Cleverly fusing Cultures

These last few days were unusually turbulent. However, the prospects of my future is exciting.

This next blog deserves a thank you to Caroline Quest for a brilliant flicker of professional direction.

Whenever I travel to the Eastern world and stay at a “world-class” hotel I am confronted with a cultural curiosity about food. Most Chinese hotels seem timid when catering home-cooked food to a Western clientele without forfeiting a little of their culture. The menu selection foremost reflects the “request” of their guests who seemingly are opposed to classical traditional Chinese food.

Hey, I have visited places that had organized universities 3000 years ago but humbly ordered “Continental Breakfast…” Uncertain we find ourselves drawn to the simple bread/butter and müsli section while the “other side” clearly offers a more sophisticated variety.

Most Western travelers settle for customary home-cuisine and tend to be less open minded about unfamiliar flavors, smells or preparations of cultural cuisine. Such limitations dictate Asian hotels to cater a food selection that does not highlight their heritage. Although guests would like to experience (i.e.) Chinese cuisine, they might be trapped by several factors that influences partial (familiar) selection – not to risk their health, not encouraged to cope with new essence or too time constricted to step out of ones customized frame. It’s just business as usual…

My concept masterfully creates a cultural bridge: A clever fusion of traditional Chinese medicine with traditional French cuisine. An experience these clients bring back home with insight that the food they consumed and the history behind these menus will aid their wellbeing, longevity and it all tasted delicious!

Many hotel corporations disappoint having to design a skillful menu that highlights local tradition and fail to cater to the curious taste buds of their sophisticated Western clients. Chefs and Managers must learn to unite local flavors with European culinary highlights. My forte is developing menu ideas that blend local delicacy and plate them smartly in an all accepted, familiar presentation.

This concept of utilizing a 3000 year of Chinese wisdom with French cookery is my unique signature: I focus on local ingredients to highlight the flavors that will bind diverse cultures together through dining. I mix a well-rehearsed ancient knowledge with a modern appreciation for food; a perfect mélange to bridge the East with the West.  The selections look European but they are true fusion Cuisine.

For many luxury hotels catering to a complex traveler, my TCM fused concept adds a beautiful expansion to their menu curriculum. Guests recognize instantly that they are enticed to comfortably step into a cultural experience. A Chicken Cordon Bleu with Goji berry sauce looks familiar and invites for a discussion about immune boosting properties and its eye nourishing qualities. Guests become fascinated with a rich Chinese history. When the concierge explains that the ginger and lemon grass infused hot tea awakes energies and helps travelers balance their jetlag – he proudly shares a common sense of culturally known fact.

A chicken soup laced with TCM becomes a welcomed dish when fighting an outbreak of flue, saving a hurried business traveler. And this Chinese soup is a local feast. The strange, brown tea brewed from Luo Huan Guo – a perennial fruit of a vine – helps balancing body temperature during the humidity of a South East Asian summer and is a safe, sweet beverage for diabetics. It needs a harmonized team to purvey the message correctly: That is my job!

My menu creations are not just recipes for master chefs to follow, I train the whole team to convey a very hotel-personal message across continents while designing specific culinary delights and tonics – I fuse traditions while encouraging each side to uphold their identity. We become a stronger and healthier world by respecting our heritage but adapting and embracing the best parts of each distinguished cultures and share the accumulative knowledge that is available to all of us.

TCM chef Raphael

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