Q&A with One World Kitchen Chefs
With the launch of Gusto TV's newest program, we got inside scoop from featured chefs Hana Etsuko Dethlefsen and Pailin Chongchitnant about all things One World Kitchen.
Walking through the streets of Vancouver you can order the world’s cuisines in a matter of steps (one Okonomi Japa Dog and matcha bubble tea, please!). Whether you’re in the mood for Japanese noodles, Argentinian humita, or Thai soup, you can find almost any dish from any culture in a 15-minute jaunt up Granville or Robson (but we’re not boasting or anything). With a variety of mouth-watering cultural dishes on almost every city corner, it is no wonder Gusto TV is curating the multi-faceted, multicultural Canadian taste into their new original series, One World Kitchen.
As the countdown to the premiere winds down, we got the opportunity to chat with two of One World Kitchen’s up-and-coming chefs, Hana Etsuko Dethlefsen and Pailin Chongchitnant, about all things life, foodie, and OWK.
WL: What made the opportunity to star in One World Kitchen so appealing to you?
HED: Working with the other four women was the biggest motivator for me after I had already agreed to do the show. They are all so smart and strong and talented; I was just really excited and flattered to be considered one of them. The show itself is so beautiful; it’s a cool new format program that really represents the eating of Canadians. Plus it makes the food seem super sexy (and I don’t use that term lightly!)
PC: I love the idea of the show internationally celebrating the diversity of cuisines that exist in Canada. There really is no show like it. Yes, there are shows that focus on one particular cuisine but none that combines so many together. I think this is a big step for Canada as a country.
WL: What are you craving right now?
HED: Hmm, I’m making a lot of noodle salad at the moment. With the weather warming up, I’m craving a variety of vegetables.
PC: Drunken Noodles. It’s requires spicy holy basil which you can sometimes find in Vancouver. I actually found some the other day, so that’s probably why it’s on my mind.
WL: Hana, is there anything you think people who are intimidated by Japanese cooking should know?
HED: I think a lot of people think you have to study for many years to cook authentic Japanese food. But they forget that millions and millions of people do it every day living in Japan! Once you understand some key ingredients and some simple techniques, it’s easy to springboard from there. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
WL: Pailin, what should people know about cooking authentic Thai food?
PC: Thai food really isn’t as complicated as it seems. I think people get in trouble when they focus all their efforts on making Thai food as authentic as possible. There is no correct, authentic Thai food! Once you understand some of the basic building blocks, you can exercise your creativity and go from there. You really don’t have to be afraid that you are going to do it wrong.
As a special sneak peak Hana and Pailin provided us two fantastic recipes featured on Gusto TV: Hana’s Okonomiyaki (a versatile Japanese dish which literally translates to “as you like it, fried”) and Pailin’s Hot and Sour Soup with Chicken (Pailin’s version of a flavour-balanced favorite).
Check out Hana and Pailin on One World Kitchen, premiering June 1 at 8 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. PT.
Hana Etsuko Dethlefsen is a Canadian self-trained home cook who specializes in Japanese cuisine. Her love of bridging culture and cuisine has led her to become a culinary arts instructor at the University of British Columbia where she enjoys being able to share her passion and break down some of the stereotypes of Japanese cooking. The author of Let’s Cooking and letscooking.ca, Hana is inspired by the ingredients around her seasonally and locally.
Pailin Chongchitnant, a native of Southern Thailand, has enjoyed cooking ever since she was a little girl. After graduating from the University of British Columbia and working in the restaurant industry for a time, she decided to move to San Francisco and attend Le Cordon Bleu. The creator and host of the popular YouTube show Hot Thai Kitchen, Pailin is currently training to be a high school cooking teacher and looks forward to an exciting season of One World Kitchen.