Celebrity chef Bobby Chinn, an international TV host and restauranteur, has been appointed the country’s tourism ambassador for the European market.
Vietnam’s ministry of culture said on Thursday night that it would officially hand the 50-year-old his three-year ambassadorship on Thursday, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The appointment was made as part of an effort under a government program to promote the local tourism industry in major markets.
Chinn was born in New Zealand but he grew up in the UK, the US and Egypt.
He came to Vietnam 18 years ago to learn how to cook Vietnamese food.
In 2001 he started a very successful restaurant near the Sword Lake in Hanoi. Several years later he moved to a new location near West Lake. He opened a namesake restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City’s Kumho Asiana Plaza in 2012, but he left in roughly July of the following year.
He is hosting World Cafe Asia show for the Travel and Living Channel from Discovery Communications and Bobby Chinn Cooks Asia for the Discovery Channel.
He has authored cookbooks aimed at introducing Asian and Vietnamese foods.
He joined the annual cuisine festival Taste of London the first time last June to introduce Vietnamese dishes including its popular spring rolls and banh mi.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is seeking numerous tourism ambassadors instead of limiting the position to one, after the seat sat empty for a year with the country’s first tourism ambassador, popular actress Ly Nha Ky, stepped down.
Among applicants for the position are Miss Tourism Vietnam 2012 Huynh Thi Ngoc Han, actress Lan Phuong, and Miss ASEAN 2012 Dieu Han.