Chef: Chinese food can benefit from authenticity trend
The Chinese food industry can capitalize on a global trend toward authenticity, says a well-known chef.
“If you look at one of the biggest global trends right now, it’s authenticity,” said celebrity chef Chris Koetke, who is also vice-president of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago.
“People want real food; they don’t want Americanized whatever,” he said. “So I believe that there is a huge opportunity here for people to say, ‘I’m going to show you what real Chinese food is like.’ Obviously, you can’t do everything, and not everything is transferable, but there are a lot of dishes that are, and a lot of flavor profiles that are.”
Koetke said that Chinese chefs and food service professionals see the business opportunity and are interested in bringing Chinese cuisine to a more global audience.
Koetke just hosted
a delegation of Chinese food industry leaders for a threeday workshop to coincide with the US National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, one of the biggest food service conventions in the world, which brings together an estimated 65,000 people.
The workshop was designed by China’s World Association of Chinese Cuisine, the US National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and Kendall College.
“What we’re teaching and creating a dialogue on is around trends — what’s happening from a trend perspective, somewhat globally and very specifically in the US — and what are those trends that could impact China that would be potentially advantageous for restaurateurs to think about,” Koetke told China Daily on the last day of the workshops on Monday.
He said that the Chinese delegation will be learning about regional cuisines in the US and learning how regional dishes can be expanded to have global importance. Koetke cited barbecue — a dish that has its roots in Southeastern states in the US — as an example of a popular dish that has left its place of origin to become a “global concept,” something that Chinese chefs can consider with their own cuisine, he said.
“More and more people in our industry have realized that the key to expanding our business in a more sustainable way lies heavily on training and education,” Li Hongjun, general manager of Shanghai-based Hanyuan Culinary Consulting Group and a member of the Chinese delegation participating in the workshop, said in a statement.
Koetke said that the workshops also focused on food safety and management and equipment and technology.
“One of the things that’s happening in our world from an equipment/technology standpoint is that food service being as big as an industry as it is, you can only imagine the amount of innovation that happens constantly,” he said. “The feedback has been very good. They were very interested. These are people who have management responsibilities, significant management responsibilities.”
Koetke said that “as a manager, you’re always looking for that thing that can make it that much easier to run your business, whether it’s equipment or software, so there’s a lot of interest in that”.