Culinary Battles 2014: Supreme Asian Chef
Photos by Dawn Garcia + Cover Photo by Matt Sanderson
The Asian culture has been surging in the culinary world as of late, though it is a culture that has been passing on some of the most influential traditions of cooking for over a thousand years. With an emphasis on fresh produce, utilizing all ranges of meats, spices that span a flavor profile that defy the quintessential predictability of the every day, it is no surprise that Asian cuisine has taken center stage. With chefs with Korean, Thai, Chinese, Japeanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Indonesian, Polynesian and so many other influences and backgrounds, the expansive range that every true food savant is now privy to is wonderfully grand!
So what better way to start sharing some of that culinary prowess with the world than a good old fashioned competition … IN VEGAS?! While Chefs across the United States put their hats and knives into the ring, only 4 final chefs made the cut. Representing the East Coast: Chef Jay Cho and Chef David Park. Representing the West Coast: Chef Perry Cheung and Chef Chris Oh. Each chef notable in their own right, they individually bring something entirely authentic – no one chef with the same training or experience and every one is immensely talented.
With a room soon swimming with bodies from Press to Fans, supporters and TV Hosts, there isn’t a minute to waste as the anticipation builds. The Judges for the main event take their seats. On the panel? Chefs Barbie Marshall, Shirley Chung, Joe Poon, Sean O’Connell and Food Writer, TV Producer/Director, Damon Gambuto
Here to feast my senses and meet the Final Four Chefs battling it out to win the title of Supreme Asian Chef in the US, I enter the ballroom located inside of Caesar’s Palace. The crowd of press, crew, our Host for this afternoon’s event, Diane Henericks, and a flurry of recognizable faces all take their seats getting ready as the show is about to begin. While I saunter over to the VIP Lounge to scour the menu of Sake, wines, beers, and of course, bubbles, I take a moment to say hello to Chef Chris Oh and Perry Cheung – both located in my home town of Los Angeles. Shortly after, the chefs take their posts and the room begins to settle in as Caesar’s Entertainment President, Mr. Gary Selesner takes the stage.
As Mr. Selesner takes center stage, he has a rather relaxed presence that immediately welcomes you. As he thanks everyone for being there, he tells a story of just what it means to him to share the Asian culture with his guests. Having traveled the world, it is the Asian culture and cuisine he is most drawn to:
As each ethnic group has its own culturally based foods and food habits, the Asian American market segment is no exception. Most Asian Americans like to use fresh food in their cooking. Unlike the fast food society of the United States, they select live seafood, fresh meats, and seasonal fruits and vegetables from the local market to ensure freshness. Food preparation is meticulous, and consumption is ceremonious and deliberate. Most Asians living in America adhere to a traditional Asian diet interspersed with American foods. With over 18 million Asian Americans living in the U.S. today, their buying power is both enormous and diverse, especially as it pertains to the food industry in America.
SITED from “Asian Americans Spend 20% More On Food Annually Than The General U.S. Population”.
While the competitors took their stations, the mystery ingredients were revealed: Pork Belly, cabbage, and a basket of fresh produce. Each chef is given an hour to prepare the winning dish. Here is a look at each chef and the dishes they each created.