A think tank body created by the World Street Food Congress, comprising well-known names, influential thinkers, advocates and captains of the F&B industry in the world. They will function as thought leaders and vanguards of the industry via the event.
The names of the World Street Food Council Members will be announced at a later stage.
Who's Speaking at the Dialogues
KF Seetoh was accorded and recognised as Singapore's Food Ambassador by then Singapore's President Mr. SR Nathan. The New York Times calls him a "food guide maven". CNN hails him a "Guru of Grub". After a decade of professional stints in the media industry, KF Seetoh put a lucrative photography business aside and started Makansutra, a company that celebrates street food cultures.
Since 1997, he has been championing them in many ways:
He inked many regional street food guides since 1998
Developed apps, web and online content with social media presence
Produced and hosted 8 food TV series including Makansutra Raw (on regional and local TV) and The Food Surprise (on Discovery TLC Asia)
Owner/Operator of Makansutra Gluttons Bay, a food court offering some of Singaporean's favourite street food
He writes and oversees the editorial content for Yahoo! Singapore, Esquire, The New Paper, Huffington Post and a host of community publications
He made numerous appearances in food and lifestyle TV shows worldwide, including The Vision, China's most watched food and travel show with 400 million viewers, Anthony Bourdain's various programmes, and The Martha Stewart Show
He also guest judged in the Top Chef finale in its Singapore instalment
What began as an idea to share and celebrate street food cultures of the world in 2011 is now the most challenging task he has ever encountered -- The World Street Food Congress. It aims to preserve, professionalise and create new possibilities in this most endearing food culture. This inaugural event will launch in late May 2013, in Singapore.
Chef, author, and raconteur Anthony Bourdain is best known for travelling the globe on his stomach, daringly consuming some of the world's most exotic dishes on his hit TV shows Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Somewhat notoriously, he has established himself as a professional gadfly, bete noir, advocate, and social critic, recognised for his caustic sense of humor and hi signature wit.
The "chef-at-large" at New York's famed Brasserie Les Halles, Bourdain is the author of the bestselling Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, a candid portrait of life in restaurant kitchens that has been translated into more than 28 languages. He also wrote A Cook's Tour, 3 crime novels, a cookbook and more.
Bourdain has shared insights about team building and crisis management with the Harvard Business Review, and in 2011, he joined the writing staff of HBO's Treme, contributing to the popular drama's restaurant storylines. 2013 will see the premiere of two new television shows hosted by Bourdain: The Taste, a cooking competition series for ABC with Nigella Lawson, and a travel docu-series for CNN, Parts Unknown.
James Oseland is the editor-in-chief of Saveur, America's most critically acclaimed food magazine since 2006. Under his leadership, the magazine has won more than 35 national awards, including two American Society of Magazine Editors awards and nine from the James Beard Foundation. During his tenure at Saveur, the magazine has witnessed unprecedented growth: five of the magazine's best-selling issues were edited by James.
Saveur.com, which James also oversees, has over a million and a quarter unique monthly visitors. Additionally, James was the editor of the books; Saveur: The New Comfort Food (Chronicle Books, 2011) and Saveur: The Way We Cook (Weldon-Owen, 2012), a book of food photography. He also edited six Saveur ebooks, including Easy Italian (Weldon-Owen, 2012), one of the best-selling cookbooks in the history of the Apple Bookstore. His tome, Cradle of Flavors, is still recognised as a respected reference for Indonesian cuisines, where he lived and studied more than two decades ago.
Since 2009, James has been a regular judge on Bravo's hit series Top Chef Masters. He has also appeared on Celebrity Apprentice and Iron Chef America. James has lectured at the New York City and Washington D.C. branches of the Asia Society. Prior to his time at Saveur, James was managing editor of Organic Style and American Theatre magazines.
William W. Wongso is Indonesia's most prominent culinary expert, restaurateur, food consultant, critique and TV host. He embarked on this journey eating indiscriminately on the streets of Indonesia, subsequently overseas, and eventually at world class fine dining restaurants. William learnt to taste, cook and understand food through these experiences – vastly different from his peers who took on the traditional route of attending hospitality or cooking schools.
Because great knowledge in a diverse range of cuisines is what makes a chef, this became William's strength, and is what distinguished him from others. Warren Caragata from Asia Week called him "the Paul Bocuse of Indonesia". He is regarded and the father of gastronomy and Food Ambassador of Indonesia.
With a deep interest in Indonesia's rich culinary heritage, and confidence of its potential to please worldwide audience, William is constantly actively in seeking new avenues to deliver it that culture to the world.
Chef Pongtawat (Ian) Chalermkittichai (Kittichai) is one of the most internationally acclaimed Thai chefs. His culinary journey began with a food cart with which he whisked through the neighbourhoods of Bangkok.
Hard work landed him a culinary school scholarship, a French fine-dining apprenticeship, and then propelled him to become the first Thai national in the world to become executive chef of a 5-star hotel and fine gigs with many 3 Michelin star restaurants. In 2004, he created Kittichai Restaurant in New York City which the local press expressed admiration for. Four years later, he left to set up a global food & beverage consulting firm, Cuisine Concept, through which he advises an impressive roster of clients worldwide. Chef Kittichai, who is the Iron Chef of Thailand, also hosts a weekly cooking programme Chef Mue Thong (The Golden Hand Chef) that has been seen in over 70 countries.
Chef Kittichai's current restaurants include: Issaya Siamese Club( where he took comfort street Thai fare a few notches up in this gastrobar and restaurant set up), Hyde & Seek Gastro Bar in Bangkok; KOH by Ian Kittichai at the Intercontinental Marine Drive Hotel in Mumbai, just to name a few.
Claus Meyer is the co-founder of Noma, which has been voted The Best Restaurant in the World for three years running. He has a dream of unfolding the potential of indigenous food cultures worldwide, hence, for more than 20 years, he has challenged conventional thinking in agriculture, food production and cooking. He inspired a generation to rediscover local Nordic produce through cookbooks, TV shows, cookery schools, lectures, public food debates and produce from his own orchard.
In 2004, Claus co-authored the New Nordic Food Manifesto in pursuit of purity, simplicity and freshness based on seasonal foods that make the most of the region's climate, water and soil.
He has the following companies under his belt: Meyers Madhus, Meyer Food, Meyer Canteens, Fruit from Lilleö (fruit supplier), Meyers Kokken (catering), Deli (Restaurant-deli), Meyers Bakery, Nordhavn vinegar breweri, Chokolade Compagniet (chocolate company).
In 2012, he set up Nam Nam, not far from Noma, a friendly eatery specializing in the street food flavours of Singapore.
Recently named one of Food & Wine Magazine's "Top 10 Best New Chefs," Chef Bryant Ng has worked alongside some of the nation's most influential chefs, including Roland Passot in San Francisco (La Folie Restaurant), Daniel Boulud in New York (Restaurant Daniel), and Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali in Los Angeles, where he helped opened Pizzeria Mozza and served as the Chef de Cuisine.
In 2011, Bryant went back to his culinary roots and opened his first restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, called The Spice Table, which celebrates the culinary heritage of Bryant (Singapore) and his wife Kim (Vietnam). By day, the restaurant is a fast-casual sandwich shop offering southeast Asian-inspired sandwiches, rice bowls and salads. By night, The Spice Table transforms into a full service restaurant offering dishes inspired by the cuisines of Singapore and Vietnam.
Bryant's passion for cooking and the culinary industry hearkens back to his childhood growing up in a Chinese-American restaurant owned by his parents in Los Angeles. His love for feeding family, friends, and guests, is rooted in his heritage, where food is viewed not only as sustenance, but as what brings people together. Prior to entering the culinary industry, Bryant worked as a consultant to the pharmaceutical, medical, and biotechnology industries in San Francisco.
When Johnny Chan eats on screen in the streets of over 30 cities in China, 50 million people watches him. He was a TV host of Traveler, a popular food programme on China's Travel Channel, and probably one of the most watched food personalities on earth, up there with Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay.
In the eight years of TV production, Johnny befriended many street food hawkers, which was why it upset him when so many of them, who used to offer heritage and comfort food, disappeared amidst the country's development frenzy. This spurred him to protect what's left. "This is not about food at all, it is about life," he says.
To sustain these culinary cultures, the 66-year-old Hong Konger who also runs a vineyard in Xinjiang province, offering his 1421 wines, suggests more platforms for street food hawkers to thrive and survive. Both the government and the business sectors, he adds, need to have a hand in this to preserve the heritage. He hopes "to learn from the different participating countries especially the tremendous success of the Singapore street food management and development". "By doing so, China can also share the taste with rest of the world," he says.
Arbind Singh, 45, is a coordinator of the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), which aims to protect and promote the rights of more than 500 000 street vendors. The organisation works with the state governments, municipal bodies, the police, and the street vendors themselves to institute a nationwide inclusive law to protect the rights and livelihood of itinerant food vendors.
Arbind is also an Executive Director of NIDAN, an NGO that helps improve lives of informal workers by enhancing access to legal aid, microfinance and insurance, promoting collective enterprises, and advocating for basic education and healthcare for their children. NIDAN works with 100 000 informal workers and 10 000 children.
As an Eishhenhower Fellow, Arbind visited several cities of the United States to learn about urban issues involving the poor. He was selected an Ashoka Fellow for his innovative approach in addressing issues of informal workers like the street vendors. Under his leadership, the street vendors initiative won the first prize in 2007 at the Innovation Forum set up by the government of Bihar. In 2009, he was awarded the Social Entrepreneur Award at the India Economic Summit by Schwab Foundation.
Simon SC Tay is a public intellectual as well as private advisor to major corporations and policy-makers. He is the Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, the country's oldest think tank, and concurrently an Associate Professor, teaching international law at the National University of Singapore, whose law school is rated in the top 10 globally.
Simon is also a Senior Consultant at Wong Partnership, a leading Asian law firm that practices across the region. He serves on Toyota Corporation's Global Advisory Board and is also a board member for two other major Singaporean corporations, Hyflux Ltd and the Far East Organisation Group.
Previously, he has been a corporate advisor to Temasek Holdings, the government's investment firm. He has spoken at leading business conferences including the World Economic Forum, APEC CEO Summits and SIBOS. His commentaries were featured regularly in newspapers like Today (Singapore), South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Jakarta Post (Indonesia). He has also been featured on BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, CNB, Channel News Asia, NHK Japan and CCTV.
From 1992 to 2008, he has served in public positions, such as the Chairman of the National Environment Agency, a major agency with over 3000 civil servants and was in charge of managing the over 100 hawker centres in Singapore.
Bondan Winarno is regarded as Indonesia's most celebrated culinary expert, a renowned writer and restaurateur, this former newspaper editor is also the host of his own tasting show. Winarno developed his love for food when he was young- he got his first Boy Scout badge for cooking!
He dabbled in many different industries, including advertising, business management, finance, journalism and publishing. His travelling experiences while working as a journalist has inspired him to promote Indonesia's food culture. Through his show, "Wisata Kuliner" on Trans TV, Winarno started trends, raised awareness and appreciation among younger generation on Indonesian Food Culture. He is also known as Pak Maknyus (uncle Maknyus), popularised by his tagline in the show "Pokoke Maknyus!", his quirky expression for all things delicious.
Today, Winarno continues his search for everything maknyus with hundreds thousands of followers. He is the head of "Jalansutra," an online community for food lovers alike. Winarno is also a restaurateur who founded Kopitiam Oey, a quirky coffee shop serving sincere Straits Asian cuisine. There are currently over 24 Kopitiam Oey outlets across Indonesia.
PAULINE D. LOH
Pauline D. Loh is the Managing Editor of China Daily, China's only major English newspapers. She also oversees the food and lifestyle content of its multimedia platforms, where she pursues her interest in food writing and actively promotes food safety, sustainable, organic and community-supported agriculture.
Her knowledge of Chinese cuisine is hard to beat and her ease with both the English and Chinese languages allows her to promote the preservation and promotion of her ethnic culinary heritage. She has published two well-received cookbooks and is currently working on her third – Recipes for My Daughters.
Pauline is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of newsrooms experience. She played senior editorial and training roles in three competing newspapers in Singapore: The Singapore Monitor by SNPL, The New Paper by SPH and TODAY by MediaCorp. She later became the Deputy Editor of TODAY, a major newspaper with a daily circulation of more than a quarter-million copies.
She also worked in leading Hong Kong news media, including the
Hongkong Standard/SingTao Chinese Daily and the eminent South China Morning Post where she regularly won citations and awards, the first Asian editor to do so in Hong Kong's English media.
Vo Quoc is one of the most prominent chefs in Vietnam. He has 14 years of experience specialising in European and Asian food, especially Vietnamese cuisine. He is also the owner and editor-in-chief of three Vietnamese culinary magazines: Mon Ngon Viet Nam, Gia Dinh Vao Bep and Vietnamese Delicious.
In 2001, he graduated from Saigon Tourist Hospitality College with sterling results, and was sent to participate in the Asian Young Chef competition, which he came out on top and has been the only Vietnamese to have won this award till today.
Vo Quoc is christened the Cuisine Ambassador of Vietnam and has been promoting Vietnamese food to the rest of the world, through his participations in food festivals of countries like Korea, France and Sweden. He also teaches Vietnamese cooking at the consulates in Vietnam and has been responsible for the menu of government official dinners.
Quoc started his career as a journalist in 2003. Two years later, he established the three aforementioned top-ranking Vietnamese food magazines. He also teaches at many cooking schools in Vietnam. One of his many humbling task was to ensure and preserved street food culture in Vietnam. He pays itinerant hawkers to pay fines an buy better equipments – in return , many of these hawkers share their family recipes with him.
Richard joined the Singapore Public Service in 2002 and is now the Divisional Director (Hawker Centres Division) at the National Environment Agency. His team is responsible for implementing hawker policies, managing about 16,000 hawker stalls in the 107 hawker centres around Singapore, and developing new hawker centres – 10 more will be built by 2017.
He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelors Degree in Estate Management, qualified as a Chartered Accountant (UK), and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration. He is also an avid foodie and delights in hunting and sampling good hawker fare both in and outside of Singapore.
Daniel retired as Singapore's Commissioner of Public Health/Director-General of Public Health in 2005, after serving in that position for 25 years.
As the Commissioner/Director-General of Public Health, Daniel was responsible to ensure a high standard of public health and a clean environment in Singapore.
Daniel received the Public Service Administration Medal (Gold) in 2002. He also received a gold medal for the cleaning up of the Singapore River in 1987 from the then Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Daniel graduated with honours in civil engineer from the University of Malaya in 1967 and obtained a post-graduate degree (with distinction) in sanitary engineering from Delft Technological University, The Netherlands in 1971. He attended the Advanced Management Program in Harvard Business School in 1994.
After his retirement from the civil service, Daniel joined Prima Ltd (Singapore), a food manufacturer, as the company's Group Adviser in 2005.
Brett Burmeister, a Portland, Oregon native, is the managing editor and co-owner of Food Carts Portland, a resource for street food enthusiasts. He ate at his first food cart in 1991 and has never looked back, having logged roughly 1000 visits to street vendors in Portland and beyond. Brett has been featured by CNN, The New York Times, Saveur and The Guardian, among others. Not only can he tell you where to find the best chinese dumplings, he also advises street food vendors and helps them operate successfully within the often bewildering mobile vending laws. Brett and his business partners launched NOLAFoodTrucks.com for the New Orleans street food scene, and they have consulted for other communities that want to emulate the Portland model. He is a friend and advocate of
mobile food vendors, and a very good eater. Find him at FoodCartsPortland.com.
In Indonesia, you can't talk about F&B business, without mentioning Mr Iwan Tjandra. This man is best known for his successful food court chain, Eat&Eat, the first themed food court in Indonesia, founded in 2008. It changed the dining landscape across the Java Island. Today there are seven Eat&Eat outlets across Java, and two more to open this year. His success lies in the fact that he personally engages top street food vendors and persuades them to set up in his establishments, with unbeatable offers.
After years of formal culinary education at NHI Bandung and the Culinary Institute of America, and several restaurant gigs across Asia, Iwan returned to Indonesia to establish his own empire. In 1996, he set up Elponte International and opened the first Singapore Yong Tau Foo stall in Jakarta, which today has expanded to 15 outlets. In 2003, Iwan started a food processing company, Foodindo Pte Ltd, which supplies assorted cooking sauces for International fast food chains in Jakarta.
Despite his busy schedule, Iwan also provides consultancy service for other F&B businesses. Because he has been a food lover all his life, his friends call him Iwan "Combro" (a traditional Javanese pastry).