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Vietnamese-American chef scoops up culinary award

Update: June, 29/2012 - 09:55
Wok of fame: Vietnamese-American chef Duong Huy Khai has won the gold prize at the International Beijing Culinary Competition for his salangane soup. — File Photo

HA NOI — Duong Huy Khai, a Vietnamese-American chef, outcooked 200 other leading chefs from 30 countries and territories to win the gold medal at the International Beijing Culinary Competition, which ended last week.

Igor Tumarkin, from Russia, and Thai chef Thanaphat Buapijit won the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Khai prepared bird's nest soup emanating from the coastal province of Khanh Hoa, his native land. The dish was highly regarded because the chef combined Asian and European styles, judges said.

Khai made the sauce from tomatoes, carrots, lemongrass, turnips, onion and ginkgo, which judges said brought out the delicate flavours of the soup made from the nest of the salangane (Asian swift). In the past, bird's nest soup was served only to royalty.

Khai is the first Vietnamese chef to get a star on Cordon Bleu Boulevard in France where famous chefs are honoured, similar to the Walk of Fame in Hollywood aimed at celebrities.

After three years studying mechanics, Khai realised his passion was cooking. He left everything behind and started from scratch to pursue a culinary career. After three years studying, he graduated and worked as a chief cook in a restaurant in San Francisco. However, feeling unsatisfied with his skill, he returned to studying in France and the US.

He visited Viet Nam many times to explore the local cuisine and traditional dishes from different regions.

"Being Vietnamese, I'm proud of the country's diverse cuisine," he said, "I will do my best to promote its quintessence abroad."

The chef is currently a judge on the Japanese-originated Iron Chef game show on VTV3 channel. — VNS

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