MEDIA BUZZ: Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil has long been my go-to cooking oil. So when reporter Sharmila Nair from Malaysia’s The Star newspaper asked me about my passion for using palm oil in American food, I was happy to be interviewed. Ever since I discovered palm oil, I’ve been focused on educating America’s next generation of chefs – as well as typical American consumers – about why palm oil is so good. I was gratified to share my story with Malaysian readers. I admire their cuisine, their culture and their sense of environmental responsibility.
I’ve probably done more research on Malaysian cuisine and ingredients than most other western chefs. During a six-month stay in Singapore in 2010, I traveled to Malaysia for a true hands-on culinary experience. I love that fresh food is such an important part of the Malay culture. I also deeply appreciate Malaysia’s strict environmental standards, and enjoy sharing that appreciation with U.S. audiences. That’s why I’ve spent a great deal of time developing countless recipes, using Malaysian palm oil, that are suitable for the American palette, including the recipes I provided to The Star to include in the article.
The Star reporter was also interested in why Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil is becoming so important here in the U.S. I explained that most Americans are already unknowingly consuming palm oil. It is gradually replacing harmful trans fats in many prepared foods we can buy at the grocery store. I thought Malaysians would be interested in knowing that because palm oil is non-GMO and doesn’t contain trans fats, it fits better with the way most Americans want to eat nowadays.
America’s appetite for cooking with palm oil is becoming insatiable. I could be teaching and doing media interviews about Malaysian palm oil every day of the week. I’ve already done hundreds of television interviews on major U.S. networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX).
The media loves it when I demonstrate how to use Malaysian sustainable palm oil in typical western recipes, from smoothies to BBQs. Palm oil is also very well-suited for the Mediterranean diet that is so popular today. My goal is to show people how easy it is to prepare meals that are good for your body and the planet!
I’m happy that The Star wanted me to share my passion for palm oil, and my American perspective, with the Malaysian people.
Chef Gerard Viverito, is an culinary instructor as the Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, a NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on the issue of sustainability in the seas. He is also operator of Saveur Fine Catering.