America's most influential professional forum on world cuisines, food cultures, and flavor trends; Worlds of Flavor® International Conference and Festival, held last week on the Greystone campus of The Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley in front of an audience of more than 700 culinary, foodservice, and hospitality professionals. The event highlights the growing trend to Asian tastes and techniques in the United States.
"Today, American chefs are embracing and experimenting with what once was considered exotic. These foods and flavors are poised to continue their ascendance and become ever-bigger players in our national dining scene, whether it is in small independent restaurants, high-volume operations, food trucks, or university cafés," said Greg Drescher, vice president of strategic initiatives and industry leadership at the CIA.
That fact became evident when reviewing the list of participants and the foodservice outlets they represent: Fairmont and Grand Hyatt hotels, Harvard University and Indiana University dining services, Red Lobster and TGI Fridays, Vail Resort and The Cliff House, independent restaurants from across the country, Wegmans and—from London—Marks and Spencer.
Highlights of this year's conference included:
• A fascinating and fact-filled historical perspective keynote on the rise of Asian cuisines and global perceptions of those cuisines, brought to today and a look at the change in status experienced by Asian restaurants in the U.S. presented by Ken Albala (University of the Pacific)
• Paul Qui, of qui in Austin, TX, preparation of a rich and spicy Filipino Pork Blood Stew, which he demoed while talking about cooking with points of references in a deeply rooted culture, expressed in innovative fashion
• The Grilled Duck Salad prepared by Dylan Jones and Bo Sangvisava of Bo.Ian in Bangkok—one of the seven restaurants represented at the conference from S. Pelligrino's "Asia's 50 Best Restaurants" list—that featured Thai Salted Pickled Cabbage
• An in-depth discussion—with culinary demos—of the diversity and traditions of Asian noodles with Jehangir Mehta (India), William Wongso (Indonesia), and Ivan Orkin (USA)
• The appreciative gasps from the audience when Will Goldfarb (Room4Dessert, Bali) shared the secrets of his meringue during the final session
Videos from the conference's live webcast are available on the Worlds of Flavor website. If you did not attend, you can still view all of the above sessions...and more.