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Shanghai chefs study American cuisine at Nicholls

THIBODAUX – The John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University is hosting 12 visiting chefs from Shanghai, China, this week – the first half of a cultural immersion program to be completed later this year when Chef George Kaslow, associate professor of culinary arts, is slated to visit eastern China.

Chef John Kozar of the John Folse Culinary Institute, second from left, demonstrates how to make a crust for a pecan pie. Kozar taught baking techniques to visiting chefs from Shanghai, China, as part of the institute’s annual SUSTA event. Also pictured, left to right, are Zhi Jun Ge, interpreter Danny Chiang, Sebastian Wu, Qian Yi Bin, Zhou Rex and Fan Pin Liang.

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 Sunday, May 15, with the arrival of the international guests. The training series features culinary demonstrations, lectures and field trips designed to expose the visiting chefs to the rich traditions of Louisianan, Southern Soul, Latin American, Native American and Appalachian 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 China’s culinary markets.

Chef Randy Cheramie of the John Folse Culinary Institute, second from right, assists visiting chefs from Shanghai, China, in making various types of gumbos. Visiting chefs, pictured from left, include Han Zheng, Gong Zhiqiang and Chan Kin Keong.

The second half of the 2011 program will kick off in September, when Kaslow will travel to eastern China. For 15 days he will conduct demonstrations at trade shows and universities, furthering the overseas exposure of the featured American culinary traditions.

“I am delighted that this program has been so successful,” Kaslow said. “The economic and cultural benefits are enormous. The fact that the program has continued for 11 years shows what a good job we at Nicholls have been able to do. Other schools have tried to replace us in this effort, but they have always failed.”

For more information on Nicholls’ SUSTA program – which in previous years has welcomed chefs from India, Russia, Hungary, Mexico, Thailand, Canada, Croatia, Taiwan and several Latin American countries – go to the official blog at http://sustajfci.edublogs.org/. Additional information is available at http://www.nicholls.edu/culinary/.

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