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Vietnam version of Top Chef to debut this month

Friday, November 14, 2014, 18:45 GMT+7
Vietnam version of Top Chef to debut this month
The jurors of the first Vietnamese season of Top Chef - an American cooking reality show - Alain Nguyen, Anh Le, and Robert Danhi (from left) pose at the November 13, 2014 press conference.

The first Vietnamese season of Top Chef, an American cooking TV show, will begin airing later this month, the organizer announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

The show will be broadcast on Ho Chi Minh City TV station channel HTV7 at 8:00 pm every Sunday, starting November 23.

Unlike MasterChef, another cooking reality show of British origin that features non-professional cooks, 16 established professionals will bring out their knives as they battle it out for the Top Chef title and an award of VND500 million (US$23,534).

The jury includes American chef Robert Danhi with a doctorate in Southeast Asian gastronomy, Anh Le who is the director of the LeLe restaurant chain in Copenhagen, and expat Vietnamese chef Alain Nguyen. 

The TV show will be hosted by Thuy Hanh, a former Vietnamese model.

According to Wikipedia, Top Chef is a cooking show on cable television network Bravo, which first aired in 2006.

The show is produced by Magical Elves Productions, the same company that created Project Runway, a fashion design reality show.

At least nine international adaptations of Top Chef have been produced so far.

The Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series Top Chef was also selected by Time Magazine as one of the year’s top 10 best shows in 2007.

American chef Robert Danhi is hosting “Taste of Vietnam,” a television series on Vietnam’s culture, tourism, and gastronomy, which started being broadcast on Ho Chi Minh City television in July this year.

In the show, Danhi is featured preparing more than 90 Vietnamese delicacies right on the beach, in the forest or paddies, and showcasing the cultural and culinary highlights of the places he has traveled to.

Danhi’s show is longer and more detailed than last year’s prequel, “Martin Yan – Taste of Vietnam,” which aired on Asian Food Channel (AFC) in September this year.

In 2000, Danhi made his first trip to Vietnam to experience first-hand and learn about the country’s gastronomy, the chef shared in an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper earlier this year.

He traveled across the Southeast Asian country, roaming remote areas and living a rustic life. Captivated by what he saw on his journey, he returned to Vietnam six more times.

A 20-year veteran of world gastronomy research with a PhD in Southeast Asian food studies, Danhi has authored several cookbooks, including the James Beard nomination “Southeast Asian Flavors –Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, & Singapore,” according to his website.

The book was also the winner of the Best Asian Cookbook of the U.S. in 2009 and rated the second Best Asian Cookbook in the World, the website says.

The chef has turned down several tempting offers to work with prestigious restaurants and hotels in order to have time to travel around the world and explore various gastronomic styles.

According to Zing News, a local newswire, Top Chef Vietnam’s second juror, Anh Le, or Le Yen Hoang Anh, was named one of Denmark’s 100 most powerful women in 2012.

She is living in the European country, where she tirelessly promotes Vietnamese culinary delights.

Le’s TV cooking show, Spis Vietnam (Taste Vietnam), is the first ever-Danish cultural, gastronomic program to go abroad to explore foreign cuisine and to cook for the Nordic viewers, according to

The show focuses on the street and luxury kitchen in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and elsewhere in Vietnam, and puts relevant emphasis on the life of modern-day Vietnamese people.

The third juror of Top Chef Vietnam, Alain Nguyen, graduated in cuisine from a university in France, Zing News said.

He spent years working in luxury restaurants and hotels before returning to his homeland in 2006, where he has assumed important positions at several lavish resorts.

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