The project, entitled “Len Men: Umami Unleashed,” not only celebrates fermented foods, but also aims to enrich fine dining with indigenous flavors while advancing food security.

Chef Hoang Tung of TUNG Group (2nd left), KOTO founder Jimmy Pham (3rd left), fermentation pioneer Daniel Hoai Tien (center) and fermentation expert Jason Ignacio White at the launch of 'Len Men: Umami Unleashed' project

“The project is committed to researching and advancing Vietnam’s ancient culinary practices. We delve into the local culinary culture of Hanoi and the Northwestern mountainous region, focusing on traditional fermented foods and beverages. Our mission is to innovate formulas, refine processing techniques and develop preservation methods that elevate the sophistication of fine dining cuisine,” said Chef Hoang Tung of TUNG Group (T.U.N.G dining and Å by TUNG).

“Collaborating with Jason White, former director of Fermentation at the internationally acclaimed NOMA and Daniel Hoai Tien, founder and CEO of Sông Cái Distillery, represents a significant milestone for us. It underscores our dedication to pushing culinary boundaries and celebrating Vietnam’s rich gastronomic heritage, embodying our commitment to innovation and community enrichment.”

The project encompasses various key activities including explorations in Lao Cai to discover traditional ingredients and cooking methods in this culturally rich culinary region, as well as an exchange event between TUNG Group chefs and KOTO trainees.

KOTO, which stands for “Know One, Teach One,” was founded by Vietnamese-Australian Jimmy Pham in 1999 and has empowered at-risk and disadvantaged youth to break the poverty cycle through education and skill development.

According to Pham, this exchange event, one of the key events of KOTO’s 25th anniversary, offers KOTO trainees a platform to gain insights, skills and secrets from top culinary experts.

“The collaboration between TUNG Group and KOTO in Len Men extends beyond organizing events and activities, it reflects both organizations’ shared commitment to enhancing Vietnamese cuisine quality. This project is a testament to their mutual passion for preserving and promoting the nation’s traditional culinary values while making Vietnamese cuisine more accessible to domestic and international food enthusiasts,” he said.

TUNG Group will also showcase moments of innovation and collective success as chefs develop signature dishes that blend the sophistication of fine dining with the artistry of fermentation. Scheduled for July 13 in Hanoi and July 18 in HCM City, two masterclasses limited to 30-40 participants each are expected to be transformative experiences, followed by two six course dinners for each city.

TUNG Group, led by Chef Tung, is a culinary force shaping Vietnam’s fine dining landscape. Two restaurants of the group - T.U.N.G dining and Å by TUNG - have been recognized by prestigious rankings such as the Michelin Guide, La liste and Top 25 best restaurants in Vietnam by Robb Report, alongside a collection of other coveted accolades.

Jason Ignacio White is a multidisciplinary scientist dedicated to the exploration of microorganisms and biotechnologies in society. He is the former director of fermentation at Copenhagen's 3-star Michelin restaurant Noma. Through collaboration with different industries, White hopes to help others bring big ideas to life that are harmonious with nature and build awareness of the potential of emerging sciences in everyday life.

Daniel Hoai Tien is the founder and head distiller and brewer at Song Cai Distillery. He specializes in solid-state fermentation and distillation practices that are traditional and historic to Vietnam and has been researching and using native yeasts, fungi and bacteria in numerous fermentation applications - both for beverages and food applications.

Source: VNA