means flashy...the food I cook is comforting and soulful, and reminds you of the feeling of being at home”, Thompson says. 

With his mother’s family of Jewish heritage, and his father’s family of black African American heritage, it’s clear that Thompson’s desire to create a hybrid culinary experience comes from a very personal place. What’s more, it’s obvious that Thompson loves living in Los Angeles for the very fact that so many ingredients are so readily accessible. 

“If you are willing to get into your car and could find any ingredient from anywhere in the world,” he says.

Of his philosophy towards cooking, Thompson says every single ingredient he uses needs to be “vocal”. 

“My general approach to cooking is to pick out ingredients and find the most expressive way to utilise them.” 

Much like the UX, Thompson is forging his own path by taking elements from tradition, yet reinterpreting them for modern tastes. 

“I love understanding and making things that are in a traditional manner. But then I like turning it on its head,” he says. 

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Forge your own path


chapter 4: Elevating Taste

Chef Sergio Barroso, Lexus LX

Overseas model shown. Australian specifications may vary.

For Sergio Barroso, food is about elevation. After a career in the most prestigious of Catalan restaurants, Barroso has honed his skills and developed an outlook that is entirely his own.

In the fourth instalment of Journeys in Taste, in partnership with Lexus, we travel from New York to Chile to meet the esteemed chef Sergio Barroso of Restaurante 040 in Santiago.

Chile holds a special fascination for the chef, who has made the country his home. Barroso moved to Santiago at age 26 after cooking his way through some of Europe’s most inventive restaurants. 

Barroso established 040 in 2015 as a means of exercising his own desires in the kitchen.

“I have always thought, and this is why cooking is appealing to me, you have an infinite freedom to do as you please,” he says.

040 has been named as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and is praised by critics around the world. 

There is never any fear or hesitation in Barroso’s approach; rather, he embraces the daring impetus to do something that hasn’t ever been done before.

New ingredients, new methods, new perspectives: in consistently elevating taste, the only thing Barroso avoids is choosing the conventional path.

Tradition always underpins Barroso’s work. “You need tradition in order to innovate,” he explains, voice edged with passion. 

The Lexus LX allows him access to new possibilities. Barroso’s food is about finding the balance in a blend of varied flavours, letting each ingredient enhance the others. 

“No element is dissonant – and yet they must be different.” It’s an approach that allows every individual aspect to shine, and at the same time, creating a sum that is greater than its parts.

It’s something that mirrors the ethos of the Lexus LS flagship sedan, too–Barroso’s ride of choice during his recent stint at Intersect by Lexus in New York: using the strength of single elements to create a unique experience, powerful in and of itself. 

Footnotes *Overseas models shown. Australian specifications may vary. 
LC Morphic Blue Limited Edition and ES F Sport variants are not currently available for purchase in Australia.


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