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A Taste of Asia in Uzbekistan

Read time: 2 Min
Uzbekistan, 24th February 2014

            Chefs, student chefs, and chef educators in Uzbekistan had the unique opportunity to learn Asian cuisine from one of its master practitioners Chef Devagi Sanmugam from Singapore. Chef Sanmugam is a world-class chef, chef educator, and award winning author, and one of WACS Train The Trainer Expert Chefs.  She voluntarily gave her time and talents to teach Uzbekistan chefs her passion for all types of Asian cuisine.  WACS Train The Trainer is sponsored by Custom Culinary™, and supported by WACS member countries across the globe.

            For one week last September the Chefs Association of Uzbekistan hosted Chef Sanmugam in Tashkent, and coordinated several events where she was able to showcase a wide variety of Asian cuisines.  Lessons were given through a series of lecture demonstrations and hands-on work experiences where some of the chefs had the opportunity to try their own hand at preparing some of Asia’s traditional delicacies.  Lessons included Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Philippine, Malaysian, and Indonesian cuisine.  Although related to each other Chef Sanmugam was also able to show their subtle differences in ingredient use, cooking techniques, presentations, and flavor profiles.

            Participants included chefs from as far away as Samarkand, Khorezm Province and Ukraine.  While few could speak English an interpreter was provided to translate Chef Sanmugam’s words, PowerPoint slides, and recipes. 

            Not all of the ingredients Chef Sanmugam requested were available in the markets of Tashkent; yet she was able to make local substitutions and still be able to produce a wide variety of authentic and near authentic dishes.

            During her 10 day visit Chef Sanmugam was also able to enjoy Uzbekistan hospitality at its finest.  She stayed at the beautiful Grand Orzu Hotel and dined on traditional Uzbekistan foods.  Most of the classes were held at the International Culinary Arts Center of Uzbekistan under the direction of Anvar Allabergenov.

Here is one of her observations that she posted on her blog after her return home (   “The first thing that fascinated me was the Uzbek low table with short legs. This is called a “dastorhan”.  In traditional homes and hotels that want to extend traditional hospitality, you will find these tables.  People sit on a thin mattress called “kurpachaa” or carpets that is spread on the floor, and the food is served on the low table.  The women will usually sit with their legs on to the right side, and men will sit cross legged.”

Great thanks also go to Mr. Akbar Umarov Chairman of the Chefs Association of Uzbekistan, his wife and chef Nargiza Umarov, and his assistant Ms. Tatyana for coordinating the visit and the venues. 

WACS Train The Trainer brings chefs from one country to another to share their passion and knowledge about food.  If you are interested in hosting a WACS Train the Trainer event or become one of WACS Train the Trainer Expert Chefs please visit the WACS web site and apply today.


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