Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Food News: A Taste of Taiwan at Park Grill

Last week, Brandy had the privilege of attending a very special dinner at Park Gill in Millennium Park, hosted by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, because, as we all know, she is quite the bon vivant.  "Sadly, I've not had the chance to explore Taiwan, one of the few countries in this world that I've not been to," Brandy said about the experience, "So I will be quite interested to learn more about what I assume is a beautiful place.  After all, they do call it the heart of Asia!"

The goal of the Taste Taiwan campaign is to educate chefs, food industry professionals and travelers on the differences between Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine and to show that Taiwan has rich culinary traditions all its own.  To do this, hundreds of chefs nationwide applied to go on an epic culinary tour of Taiwan in order to help them design a dish that they could take back to their restaurants and give all of their diners a taste of Taiwan as well.  Only three chefs were chosen, one of which was Jared Case of Park Gill, and his adventures (along with Stuart Cameron from NAO Steakhouse in Toronto and Anthony Jacquet of Whisper Restaurant in Los Angeles) were captured in a vibrant documentary, for which a trailer can be watched via the campaign's YouTube channel and will air on CNBC on December 28th.  For eight days, the chefs were exposed to everything from fine dining to street food to rustic home cooking, all with the goal of showing the sort of techniques and unique ingredients Taiwan has to offer.

Returning to Chicago, Chef Jared prepared several Taiwanese inspired dishes for the crowd, like Grilled Shrimp with Pineapple Relish, Tuna Tartar Wontons with Black Sesame, and Peanut Satay Noodles.  His crowning glory was a dish he called Drunken Oysters, inspired by a journey the chefs took by boat down a river, where they harvested fresh oysters and ate them with sips of beer.  His dish featured warm grilled oysters on the half shell with diced cucumber, cilantro, a little Sriracha, and Taiwanese beer to make things nice and authentic.

You can experience Chef Case's Drunken Oysters for yourself now until February at Park Grill, and if you do, make sure to take a picture of yourself enjoying them and tag it with the hashtag #TasteTaiwan for a chance to win an all expenses paid culinary tour of Taiwan!  "Perhaps I shouldn't be telling people about the contest," Brandy contemplated, "After all, then I'll have a better chance of winning and seeing Taiwan for myself!"

The writers of this blog were invited to attend this event free of charge to facilitate the writing of this post.

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