I’m excited to be building up to my presentation on 17th June at Asia House, where I will be interviewed by the renown Sichuanese Food writer, Fuchsia Dunlop, accompanied by lots of Luke’s beautiful photographs from Vietnam. I’ll be discussing the findings from my research into Vegetarian cuisine over there, via pagodas, vegan restaurants and the kitchens of many an excellent home chef, all with the help of Vietnamese friends and the Vietnamese embassy in the UK. We’ll then be serving everyone up a small platter of taster veggie Vietnamese food, recipes picked up along the trail, including ginger caramelised tofu, coconut and kohlrabi salad, mushroom spring rolls on a noodle salad bed and a lemongrass Creme Brûlée. Luke’s even preparing a soundtrack of all the field recordings he made in Vietnam. I’ve been testing the recipes myself and with Paul Bloomfield, who has kindly offered to sponsor the event, being a great friend of Yan Kit’s.
During my month long hiatus from The Jade Cave involving a couple of rushed house moves, I am thrilled to announce that I was awarded Asia House’s Yan Kit So Memorial Award for budding Asian Food writers.
The award is a generous travel grant that will get me to Vietnam this Autumn, where I’ll continue my work on this blog, researching Vegetarian Vietnamese recipes, gathering enough material to develop a cook-book proposal when I’m back in the UK! The award was judged by an array of intimidatingly Michelin starred chefs specialising in Asian cooking. Thanks to the generous support at the Asia House team I’ve already had the chance to speak to one of them, Fuchsia Dunlop, who’s kind of The Queen of Sichuan and Sichuanese cooking.
Fuchsia’s basic advice to me was that the beauty of a cookbook is that it can be as weird as you like – it’s not a particularly rigid genre – as long as your research is thorough and your recipes excellent. And so just how Fuchsia discusses Maoist history in her books, I hope to write about Buddhist Vegetarian cookery, with winning food quotes from Vietnamese literature, as well as plenty of region-by region delicious vegetarian recipes.
In May I’ll be attending Atul Kochhar’s ‘Curries Of The World‘ demonstration at Asia House, which should give me a good idea of what to expect when I come to present my own findings there next year. And I’m also going to be working with Grub Club, helping other Asian cooks and hopefully leading to hosting my first public event. So watch this space…