LAS VEGAS ( TheStreet) -- Ethnic food continues to gain popularity among consumers, particularly Asian and Indian cuisines.The market research firm Mintel says ethnic-food sales probably reached a record in 2009 and could grow 20% from 2010 to 2014. To capitalize on the trend, Whole Foods Market ( WFMI) is sponsoring six months of cooking classes at Las Vegas-area stores that feature demonstrations from Kuldeep Singh, executive chef of Las Vegas' Origin India and Jet Tila, executive chef of Wazuzu at Encore at the Wynn ( WYNN) Las Vegas. The first one, "The Curry Connection," highlights South and Southeast Asian flavors and techniques. TravelsinTaste went to the sources to get their takes on fusion cuisine.
|Wazuzu's barbecue platter.|
Luciano Pellegrini, a James Beard Award winner who's also the executive chef at the Valentino Restaurant Group, likes to work curry flavors into the Italian dishes he serves at his restaurants. Pellegrini showcases this in his Fagottini d'Aragosta, Maine lobster-stuffed purses with a spicy vodka sauce. "I love the depth that curry adds to any dish. I find it particularly appealing when applied to shellfish and creamy sauces," he says. "That's why I combine it all when putting together a pasta dish. I also use it when making up a spice mix for grilled seafood and or chicken." We asked Tila about the fusion of these ingredients at Wazuzu. "The Roti Panang that we serve is a chapati. Roti bread is our homage to the link between Thailand and India," he says. "This literally links the Thai Panang style curry to roti, the unleavened cousin of naan, which can be found all over Thailand as street food." Wazuzu also serves a traditional Chinese barbecue plate with crispy roast duck, barbecue pork and baby back ribs. The meat is soaked in a marinade made of five spices and oyster, hoisin and soy sauces. After the meat is roasted using a technique from Southern China, the restaurant applies a thick honey glaze. "It represents the natural accepted 'fusion' that has been occurring in Asia for a thousand years, and not the 'confusion' that I find sometimes," he says. -- Written by TravelsinTaste.