Some of you already know that my former career was a VIP tour guide for the Walt Disney World Resort. Along with that title came the responsibility of making sure that VIP guests had everything that they needed to enjoy their Walt Disney World experience. I met a lot of neat people through working the many special events that happen year-round for the Disney Company. Back in 1996 and 1997, I was one of the few lucky tour guides chosen to exclusively work the first few annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festivals.
Fast forward 15 years, and today, I took a day trip to this year’s International Food and Wine Festival. I had the pleasure of attending a forum with Huma Siddiqui, a self-taught cooking instructor who was born in Pakistan, moved to London for a few years, and now lives in Madison, Wisconsin. The one thing that resonates in my mind from her discussion was her explanation of why she cooks. It’s not a chore, or something she dreads. She simply does so to remind her family of her home, their family traditions, and her travels. I imagine that if she had her own restaurant, it would be just like Blue Bamboo. We call the kind of food that we make, “Hip Asian Comfort Food,” because through our food, we share our traditions and flavors so that our guests may experience our restaurant’s roots, great local fare, and inspirations from our travels.
After Huma’s session, I attended a Champagne seminar given by an exclusive Champagne house, and a demonstration by a pastry chef from Barbados named Noah French. In the latter, the chef shared his technique for a Caribbean Shortcake with a Coconut Haupia and a Passion fruit curd that was intriguing.
This “homecoming” was a fun day, and it was refreshing to see the festival’s evolution after all of these years. Look for some of the things I learned today to show up at Blue Bamboo soon.
About the Blog
Chef Dennis Chan is the creator of Blue Bamboo, a great restaurant. He writes this blog as an outlet for his food ideas and to keep fans of Blue Bamboo, Hip Asian Comfort Food and his cooking classes up-to-date.
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