Celebrity chefs and writers pen food essays for Lonely Planet

Collection of 34 essays in A Fork In The Road.

SAVEUR magazine editor-in-chief James Oseland can recall with clarity the food memory that upended his life and changed his relationship to food.

He was 19, traipsing through South-east Asia where foods were too spicy, too oily, too strange, and so very foreign from the spectrum of flavors he was used to.

“... my sense of who I was in the world was so terrifically jarred by what I experienced as an eater that it actually completely upended every notion of what I thought was right and proper,” he said in an interview with travel guide Lonely Planet.

“Through that discomfort that I faced, I began to understand this place better, and I began to understand myself better too.”

It’s stories like this that fill the pages of the guide’s latest book release, A Fork in the Road, a collection of 34 essays penned by celebrity chefs and food writers who recount their life-changing food experiences.

For chef Marcus Samuelsson, the food epiphany that would challenge his notion of “fine dining” was during a meal of fugu or pufferfish. For celebrity chef Martin Yan, it was the sum of a childhood spent watching his mother at the stove in Guangzhou, China. And for GQ magazine food writer Alan Richman, the pursuit of koshary – an Egyptian dish of noodles, lentils, rice and crispy onions during the Arab Spring – would leave an indelible mark on his life.

The literary anthology is edited by Oseland and includes contributions from Michael Pollan, Jay Rayner, Curtis Stone, Josh Ozersky and Naomi Duguid.

Lonely Planet has also released The Food Book for epicurean globetrotters with insight into the culinary heritage of 47 countries. The food guide also provides helpful tips on food etiquette and signature dishes in each country.

To mark the release of their latest food editions, Lonely Planet has launched an Instagram photo competition inviting shutterbugs to upload their best travel-related food snaps for the chance to win US$250 (RM800) worth of Lonely Planet merchandise.

Other titles that offer culinary travel ideas include Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe by National Geographic, and Ultimate Food Journeys, by DK Eyewitness. – AFP Relaxnews

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