Eric Ripert first Michelin-starred chef to cook in Bhutan
NEW YORK, Aug 12 — New York-based French chef Eric Ripert will become the first Michelin-starred chef to cook in Bhutan, a landlocked country in South Asia, which pitches itself as the Last Shangri-La and also goes by the name "Land of the Thunder Dragon”.
Ripert, who is one of just 10 US chefs to boast a three Michelin-starred establishment with Le Bernardin, will be cooking for guests at the luxury Bhutanese resort Amankora Thimpu in September, the first international resort to open in the Buddhist Kingdom.
The Buddhist chef will join his former sous chef Matthew Schaefer who now helms the kitchens at the lodge, in preparing two celebratory dinners for guests on September 14 and 15. Menus will combine Ripert's French cooking style with the unique, local ingredients and flavours of Bhutanese cuisine.
The high profile event sends a strong signal that Bhutanese businesses and the tourism industry alike are trying to pitch the Himalayan kingdom as a luxury destination for the deep pocketed. With nicknames like the ‘Last Shangri-La,' and the ‘kingdom of the clouds,' Bhutan is well-positioned to present itself as a final frontier for the already well-travelled, worldly globetrotter looking for a new adventure.
After sightseeing, meditating and trekking through the kingdom, Ripert will be given a culinary tour of the country's gastronomic heritage, including the national dish of ema datse, or chilies and cheese. Ripert will be able to forage wild chanterelle mushrooms and harvest red rice for the gourmet menu.
Between September 14 and 27, 2012, guest rates start at $1,450 USD (RM4517).
Meanwhile, another country which is attracting major investments and interest is Myanmar, for being one of the last ‘virgin markets' in the world. Globetrotters are increasingly putting the formerly reclusive country on their travel bucket list, after pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a human rights icon, took control of the opposition party. Most recently, Coca-Cola announced plans to return to the country after a 60-year hiatus. — AFP/Relaxnews