I was in Thailand over the weekend, having gone there to check out uber-health spa, Chiva Som, in Hua Hin (more on that in a later post). The drive to Hua Hin from the airport is 2.5 hours, so I had quite a bit of time on my very idle hands. Fortunately, I had my camera to play with, as well as copies of the Nation and the Bangkok Post, both excellent city newspapers. One article in particular in the Post caught my eye
It was titled “What’s Cooking” by Kanokporn Chanasongkram, and is about the Thai government’s Kitchen of the World project. Here’s the first two paras of the article:
“When global gourmands pick their favourite food, what would be number one? French, Chinese, Japanese, Italian or Thai? In a number of recent consumer surveys, Italian turned out to be the top cuisine. As for Thai food, it ranks within the top five in many surveys and through the Kitchen of the World project the Thai Government aims to increase its popularity to become number one or number two.
“The three-year project, initiated by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, aims to develop the country’s food industry. Ambitious goals include putting Thailand among the world’s top five major exporters of food, promoting the use of Thai ingredients and condiments to produce authentic Thai dishes, and to increase the number of Thai restaurants worldwide from the present 6,954 to 20,000 by the year 2008.”
To read the rest, click here: Article here!
This, in my opinion, is a great development. And Singaporeans should be taking note.
Our government is on the brink of investing billions into 2 integrated resorts with casino projects in hopes of boosting tourism arrivals as well as the economy. I should say I have nothing against the casino-resort; I’ve been for it even before the idea was floated.
But I worry that we are not investing into the future of our culinary industry, an industry that has already made Singapore famous internationally. And I don’t think I am the only one to feel this way, given a few well-written articles and editorials that have appeared in the Straits Times over the past few weeks. We need, in Singapore, a culinary initiative of our own, not a copy of Thailand’s, but one that serves our needs. We need to invest in promoting our greatest chefs, people like Sam Leong, Jereme Leung, and Justin Quek. We need to empower these chefs and others like them with PR and marketing skills. We need to document our food histories (because we have no one Singapore cuisine) and set-up proper culinary education facilities. We need to invest in R&D to refine our own cuisines and our food products. We need to invest in better marketing of our culinary products and eateries. We need to invite chefs from all over the world to come and experiment here, in state of the art kitchen-labs. We need to work with private operators to entice celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller, or Joel Robuchon to open establishments here. We need to invest in an organization empowered to help develop and enable our culinary arts.
I don’t believe this is a far-fetched idea. We have the Design Singapore Council already. Why not a Creative Culinary Singapore Council?