Asio Gusto International Residents Cooking Contest


Although this dish from the States didn’t receive any recognition, it was clearly #1 in my book!

Over the weekend, I got to participate as a guest judge in the International Residents Cooking Contest held as part of the festival, AsiO Gusto, the first International Slow Food festival. The event was held in Namyangju city, home of the biggest organic farming district in South Korea, and is aimed at promoting organic farming and sustainable practices through workshops, exhibitions, fairs, and of course food tastings.

As for the 30 international contestants who created a dish from their place of origin, they were all very focused and worked their butts off under some intense pressure (just imagine large crowds, live Q&As, and cameras everywhere). And although I didn’t agree with the final outcome (ahem, props to Matthew Blesse and Emily Ahn Levy’s black risotto and baby octopus!!), I have to say all the dishes were pretty good and represented each country distinctly. Congrats to all the winners!

The contest was sponsored by Namyangju city and WWOOF Korea (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). WWOOF is a world-wide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchanges helping to build a sustainable global community. For more information, please check out their website




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