Three organizations have joined hands in developing chefs who will be experts in Thai cuisine and able to promote Thai food standards overseas.
The three organizations include the Department of Export Promotion, Rajabhat University (Suan Dusit Campus), and the Thai Education Culture Center, which is located in Japan.
They recently signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation for the development of chefs for Thai cuisine in Japan. Director-General of the Department of Export Promotion, Mrs. Nuntawan Sakuntanag, said that Thai restaurants in Japan are facing a shortage of chefs and cooks. As a result, Thai food is sometimes prepared without knowledge of authentic Thai cuisine and inappropriate ingredients are used, resulting in a decline in the quality and taste of Thai food.
For this reason, she said, the three agencies have joined forces in launching the project, aimed at providing training for chefs and cooks for Thai cuisine. The project will also play an important role in boosting exports of raw materials from Thailand for food preparation in Japan. Apart from helping stimulate the Thai economy, it will also make Thai culture better known overseas.
This three-year project is in the second stage, to be carried out from 2011 to 2013. The first stage was implemented from 2006 to 2010. Under the three-year project, Rajabhat University, Suan Dusit Campus, will provide short- and long-term training for both Thai and Japanese chefs. It will be responsible for research and development of Thai food in Japan, as well. A target has been set to increase the number of Thai restaurants in Japan by at least 3,000 in the next three years.
According to the Thai Education Culture Center, in the past, there were more than 1,000 Thai restaurants in Japan. Because of the shortage of chefs, the number is on the decline. Thai food is one of the world’s most famous and sought-after cuisines. The spicy, aromatic food found in the even smallest of restaurants is a major attraction for foreign visitors. Spices and fresh herbs play a vital role in Thai cuisine and not only do they add a wonderful taste to the food, but there is therapeutic value in many of the ingredients.
The special quality of Thai food is its ability to reflect three key values – nutritional, cultural, and medical – with the use of fresh ingredient and well-trained natural talent in cooking methods and presentation techniques. The Thais pay attention to detail at each and every step of food preparation. Thai cookery can therefore be classified as an art and an essential part of the nation’s cultural heritage, passed on from generation to generation.
There are currently more than 10,000 Thai restaurants worldwide. About half of them are in the United States, followed by Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and Asia. Because of the popularity of Thai cuisine, Thai restaurants and food can now be found in almost every corner of the world.