Chef: Chi­nese food can ben­e­fit from au­then­tic­ity trend

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AMY HE in New York

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”.

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