Thứ sáu, 20/05/2016 14:25

Purpose and Meaning

1. Searching, preserving and promoting the folk and rustic dishes that embody traditional regional culture

In the realm of culinary heritage, Vietnam offers many delicious and rustic dishes based on legends and served to royalty on precious and colorful and festive dishes. Each dish has its own unique appearance and individual features from within its region. It will tell a story of the culture and creative spirit found within the work of its culinary grandparents.

However, traditional dishes have become less commonplace, and often forgotten, due to the nation’s diverse geography, unstable history and economy. The mission of the Golden Spoon contest is to lead a search of such rustic and typical traditional dishes from all over the country, and draw up a veritable map of Vietnam’s cuisine. It seeks to create a departure from the exquisite and diverse food, and turn it professional and full of identity; all the while bringing great national pride to the world.

One of tables entered at the 2015 Golden Spoon Contest was inspired by the countryside of the Southwest region.

Finding traditional and rustic dishes at risk of being lost is difficult, but to be able to understand and tell its story is even harder. It is a compulsory task and a condition for professional chefs who attend the journey of the Golden Spoon contest.

2. Dishes must be “delicious and nutritious” as the first criteria, while also remaining true to the trend of the times. It must demonstrate that we are all health-minded, living a more “green” lifestyle and calculating our eating and living habits based on positivity for the human health condition.

For over a thousand years Vietnamese cuisine has followed the principles of five elements, and the balance between yin and yang. Even during family meals, our ancestors required using only the freshest ingredients. Commonly meals should be included many vegetables, grains, herbs, meat and fish. All dishes should be a great combination of all flavors: sour and spicy; salty and sweet; crunchy and clammy; hard and soft.

Luckily, Vietnamese cuisine has always taken its roots in nature and kept the balance between the delicious and nutritious. The challenge for chefs today is whether to fuse Vietnamese cuisine with the elites of the culinary world, or keep its traditional makeup as passed down through its ancestors.

This important decision requires each chef of the Golden Spoon contest to possess knowledge about nutrition and the capacity to select fresh and natural ingredients grown without additives or chemicals that may alter the taste and harm our health. The chef must also provide a balanced menu without overuse of oil and frying, so that the dishes retain their health benefits. They should think of creating menus with dishes that can increase overall awareness for eating wholesome.

Jellyfish salad with pennywort made by Lotte Hotel Hanoi in the semi-final round - northern region, 2015 Golden Spoon contes.

All the dishes that achieve these criteria will contribute to improve general health conditions for the public. Humanity is a resource and the talent of its people is national spirit. This strength must be fostered and built up. In order to become a rich and sustainable country, we must take care of the health of our people, especially by building a young generation full of energy to take this forward.

The Golden Spoon contest not only takes requires delicious flavors as the key to a great Vietnamese dish, but also expects its nutrition to be taken seriously and represented in modernizing the cuisine. As our country develops, our society is more and more concerned with the development of its cuisine, and attention must be paid to the long-standing healthy feel it has always possessed. This important mission is put on the shoulders of professional chefs.

3. Internationalize Vietnamese dishes through decoration, and present them with luxurious appeal.

In August 2007 outstanding marketer Mr. Philip Kotler came to Vietnam he held a seminar titled New Marketing for the New Era. Here, he imparted that, “Each country should exploit its own strengths to market its image. China is considered as the world's factory. India as global offices. Why can’t Vietnam, with its reputation for a diverse culinary art with abundant food sources, become a food kitchen or warehouse of the world?" This most excellent suggestion inspired an idea of integrating with the rest of the world through transforming the power of culinary culture into economic potential.

To implement this idea is not easy. It requires a professional development strategy and human resources with chefs who have sufficient knowledge and talent at level of artisans. Chefs must not only have the ability to design a purely Vietnamese menu using only all-natural ingredients, they must do so in-line with world food trends and then present it in such a refined and elegant was.

The presentation skills of Binh Quoi I Tourist Area’s chefs (semi-final round in the 2015 Golden Spoon contest).

Applying decoration or presentation techniques for dishes or party table by using color, shape, highlighted spot and refined details or creating a harmonious combination actually have a big impact on the taste of both national and international diners. These skills will help the Chef contribute to make Vietnam Cuisine blooming and appear in the menus of international party table and be more perfect in national party that containing both country spirit and beyond national borders. In line with the purpose of internalizing Vietnam Cuisine, Golden Spoon with luxury Ly 's Horeca porcelain products are really building a solid foundation for a long journey.

4. Honor the talent of chefs, restaurants and hotels that contribute to the enrichment of Vietnamese cuisine.

To transform cuisine into an art we need chefs and experts that understand about nutrition, know how to identify naturally raised ingredients, prepare and cook authentic dishes that retain their tradition know how to process foods but still remain true to the roots of the recipe. On top of this, the chefs must also possess the talent to present such authentic dishes in a style that is modernized; single serving and enticing to all international palates.

The champion and runner-up stand on the victory platform at the Golden Spoon contest with the coveted Chef’s Cup and many valuable prizes. However, it is of more import that the competition also honors the gathering of all its contestants. They are the ones who with the right passion and heart that will lift up Vietnam’s cuisine to be on par with the rest of the world’s greatest food destinations.

Awards ceremony of the 2015 Golden Spoon contest.

5. Develop a brand for Vietnam’s cuisine and turn it into a national source of tourism that increases economic development and enhances general welfare.

Over the years Vietnamese dishes appear continuously in the ranking of Asian delicacies and throughout the world. Dozens of well-known Vietnamese restaurants in Saigon, Da Nang and Hanoi are ranked in the list of the top luxury restaurants in Asia. The list grows longer with more and higher positions. With such advantages, Vietnam can choose to target the emotions of its travelers through its food, as national pride and spirit shines through.

There are already several parts of country’s tourism in development, such as its geography, landscape, history, culture and spirituality, but the value of food culture can and should be enhanced immediately. It has the capacity to create immediate memories and bring emotional hospitality to tourists. Once foreign visitors love a dish - whether it's a dish in a luxury restaurant or a tasty bowl of Pho from a shop in an alley - it has the great potential to make tourists return.

Turning traditional and rustic delicacies in Vietnamese cuisine into a national brand is not only a dream, but it must become reality. In order to do so, we must have a targeted plan of action. First of all, standardize foods in both quality and form so that any foreign visitors coming to Vietnam or elsewhere around the world, while enjoying the fried spring rolls, raw spring rolls, snakehead fish sour soup, “bánh bèo” cake, “bánh khọt” cake can feel all delicious, healthy and exquisite in Vietnam cuisine. This isn’t the work of any single chef, but a uniform alignment with a macro management at the national level. The most important part is to have an industry of modern cuisine, in tune with the development trends of the world. It is a total development plan from the physical, cultural and spiritual qualities of Vietnamese cuisine. Alongside, the nation’s budding chefs and talent will be the driving force of one of Vietnam’s best attributes: its food.

By The Golden Spoon Award