HYDERABAD: His love for the hospitality industry and desire to learn about different ingredients and fresh produce led Luke Nguyen towards food. But the fact that he could also entertain people through food and cooking, made him a culinary TV show host, also known to add his native Vietnamese flavours to global dishes.
His journey on Luke Nguyen’s France begins in Paris where decadence reigns supreme, before he traces the culinary customs of Alace. He then continues onto the mountains of Franche-Comté to delve into the history of French cuisine while the coastline from Nice to Biarritz sees him shine the spot light on home chefs. Nguyen tells us more about his escapades and his passion is likely to get you cooking too!
Tell us about the link between France and Vietnam
The French colonised Vietnam for almost a 100 years. So we can say that French cuisines have great influence on Vietnamese dishes and vice-versa. I wanted to cook these dishes in my style. My mission was to go to France and really discover how the French have influenced our dishes. Bánh xo, a turmeric rice pancake with prunes, pork and mung beans inside, is essentially a French technique. It’s a French-Vietnamese crepe. And this triggered the passion for me to go to France and find out what other dishes and ingredients are there.
What was most challenging?
The research was very, very in depth and we had to meet a lot of people to understand it more. It required going deeper into the layers to know the history behind all the epic dishes that have left a deep impact on the culinary habits of both countries. Most memorable experience. When I arrived in Paris, I cooked a traditional Vietnamese dish called Cá Kho, a caramelised fish dish. Although I prepared it with traditional Vietnamese flavours and ingredients, it was cooked in a very French way.
Your opinion of the French and their cuisine?
Throughout the country, every single person I met was a big foodie. The people there have been brought up with a food culture and they appreciate food and have respect for produce. When they cook, they always use fresh produce and most premium quality. I’m impressed by the way people think about food there.
What have you learned from them?
The way the French cook is actually not as complex as people think it is. You just have to have a great understanding of how much they appreciate freshness and the most premium products.
Did you discover any ingredient which you now love to use?
More than the ingredient, it’s the technique of cooking a French dish. The French use heavier kind of butter - lots of butter. I learned so much about regional and French cuisine and how diverse it is.