Mark Best to tempt Asian palates with Aussie produce

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 14th September 2009

Mark Best, one of Australia’s most celebrated chefs, will visit Taiwan (27 Sept-4 Oct) in support of an Austrade initiative to promote premium Australian food and wines to consumers in the region.

A leader in contemporary French cuisine, Best has achieved rave reviews from food critics and recently claimed the 2010 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Best Chef Award. Later this year the Executive Chef of Marque will present at Madrid Fusion, making him only the second Australian chef after Tetsuya Wakuda to demonstrate his culinary arts at the world’s foremost culinary symposium.In Taiwan, Mr Best will present menus complemented by premium Australian wines at a series of events showcasing his skills, teaching local industry heavyweights including chefs, premium buyers and food lovers about the subtleties and strengths of Australian food, wine and produce.

Austrade’s Taipei-based Senior Trade Commissioner Yvonne Chan welcomed Mr Best’s visit as a unique opportunity to showcase how Australian fine food and wine could win over consumers seeking out the latest contemporary trends in international cuisine.

“Taiwan is Australia’s 8th largest trading partner and a great stepping stone to other Asian markets. Food exports to Taiwan were worth more than $560 million and quality Australian wine is also making a growing impression amongst consumers,” she said.

Mr Best will share his love of Australian cuisine, noting that the fusion of flavours seen in Australia offered something unique to Asian food lovers.

“I am influenced by the French concept of terroir – a word encompassing time and place as well as situation, aspect and attitude. As a result I very much see Australia as part of Asia, welcome influences from across the region in my kitchen, and I’m keen to share what Australia’s cuisine culture has to offer,” he said. “While Asia has one idea of Australia, I would like to demonstrate the degree of sophistication we have here, in terms of our cultural influences, cuisine and the world class ingredients and wine we produce.”

“Dishes such as the ‘Sea Urchin Custard with Mandarin and Green Tea’, and ‘Roast Wagyu Beef with Smoked Onion and Blood Sausage’ have a recognisable Asian touch while introducing fresh complexity and balance.”

Ms Chan added that the promotion was critical as Taiwan would provide a platform for other key markets, such as China.

“Cultural and language similarities mean Taiwan’s food critics have a say in influencing consumer preferences across the strait,” she advised. “Most of the food writers who will attend the press briefings for example contribute to Chinese as well as Taiwanese gourmet publications.”

Mr Best will also present a master chef showcase in China at the Westin Hotel in Beijing on November 5.