On August 25th, the Florida Taiwanese Business Association proudly presented the ‘International Tour of Taiwan Gourmet Cuisines’ at the Valencia College School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality in Orlando. The event, organized by the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC), highlighted the culinary expertise of two globally renowned Taiwanese chefs, Chef Ko-Chin Chang and Chef Kai-Yuan Lu. The event featured demonstrations by these two chefs and a meticulously prepared luncheon was served to 60 guests after the presentation.
Among the esteemed attendees were Vice President and General Counsel of Valencia College, William Mullowney, and his spouse; Dean of Student Services, Joe Sarrubbo; Special Assistant to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, Shally Wong; Director of Orange County Arts and Culture Affairs, Terry Olson; OCAC Secretary at the Miami Office, Maria Liu; Executive Director of Asia Trend, Gary Lau; President Anne Tsoi; and Vice President of Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, Katie Nhu Nguyen. Additionally, Daniel Contreras, Executive Chef of Disney’s Be Our Guest Restaurant and Instructor at Valencia College School of Culinary Arts, led a group of 20 students during this exciting occasion.
Vice President Mullowney emphasized in his speech that food is a universal language, and his personal passion for gourmet delicacies. He expressed gratitude that Orlando was chosen as a demonstration site for this international event and underscored the valuable opportunity for students and faculty to learn from the expertise of the two Taiwanese chefs. Vice President Mullowney and his wife have already added Taiwan to their bucket list, expressing a keen interest in visiting the country and experiencing the offerings of the showcased chefs.
Terry Olson, on behalf of Orange County, welcomed the attendees and thanked the chefs for their long journey. Acknowledging the cultural diversity and the significant Taiwanese population residing within the county, Olson conveyed the collective anticipation for this grand event.
Following the opening remarks, the chefs demonstrated the preparation of iconic Taiwanese dishes. First, they showcased the technique behind ‘Formosa Beef Noodle Soup,’ toasting various spices and simmering the broth using beef and pork bones. They then demonstrated the art of ‘Wine-Infused Drunk Chicken Rolls’ with Mrs. Mullowney, revealing the best way to roll and prepare the dish. She expressed her excitement to learn authentic Taiwanese cuisine and eagerly took notes, planning on replicating the dishes at home.
The final dish, ‘Sweet and Sour Pork with Fresh Fruits,’ was introduced by Chef Chang, who explained that the Cantonese term ‘gu-lou’ originated from Cantonese cuisine, referring to the process of repeatedly simmering the tamarind sauce to enrich its flavors. Chef Chang demonstrated the unique technique of slicing pork loin into butterfly-like pieces before frying to enhance flavor absorption. Disney’s Chef Daniel Contreras also joined the stage to collaborate on the presentation.
During the demonstrations, students from the culinary school were enthusiastic and actively engaged, taking notes, asking questions, and learning valuable cooking techniques and theories from the chefs. Following the demonstrations, the President of the Florida Taiwanese Business Association, SuHwa Brown, presented certificates of appreciation to the chefs for their dedication to teaching.
Subsequently, the chefs prepared a delectable luncheon for the guests, which included the three demonstrated dishes as well as an additional item, the ‘Tiger Bites Pig Bao (Braised Pork Belly Bao).’ Attendees praised the exquisite Taiwanese flavors and applauded the chefs for their adaptation of authentic Taiwanese cuisine using locally acquired ingredients, resulting in a convenient yet equally satisfying experience. The chefs further greeted the guests during the luncheon, exchanging gifts and opinions, fostering opportunities for future international collaborations.
The event concluded on a high note, leaving attendees with a memorable experience of indulging in mouthwatering Taiwanese cuisine and engaging in fruitful interactions with the chefs. The ‘International Tour of Taiwan Gourmet Cuisines’ event in Orlando was a resounding success, showcasing the harmonious convergence of flavors and cultures.