Like many other disciplines, knowledge does not have a beginning and an end, but it is a continuous process. Every kitchen, every kitchen member, patrons, suppliers and producers will teach you something every day of your life. Some things might be incorrect whilst others might be just genius, and that is why we are and always will be students. One particular form of training is to travel.
Travelling to a new country and absorbing the surroundings, interacting with the locals, appreciating the culture, discovering new ingredients and trying new dishes will offer something which you cannot just achieve from books or from staying in one place. My first work travel experience was during my internship in Scotland, and after that, I had worked for a client in France for four years. I also spent a year in Australia, where I discovered a cuisine which I am incredibly fond of, and that is Asian. I find Asian food to be very exciting, complicated yet simple, and fantastically balanced, hitting all the right notes whilst filling my soul with happiness and joy. This year I decided to dedicate my travels towards Asia, and last April, I made it happen and visited Vietnam, followed by Bali in Indonesia.
These countries are magnificent. The natural beauty both countries have to offer is too stunning to put into words. The landscapes are mind-blowing. The people are just amazing, greeting everyone with a smile and are genuinely happy even with the little they might have. The food and ingredients are novel, abundant and exciting.
Street vendors are selling uncomplicated yet intriguing authentic food roadside or in markets. The connection you get with the locals while buying and eating food together on a communal table is an experience which is very hard to beat. Food travel is a great learning tool to develop new cooking techniques, taste new ingredients and appreciate world cuisines.
Before the end of the year, I will be travelling back to Asia - this time to Thailand. Next year I also have several exotic locations beyond Asia on my travel list and a project with a local travel company offering food trails trips. These get-aways will give travellers the opportunity to discover new cultures through food - from producers to street vendors and eateries and more. Food and travel can help us understand and appreciate different cultures enriching our mind and skillsets. 2020 is going to be a delicious year.