Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam

Another of my favorite Cooking Channel shows is “Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam,” with new episodes airing on Sundays.

Nguyen (pronounced “win”) is a restaurateur whose restaurant, “The Red Lantern,” is located in Sydney, Australia. Every week, his show takes us to a different region of Vietnam, the country of his heritage.
His cooking is fun to watch, as he never sets up at a kitchen. Instead, he sets up in the street, on a hillside, in farms, at businesses … giving us a flavor not only of the food, but of the Vietnamese people and their daily lives.
Just this weekend, I watched him prepare Hmong black pig skewers, kohlrabi and buffalo salad, and a red Dzao salmon steam boat. Definitely not your everyday fare. Plus, it’s rather spicy; nearly every dish he makes in his wok includes a number of red chili peppers.
But frankly, it’s not his food that keeps me coming back, it’s the photography. It’s gorgeous! Street views, landscapes, architecture, the markets, the clothes, the people … beautifully composed and lighted, it’s almost like viewing art.
Credit for the magnificent cinematography goes to Chris McHattie and Wayne McPherson, who are cited as the show’s cinematographers and apparently are the ones who lug the video cameras up hills and along the countryside. Some the credit also goes to Nguyen’s partner and the show’s still photographer, Suzanne Boyd.
Bravo, Luke.

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