Take a large amount of U.S. fruits and vegetables, mix in a group of chefs with a flair for Asian cuisine, add a dash of creativity and what do you get? An amazing array of dishes created as part of the annual USDA Council of Chefs (CoC) Train the Trainer Program in Jakarta, Indonesia. The training was conducted by Chef Mike Fleming, director of the School of Baking Technology at CerealTech in Singapore. The CoC is a group of Indonesian chefs with different culinary backgrounds including nutritionist and author Edwin Handoyo Lauwy (Chef Edwin Lau), hot kitchen chef Muchtar Alamsyah (Chef Tatang), and baking and pastry chefs Ucu Sawitri and Haryanto Makmoer.
The USDA Council of Chefs is an annual program sponsored by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Indonesia. As part of the training the chefs developed their own recipes after learning about different U.S. food products. During the culinary course, the Indonesian chefs prepared dishes using products from a number of American agricultural producer associations including U.S. Potato Board (USPB), Washington Apple Commission (WAC), Sunkist, California Dried Plum Board (CDPB) as represented by Sunsweet, California Table Grape Commission (CTGC), California Medjool Date Council (CMDC) as represented by Bard Valley Medjool Fresh Dates, and Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC) as represented by Sun Maid Raisins. An “Apple Banana Roll” recipe using dehydrated potato flakes, Washington apples, California raisins, and Washington apple juice was just one of the flavor fusions created during this event.
In the coming months, the chefs will continue to work with USDA producer associations and the local food industry to develop new Indonesian recipes using U.S. food products. The chefs will share their newfound knowledge and appreciation of U.S. products with the Indonesian culinary industry through cooking demonstrations in Jakarta and selected cities throughout Indonesia. The FAS office in Indonesia will also host follow-up activities with the CoC in an effort to encourage on-going trade between Indonesian and U.S. companies.
U.S. food products have a reputation for quality in Indonesia and around the world. Demand for imported food ingredients is growing in Indonesia. In the past 15 years, agricultural trade between Indonesia and the United States has boomed—more than doubling in value. Indonesia is now the United States’ fifteenth largest agricultural export market. U.S. agricultural exports to Indonesia have exploded since the 1990s. In 1990, U.S. agricultural exports to Indonesia were valued at $275 million. Last year, that figure was $2.24 billion.