Food foundation needs a new recipe
I was researching a story in Italy when I visited a factory that manufactures kitchen systems for restaurants. For reporters covering the real economy, factory visits are routine, and this seemed like it would be no different.
But it turned out to be quite special. The factory managers guided me into the building and about 40 white-hatted chefs greeted me. The plant had a kitchen laboratory for chefs from around the world to develop tools and equipment suitable for their native cuisines. After touring the plant, we returned to the first building. The kitchen was open, and the chefs presented dishes that were made using tools produced at the factory. As the chefs passed me each dish, they briefly explained its origin and ingredients. I was overwhelmed by the food and completely impressed.
I ended up not writing about this factory, but I still recall the visit as the most memorable moment in my visits and tours of factories and plants. I can still recall the homey Italian sponge cake and unbelievably sweet taste of cream. I had been to world-class manufacturing plants, including those run by Toyota and BMW, but the delicious food from this small factory in rural Italy left an indelible mark on my mind. Delicious food leaves long, favorable memories.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must understand the power of good food. Recently, she used food as a tool for diplomacy. An advocate of “soft-power foreign policy,” her newest choice of weapon is food. She has anointed 80 state chefs and launched cooking diplomacy partnerships. They will wear uniforms bearing the American flag. The state chefs will prepare meals for national events and travel abroad to introduce American culture. They will also promote nutrition and healthy diets in underdeveloped countries. Clinton learned from her experience of receiving dignitaries at the White House as first lady that sharing good food can convey cultural respect and political messages.
After reading about the state chefs, I became curious about the globalization of Korean cuisine, as the hype has subsided drastically. I logged in to the Web site of the Korean Food Foundation. The Web site promotes the globalization of Korean food. Then I thought, “Is Korean cuisine medicine, not food?” The Web site is filled with information on the beneficial health effects of Korean food. There was no mention of what Korean food tastes like.
But don’t we all like food that tastes good rather than like medicine? Korean food has superb tastes and flavors, but why do they take such a serious approach? People around the world are ready to be impressed by delicious Korean food.
* The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Yang Sunny