KUALA LUMPUR: This years Gourmand World Media Awards to select the best food and wine books, will be attracting top media producers, food journalists and celebrity chefs to Malaysia.
Celebrity television chefs such as American Bob Blumer of Discovery Travel and Adventure series Surreal Gourmet, Harumi Kurihara, the Martha Stewart of Japan; and Frenchwoman Yvan Cadiou, who has hosted shows on BBC, will be here for the awards from May 17 to 21, held for the first time outside of Europe.
A variety of events and activities will be organised, leading up to the awards ceremony at the Palace of the Golden Horses. They include trips to showcase Malaysian destinations, cooking classes as well as trade and food exhibitions.
Gourmand International founder and president Edouard Cointreau described Malaysia as the perfect place for the event because of its fantastic weather, great street food and friendly people.
Chef Wan convinced me that this was the place to have the awards when I met him in Australia. Without him, we wouldnt be here today.
Malaysian food is magnificent and most foreigners like it, including myself.
There are so many kinds of food here its like the United Nations of food! he told a recent press conference.
With up to 25 TV stations from all over the world bringing their producers, celebrity chefs and kiosks, Cointreau hopes to help bring Malaysian food to the world and create some local celebrity chefs.
Ten years ago, there was no such thing as a celebrity chef, but now every country has one. In fact, we were the first ones to spot and award Jamie Oliver, he said.
Cointreau also pointed out that Gourmand was not paying any of the celebrity chefs, saying that they wanted to come because they liked Malaysia, and that it was also a good opportunity to link up with various TV stations and media producers.
According to Cointreau, Gourmand has received around 6,000 entries out of the 24,000 cookbooks that have been published worldwide this year.
We usually give the books to libraries after the awards, and this year well be giving them mostly to Malaysian libraries.
Local celebrity chef Chef Wan who was at the press conference as Gourmands creative advisor said: The awards is a unique opportunity to showcase Malaysia, and to give people a clear picture of our food, culture and lifestyle.
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