Danny Bloom
I seek the truth wherever it lies.

Taiwanese publisher Emily Chuang wins Gourmand prize for best cookbook translation at 2018 awards ceremony

Emily Chuang is a veteran Taiwanese publisher who runs Emily Publishing Company in Taipei, and at the recent 2018 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, her company won first prize in the translation category for its Mandarin-language edition of the popular UK cookbook titled “Jerusalem.”

The Taiwan version of “Jerusalem” beat out 20 other countries, including Communist Red China (PRC),  to win the title of “Best in the World” for “Best Cookbook Translation.” In addition, even though the annual Gourmand awards ceremony was held in Communist China, the Gourmand press release listed the winning translation as being from “Taiwan.” This time, mind-controlled and brain-washed China was the sore loser and the free-wheeling democratic nation of Taiwan was the champion. Take that, Beijing, with your “Orwellian nonsense” propaganda is the laughingstock of the world.

“Jerusalem” was written in English by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi by two gay transplanted Israelis living in London and superbly and painstakingly translated into Mandarin by Ching-ying Wang.

There were over 100 categories in the annual Gourmand Awards, which were held last month in Yantai, Communist Red China, from May 25-28, according to its website.

Emily Chuang, editor-in-chief of Emily Publishing, has a funny story to tell, too. During the event, someone stole the display copy of “Jerusalem” — an expensive book with a lovely cover — and she couldn’t believe it when she went to find it on the display table. Seems some people in Communist China lack manners and think stealing is fine as long as you don’t get caught.

Not to worry. Emily had brought a personal copy of the book with her on her trip from Taiwan, and she was able to show that book to admiring fans during the awards ceremony.

When she told the organizers, Chuang said, they confirmed that it had been stolen and said only the best books at the awards tend to go missing. Someone in Communist China lacks table manners, so to speak, no pun intended.

Yotam Ottolenghi, the pioneering Israeli-born chef whose 2011 cookbook “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” helped boost the global excitement over modern Israeli cuisine, does not need an introduction here. Thanks to the London-based Ottolenghi’s distinctive way with the multiethnic flavors of Jerusalem, his cookbook has travelled far, with rave reviews in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

When the Taiwan edition of  “Jerusalem” was first launched  in 2017 at a press conference in Taipei, Israel’s trade representative to Taiwan Asher Yarden and his wife Tamar helped with the PR by playing cook for a day to promote the book and their country to the Taiwanese media.The book, written by Yotam Ottolenghi and his business partner Sami Tamimi, includes a collection of 120 recipes that explore the rich flavors of Jerusalem, and the dishes reflect the celebrity chefs’ unique cross-cultural perspective.

Both men were born in Jerusalem, with Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west side.

How did the Taiwan translation of the book come to be?

Chuang, who is a veteran Taipei publisher and public relations maven (she helped launch J.K. Rowling’s ”Harry Potter” series in Taiwan’s Chinese-language editions), visited the Jerusalem Book Fair in 2013 and came away with a love for the local food and a dream to find a translator for the colorful cookbook she discovered there.

“Israel has delicious food, such as hummus and pita bread,” she told a reporter for the Taipei Times newspaper in 2017. “But these are not well known to many Taiwanese foodies.”

So W\what did Ambassador Yarden and his wife cook for the press conference a year ago? Two common Israeli dishes, naturally, ”shakshuka” and ”tabbouleh.”

Now comes word from Edouard Cointreau, the French director of Gourmand Magazine and the annual Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for international cookbooks, that the Taipei edition has won the  “best cookbook translation” gong at this year’s awards ceremony.

It’s a nice win for Taiwan, a country full of foodies and food festivals which cherishes its freedom and democracy — and its distance from the “Orwellian nonsense” of Communist China on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.

About the Author
Danny Bloom is editor of The Cli-Fi Report at www.cli-fi.net. Danny graduated from Tufts University in Boston in 1971 with a major in Yiddish Literature. A newspaper editor and reporter since his days in Alaska, Japan and Taiwan, he has lived and worked in 14 countries and speaks French, Japanese and Chinese. He hopes to live until 2032, when his tombstone will read "I came, I saw, I ate cho-dofu."