Saturday , July 13 2024

Project to elevate Việt Nam’s culinary heritage and inspire future chefs

The project, entitled Lên Men: Umami Unleashed, not only celebrates fermented foods, but also aims to enrich fine dining with indigenous flavours while advancing food security.

Chef Hoàng Tùng of TUNG Group (2nd left), KOTO founder Jimmy Phạm (3rd left), fermentation pioneer Daniel Hoài Tiến (centre) and fermentation expert Jason Ignacio White at the launch of ‘Lên Men: Umami Unleashed’ project. — VNS Photo Luong Huong

HÀ NỘI —   A culinary project which delves into traditional cooking techniques across Hà Nội and the northwest mountainous regions, has been launched by TUNG Group in collaboration with fermentation expert Jason Ignacio White and Vietnamese fermentation pioneer Daniel Hoài Tiến.

The project, entitled Lên Men: Umami Unleashed, not only celebrates fermented foods, but also aims to enrich fine dining with indigenous flavours while advancing food security.

“The Lên Men: Umami Unleashed project is committed to researching and advancing Việt Nam’s ancient culinary practices. We delve into the local culinary culture of Hà Nội and the northwest mountainous region, focusing on traditional fermented foods and beverages. Our mission is to innovate formulas, refine processing techniques and develop preservation methods that elevate the sophistication of fine dining cuisine,” said Chef Hoàng Tùng of TUNG Group (T.U.N.G dining and Å by TUNG).

“Collaborating with Jason White, former director of Fermentation at the internationally acclaimed NOMA and Daniel Hoài Tiến, founder and CEO of Sông Cái Distillery, represents a significant milestone for us. It underscores our dedication to pushing culinary boundaries and celebrating Việt Nam’s rich gastronomic heritage, embodying our commitment to innovation and community enrichment.”

The project encompasses various key activities including explorations in Lào Cai to discover traditional ingredients and cooking methods in this culturally rich culinary region, as well as an exchange event between TUNG Group chefs and KOTO trainees.

KOTO, which stands for “Know One, Teach One”, was founded by Vietnamese-Australian Jimmy Phạm in 1999 and has empowered at-risk and disadvantaged youth to break the poverty cycle through education and skill development.

According to Phạm, this exchange event, one of the key events of KOTO’s 25th anniversary, offers KOTO trainees a platform to gain insights, skills and secrets from top culinary experts.

“The collaboration between TUNG Group and KOTO in Lên Men extends beyond organising events and activities, it reflects both organisations’ shared commitment to enhancing Vietnamese cuisine quality. This project is a testament to their mutual passion for preserving and promoting the nation’s traditional culinary values while making Vietnamese cuisine more accessible to domestic and international food enthusiasts,” he said.

TUNG Group will also showcase moments of innovation and collective success as chefs develop signature dishes that blend the sophistication of fine dining with the artistry of fermentation. Scheduled for July 13 in Hà Nội and July 18 in HCM City, two masterclasses limited to 30-40 participants each are expected to be transformative experiences, followed by two six course dinners for each city.

TUNG Group, led by Chef Tùng, is a culinary force shaping Việt Nam’s fine dining landscape. Two restaurants of the group – T.U.N.G dining and Å by TUNG – have been recognised by prestigious rankings such as the Michelin Guide, La liste and Top 25 best restaurants in Vietnam by Robb Report, alongside a collection of other coveted accolades.

Jason Ignacio White is a multidisciplinary scientist dedicated to the exploration of microorganisms and biotechnologies in society. He is the former director of fermentation at Copenhagen’s three-Michelin-star restaurant Noma. Through collaboration with different industries, White hopes to help others bring big ideas to life that are harmonious with nature and build awareness of the potential of emerging sciences in everyday life.

Daniel Hoài Tiến is the founder and head distiller and brewer at Sông Cái Distillery. He specialises in solid-state fermentation and distillation practices that are traditional and historic to Việt Nam and has been researching and using native yeasts, fungi and bacteria in numerous fermentation applications – both for beverages and food applications. — VNS

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