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Nicholls promotes American dishes in Far East markets

THIBODAUX – The John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University welcomes visiting chefs from Taiwan this week – the first half of a cultural immersion program to be completed in June when Chef George Kaslow, assistant professor of culinary arts, is slated to visit Taiwan.

Sponsored jointly by the Southern United States Trade Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the annual 15-day SUSTA Food Utilization Program at Nicholls kicked off Saturday, May 17, with the arrival of 12 distinguished chefs from Taiwan. The training series features culinary demonstrations, lectures and field trips designed to expose the visiting chefs to the rich traditions of Louisianan, Southern Soul, Tex-Mex, Latin American, Lowland Carolinian, Appalachian and Delmarva Peninsula cuisines – as well as Cajun culture.

Kaslow said the objective of the program is to encourage the visiting chefs to introduce featured American dishes to the Far East’s culinary markets: “Taiwan is the jumping-off point for China. What succeeds in Taiwan will succeed on the mainland, the biggest market in the world.”

Area media representatives are invited to attend two SUSTA events in particular – the welcoming of Taiwanese media at 9 a.m. Friday, May 23, and a Soul Food lecture and demonstration by New Orleans native Chef Carmen Bazile, slated for 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 27. Both events will be held in the institute’s main kitchen, located in Room 408 of Gouaux Hall. The visiting chefs will return to Taiwan on Saturday, May 31.

The second half of the 2008 SUSTA program will kick off Monday, June 16, when Kaslow is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan. For 15 days he will conduct demonstrations at trade shows and universities, furthering the overseas exposure of the featured American culinary traditions.

“It is an honor to be invited to participate in this prestigious program,” he said.

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

“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 foodservice 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 – contact Kaslow at (985) 449-7091.

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