Firmly grounded at the intersection of tradition and innovation, Asia is setting the stage for 21st-century culinary exploration and challenging today's chefs and restaurateurs from San Francisco to San Sebastián to re-imagine possibilities around menu design, recipe development, and flavor discovery. The 17th Worlds of Flavor International Conference and Festival, which will take place April 22–24, 2015 at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in the Napa Valley, will shed new light on how a variety of Asian cuisines are evolving in both their national and international incarnations.
"Chefs from Europe to the Americas are increasingly turning to Asia for inspiration. They are dipping into age-old techniques and intriguing textures found nowhere else, ingredient lists rich in vegetables and seafood, complex flavor dynamics, and unique stylistic presentations," says Greg Drescher, vice president of strategic initiatives and industry leadership at the CIA, who created Worlds of Flavor in 1998. "This is certainly one of the preeminent culinary megatrends of our time."
The program will immerse the 700+ attendees—chefs, restaurateurs, and other foodservice professionals—in the cuisines of Asia, from India to Thailand, China to Japan, Korea to Singapore, Vietnam to Indonesia. Coming from around the globe, the more than 60 presenting chefs, experts, and journalists include Janice Wong (2am: dessertbar, Singapore), Matt Abergel (Yardbird, Hong Kong), Shinobu Namae (L'Effervescence, Tokyo), Bo Songvisava and Dylan Jones (Bo.lan, Bangkok), Byung Jin Kim and Lucia Cho (Bicena and Goan, Seoul), Paul Qui (qui restaurant and East Side King, Austin, TX), Ivan Orkin (Ivan Ramen, New York City), Martin Yan (M.Y. China, San Francisco, CA), Francis Lam (New York City), and Fuchsia Dunlop (London, UK). With them, the audience will peer into the world's most acclaimed restaurants and most beloved street food stalls, as they are taken through flavors and dishes that range from deeply traditional to wildly innovative.
Session topics include a comprehensive look at the impact of Asian cuisine on American dining; the science and flavor development opportunities of umami; and demonstrations of Asian style from the most basic to some of the finest in the world. Alongside these high-impact culinary demonstrations that have made Worlds of Flavor a must-attend for the industry for 16 years, participants will have more than a dozen options for intimate kitchen workshops, limited to 20 attendees, where they will see the mastery of Japanese knife technique, taste the diversity of Asian greens, and smell the aromas of breads from around the Asian continent. "Theater" in this year's theme also allows an opportunity to explore insights into Asian hospitality, design, and the art of plating (and "bowling"). And, as always, the World Marketplace will feature bites from presenters and partners, for a full, literal taste of the conference's theme.
Worlds of Flavor is considered by the industry to be America's most influential professional forum on world cuisines, food cultures, and flavor trends. It is the flagship event on the CIA's Industry Leadership calendar, which includes a dozen national conferences, retreats, and industry leadership initiatives each year that address issues and trends related to flavor development and world cultures, health and wellness, foodservice menu research, sustainability, and collaborations between agriculture and restaurant kitchens.