The cuisine of Taiwan was in the spotlight this week, as the Taste Taiwan campaign brought the flavours of the country to Canadian travel partners.
The event, one of three taking place this week, was the culmination of an eight-day culinary journey to Taiwan by three of North America's top chefs – Toronto’s Chef Stuart Cameron, Chicago’s Chef Jared Case and Chef Anthony Jacquet of Los Angeles – to bring Taiwanese cuisine to Canada and the U.S. by creating new dishes incorporating the ingredients and techniques found in the country’s restaurants. The three dishes will also be available in each chef’s respective restaurants between Jan. 5 and Feb. 5. Organized by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, this is the Taste Taiwan campaign's second year.
Chef Cameron’s Crispy House Tofu was on display last night at Toronto’s NAO Steakhouse, prepared with ingredients such as beef tendon and red bean paste.
The trip was filmed for a 30-minute documentary to air Dec. 28 on CNBC and a preview of the documentary was also screened during the presentation. A similar event in Chicago took place Dec. 8 with the L.A. presentation scheduled for tonight.
“We found that there was a real misconception between Chinese food and Taiwanese cuisine,” said campaign promoter Al Merschen of Myriad Marketing, regarding one of the inspirations behind the trip.
Thomas Chang, director of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s New York office, told PAX that the event promotes two of the country’s highlights for travellers – food and hospitality – and with ever-increasing numbers of Canadians visiting Taiwan (approximately 80,000 Canadians visit each year, he said), the campaign provided another avenue to bring even more travellers into the country.
“This year, we have a 20 per cent increase in the Canadian market, and we are continually looking at new ways of drawing more travellers to Taiwan,” Chang said.
Chef Cameron told PAX that the country – Taipei in particular - has plenty to offer Canadians seeking new culinary experiences while enjoying familiar fare available in any international city.
“It’s really approachable – you can eat anywhere,” he said, describing his time in Taiwan. “There’s everything in Taipei for travellers – anything you can find in a city like Toronto is there.”