(Kaohsiung, Taiwan – December 9, 2013) As part of the efforts to promote the richness and delights of Taiwanese cuisine, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau launched the first Taste Taiwan culinary tour contest in North America. Master chefs Michael Ferraro of New York, Bryant Wigger of Los Angeles, and Thomas Heinrich of Vancouver were selected from among numerous contestants to take part in an eight-day tour of Taiwan from Dec. 3-10, The tour’s highlights will be featured in a documentary scheduled for airing on North American media next January. And after returning home, the chefs will introduce original new menu items at their restaurants that incorporate the taste of Taiwan for the enjoyment of North American diners.
As a fitting conclusion to the tour, the three chefs will head today to National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism for a round of culinary exchanges with students and faculty. In addition to joining in on a fun and tasty soup dumpling competition, they will cook up dishes synthesizing local Taiwanese ingredients with Western cuisine, finishing their journey with their unique contributions to the taste of Taiwan.
According to the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, “Taiwanese cuisine has established a fine international reputation over the years, becoming a strong ‘soft power’ competitive advantage for local tourism.” The Taste Taiwan program, the first of its kind held in North America by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, was conceived especially with the idea of inviting master chefs of international repute for an in-depth culinary tour of Taiwan. Following the tour, during which they will see and taste the best of Taiwanese fine cuisine, they will put their creative powers into action to design dishes that present the taste of Taiwan harmonized with the context of the Western cuisine they know so well. These new creations will give the world the chance to Taste Taiwan and sample Taiwanese culinary culture while demonstrating the competitiveness of local tourism.”
Yung Chi-Yeh, President of National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism, says: “NKUHT is delighted and honored to take part in the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s Taste Taiwan program. As a university dedicated to preparing professionals for the hospitality field, an important part of our mission is to encourage students to broaden international exchange. It is vital that outstanding professionals in this field keep abreast of developments in international cuisine and bridge existing gaps. With the assistance of the Tourism Bureau, the elevation of Taiwan’s rich culinary and gourmet culture on the international stage is a major historical moment in the development of Taiwan’s food and beverage culture.”
Over the course of their eight-day culinary tour, chefs Michael Ferraro of New York, Bryant Wigger of Los Angeles, and Thomas Heinrich of Vancouver have observed, sampled, and enjoyed the atmosphere, aromas, and tastes of Taiwan’s internationally-renowned restaurants, night markets, fresh fish and produce markets, Hakka and indigenous cuisine, and organic farms from the north to the south of Taiwan. When not busy sampling local specialties, they have taken in spectacular sights such as Taroko Gorge, Luoshan, and Chishang for an inspiring blend of local food and natural wonders.
After returning home, the three master chefs will present Taste Taiwan events at their own restaurants, designing a fresh menu of dishes inspired by the unique ways in which this journey to Taiwan touched their taste buds and stirred their souls. Fusing Taiwanese ingredients and dishes with Western cuisine, their creations will introduce the charms and delights of fine Taiwanese cuisine to eager palates abroad. In addition, the documentary film covering the trio of chefs’ intense journey of discovery will air on North American media in January, showing viewers the diversity and dynamic spirit that animates Taiwan – The Heart of Asia and inviting visitors from all over the world to experience for themselves Taiwan’s unique lifestyle. One visit, one taste and you’re sure to agree, “It’s time for Taiwan!”
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