I added them up—I have been to the Worlds of Flavor Conference 9 times—My first one was the amazing WOF Spain back in 2006 where I was introduced to Calcots and Oriol Baglaguer and his famous Mazcleta chocolate, and I have only missed one show since. I almost feel like a regular now at the CIA—I recognize all the chef instructors and staff who work so hard every year to make the conference a great success. I see some of the same sponsoring companies there year after year but always with different recipes and exciting ideas to share!
This year the theme was Asia. I went into the show wondering what I would see that I had not seen before-after all I live in the bay area where there are tons of great authentic Asian restaurants—what could I possibly see that I had not seen already? Turns out I have not seen it all! Imagine that! There is a world of Asian flavors out there that I had not ever seen—Luckily the CIA brought in chefs from all over the world representing both the time honored and the innovative, but they also looked at lesser known traditional and authentic recipes that combined both east and west flavors. Here are a few of my favorite experiences from the show!
A mushroom shaped Dim Sum
Chef Leo Long of Koi Palace demonstrated his beautiful dim sum in the shape of a mushroom! I learned from Chef Leo that most dim sum in the bay area is Cantonese style but Koi actually has more of a variety from other areas as well! Chef Leo was the international and domestic lead chef for LSG Skychef, the owner and manager of The Bistro Burger in Macao, China, and the banquet sous chef at The Westin Hotel in San Francisco.
Not my 1979 Snoopy Snow Cone Machine (although I am sure they were inspired by Asian shaved ice desserts) this ice dessert was a whole new culinary experience for me. The ice was watery but soft—like snow! It melted like ice cream when eaten but had no fat in it! It was flavored with green tea and strawberry. This machine is currently not available in the U.S. but what a great unit to have around for summer BBQ’s. Here is a link to the Japanese site that you may be able to buy them from. The video shows it in action!
I was somewhat in awe of the edible paintings. Chef Janice Wong, chef owner of 2am:dessertbar in Singapore has been awarded Asia’s Best Pastry Chef and is pushing the boundaries between sweet and savory in her cutting edge high tech dishes! I got to try her edible paintings—the paint is made out of sugar and marshmallows and chocolate—and flavored both sweet and savory! I guess my food science questions are—is her chocolate paint all natural or does it have artificial colors? What is the shelf life on those paintings! So amazed at all the creativity going on with her pastries. Just glad I got a chance to taste the painting! Here it is, a video of me eating a painting and not double dipping!
I have heard about this sauce randomly over the past few years but got to experience it in a more serious way at the conference. This Korean hot pepper paste is showing up everywhere including in the soon to be launched Gochujang Seaweed Crisps by Annie Chun’s. This product is NOT EVEN on the market yet—but I got to taste them and they are delicious! I think that anything this sweet heat paste touches will be gold!
Ingredients For Food Scientists Too!
As a food scientist I was excited to see some of my favorite ingredient suppliers there like Perfect Puree of Napa Valley and Wixon Flavors! Its always fun to see great ingredient suppliers incorporating their ingredients into unique culinary applications like the Singapore Sling (all the World of Flavor cocktail recipes by Perfect Puree are available for free on their website!)
Wixon showed off their creative seasoning blends by creating a series of Bahn Mi like the Thai Issan Sausage Style, Char Siu Pork and Filipino Lumpia. All those recipes can be found on their website or you can contact Tara Headd(firstname.lastname@example.org).
Live General Sessions-Still Online
The general session featured lively chefs- my favorite ones were Will Goldfarb, Jehangier Meta, and of course always the crowd pleaser Martin Yang—famous for breaking down a chicken in under 20 seconds (always impressive to see that!). The general sessions are still available online for anyone to watch- and relive those moments.
Stay tuned for 2016 World of Flavors featuring Europe and the America’s—World of Flavor On Fire!