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Nicholls chef takes Southern cuisine to Asian markets

THIBODAUX – Chef George Kaslow, assistant professor of culinary arts at Nicholls State University, has returned to Thibodaux from Taiwan, completing the second half of a cultural immersion program that began in May when the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls welcomed 12 visiting chefs from the island nation.

Kaslow conducted several cooking demonstrations and teaching seminars – some of them televised – at various hotels, universities and trade shows in the Taiwanese cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung.

The objective of the two-week trip – sponsored jointly by the American Institute in Taiwan’s Agricultural Trade Office and the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) – was to introduce Southern American cuisine to the Far East’s culinary markets. Jambalaya, a Louisiana favorite, is among Southern foods gaining popularity in the region.

“Taiwan is the jumping-off point for China,” Kaslow said. “What succeeds in Taiwan will succeed on the mainland, the biggest market in the world. One of the major goals of this particular program was to begin to open up educational and cultural program opportunities in mainland China. Our Southern foods and culture are of great interest to the majority of people I met while in Taiwan.”

Among other activities, Kaslow and his Taiwanese collaborators presented eight different dishes representing eight regions of the American South during a four-day promotion, “U.S. Foods with a Southern Flair.””We worked hard to get the recipes and menus as authentic as possible,” Kaslow noted.

As the John Folse Culinary Institute furthers its involvement with the international SUSTA program, groundwork can be laid for additional initiatives, he said. These include reverse trade missions, culinary student exchange programs and a proposed faculty exchange program with Kaohsiung Hospitality College.

“Such programs allow Nicholls to reach out to partners in international education and trade, forming new relationships,” Kaslow said.

A native of New York City, Kaslow specializes in regional Italian cuisine. His expertise also includes Latin American, Afro-Caribbean, Kosher and Hallal dishes, among others. His mentors include some of the culinary field’s greatest innovators.

“I was trained by Leonard Berkowitz, the man who was instrumental in bringing the Certified Angus Beef brand and program to the restaurant industry, and Dr. Lendall Kotchevar, who helped develop the first frozen foods for U.S. submarines during World War II.”

Kaslow earned his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and his master’s degree in hotel and food service management from Florida International University.

For more information on Nicholls’ SUSTA program – which in previous years has welcomed chefs from India, Russia, Hungary, Mexico, Thailand, Canada, Croatia and several Latin American countries – go to www.nicholls.edu/culinary.

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