Being proud of the latest champion of TGSA 2016, Le Vo Anh Duy is passionately continuing his journey to discover new spices and to introduce good Vietnamese food.
believes that the tittle is an honor but respect from others is a more
chef Anh Duy after about half a year being crowned, he is the chef representing
Vietnam in the International Tourism Festival 2017. Busy yet happy, the 4th
season champion of The Golden Spoon Awards (TGSA) contest had sincerely shared his
thoughts to gourmets and food lovers.
The champion of TGSA 2016 is the chef representing Vietnam in the International Tourism Festival 2017. Photo: Trung Dzung
Tourism Festival 2017 attracted wide-ranged visitors, not only all over Vietnam
but also from foreign countries. What are dishes that you brought to the
festival to introduce to the Northern diners? And why did you pick those
honored to bring Southern dishes to the North for the first time, in order to
introduce and to serve at the International Tourism Festival 2017. I brought
over 10 dishes, which most of them are typically Southern: snacks, main dishes,
and sweet soups or we call them chè. More interesting, most of them were also
prized dishes in TGSA, such as Kaya jelly fish rice noodles, An Giang
rice noodles with kaffir lime leaves, inflated fried sweet rice, or layer
were all exotic and typical dishes of the South. People usually say, “eat what
the North eat, wear what the South wear” but I’ve gone to Ha Noi many times and
seen that not quite true. For examples, Southern chè is not sweet enough but
people seem to like it very much. We did succeed previous times with less
preparation so we should have better result with my colleagues. By exotic spices,
new cooking methods, and names of the dishes stuck with its region, I believed
we would create new joyful appetite to diners.
motivation was that I had introduced southern food in an event in Ha Noi.
Lately and diners seemed really enjoy. They even said that they wish there were
a restaurant of all southern dishes in Ha Noi.
clients’ gout is a key for a cook to succeed. Do you agree with it?
a precise and accurate idea. Every region has its own taste, and the cook have
to follow the taste. For examples, if you want to bring southern food to the
north, you’re better season it the way Northern people like: less sweet and
using less fish sauce.
Vietnamese cuisine section with all good food from the South impressed visitors at the International Tourism Festival 2017. Photo: Trung Dzung
What do you think
about the differences of this festival from others that you used to attend?
kiosks in that culinary festival had gathered so many dishes, not only from
Vietnam but also from other countries. Visiting diners were various, too. It
was a great opportunity to introduce our good food and to learn from other
this festival, I’d love to offer new, typical, delicious, and nourishing
dishes. Especially, portions of those dishes were carefully calculated so that
visitors can enjoy as many as they can.
nice decoration and impressive presentation were better approach for the
Southern food. For examples, the inflated fried sweet rice, which no types of
sweet rice could be better than northern ones. Why wasn’t the dish created by
the North? In fact, a cook in Dong Nai brought it to the table. So I think if
we present this dish but using northern sweet rice and sugar, diners here would
be more satisfied.
Your career journey
has been through ups and downs. After years being with TGSA and the summit of
it was the championship of TGSA 2016, how did it motivate and inspire you?
feel lucky. Even though it took me 4 years to seize that appellation, I’m still
proud of and honored because we all learn from failures and grow up from ashes.
I always aim to a symbol of full-aspect TGSA champion, not only in the contest
but also in real world. I’m proud of what I’ve done but I’m not standing at the
same place. I’ve been trying every single day so that when I have a chance to
stand in front of diners and audiences, they would recognize my appellation and
Le Vo Anh Duy and his colleagues were with food experts and New York Times reporter at TGS 2016 ceremony. Photo: Viet Huong
How have excellent
achievements in TGSA brought new opportunities for your career?
lot! And for sure if I did not attend TGSA, I would not have such
have been invited to be an image ambassador for brands which are relevant to
cooking and also been invited to food shows and cooking shows. There are
several firms asking to place me in a high position with high salary, too high
for me to think of. All of those came from TGS effects.
In your journey of
conquering TGSA, you and your team were appreciated because of the ability to
connect all spices as a harmonic music sheet. So what is your key to present
such connecting dishes?
ago, the world’s leading marketing expert, Philip Kotler, used to advise that
Vietnam should become the kitchen of the world and I felt so pleased.
Vietnamese spices are abundant and personally I love spices. I usually go
seeking new spices myself, and with help of course. I’ve been finding new
recipes and new combination to create harmonic, well blended, and of course,
of which, in the final round TGSA 2016, which was quite challenging round, I
combined all rural ingredients, such as lemongrass seeds and Gai Sung leaves
(Zanthoxylum nitidum) from the on-site farmer market, to blend a unique
remarkable flavor and it was appreciated. That experience came from times to
times I travelled.
In the very first
round of TGSA 2016, a Vietnamese originated judge had commented that you were a
bright star for the championship that year. Did it pressure you’re in next
was surprised because that judge is a super-chef, who has year experiences of
cooking in many countries before coming back Vietnam and he rarely gave that
kind of complimentary. It’s a pressure, yes, but it’s also a motivation for me
to try harder.
Chef Anh Duy passion-ally improvises and creates a new dish from Vietnamese spices. Photo: Trung Dzung
Do you have any comments
about the statement that TGSA dishes are not common or popular?
think that statement is not wrong because Vietnamese cuisine is very regional,
which can be familiar with that specific group but not others. TGSA gathered chefs all over the country, who represent different culinary styles;
and candidates were encouraged to bring local specialties, heirloom food, or
even fusion food to the contest.
I was surprised because of the abundance and diversity of Vietnamese food and
spices from different regions. The dishes might be new or familiar, or half and
half but they all satisfied standards of the contest: deliciousness and
nourishment. The chefs just needed to invest more to decoration and convenience
for diners. In fact, many restaurants brought their dishes to the contest or
the wining dishes from the contest would be added into the menus of businesses.
enjoy and to feel a new dish is similar to discovering an interesting location
on your way. TGSA dishes were not only for the jury but also for diners and food
lovers that everyone can find the recipes on The Golden Spoon Awards cook book and
website www.goldenspoonawards.com. When people have known of those new dishes,
who loves to cook can make them at home and who loves to travel can have it at
the places where those dishes belong. The cuisine, now, dramatically
contributes to develop regional tourism. That’s the point and one of the
targets of TGSA.
From local spices and ingredients, chef Anh Duy had created and displayed dainty dishes in TGSA. On the photo are: 1). Salmon rolled wild vegetables and served with sesame paste and peanut sauce, 2). Shrimp paste and wild pepper served with grilled pineapple fish sauce, 3). Mushroom paste and grilled ducks in moringa leaves sauce, served with eggplants salad; 4). Purple yam cake
You are kitchen
manager of Binh Quoi 1 resort with busy and multiple tasks. You are also on air
for different culinary TV commercials and food shows. How is everything going
we talked, after TGSA 2016, I do have more chances to present myself.
I’m busy and my schedule is tight but I am doing what I love so it’s not too
hard to put the whole effort to my job.
latest job is to be an MC of The Southern Food – a national TV show – which has
10 complete episodes. The next will be Food Paradise game shows and TV show
names “The journey of Vietnamese spices” of Vietnamese television (VTV). I’m so
interested in those projects because I will have more opportunities to widely
introduce Vietnamese good food and typical spices.
You are the one who
is chosen to represent Vietnam in a coming French culinary contest. Would you
like to share about the contest and your feelings?
confirm this news. But I need more time to update and research its contents,
rules, and procedures so I’d like to talk about it next time. As you know, that
is an international noble contest and being the only one Vietnamese chefs there
makes me so proud. Definitely it’s a huge motivation for me to continue what I
have been devoting for.
Finally, what are
your next steps?
will do deeper researches on spices and breakthrough my old limit. Spices are
my strength and I want to increase it. I also cooperate with communicating
firms, building viral and shows to efficiently exploit and introduce Vietnamese
By Le Quang