Miami Tastemaker – Danielle Chang

Danielle Chang, Founder, LUCKYRICE
Danielle is an award-winning media entrepreneur. Prior to launching LUCKYRICE in 2010, she was CEO of Vivienne Tam, a fashion company. She was previously the founder and publisher of Simplycity Magazine and Simplycity.com as well as the U.S. head for Assouline, a French creative advertising agency. A graduate of Columbia University with a BA in Art History and a MA in Critical Theory, Danielle has also worked for Goldman Sachs, The New York Times and as a Professor of Contemporary Art History. Born in Taiwan, Danielle created LUCKYRICE to share her life-long affinity for Asian cuisine and lifestyle.

You have a pretty corporate background. What was your inspiration to step into the culinary world with LUCKYRICE?
My work background is primarily in the culture business – I’ve worked in publishing, art, and fashion – so food being THE fashion statement of the day, it’s a pretty natural transition.

If you had to describe the LUCKYRICE Festival in 3 words, what would they be?
Eat, Drink and Get Lucky!

This year marks LUCKYRICE’s 5th anniversary and the festival’s 3rd year coming to Miami. Why Miami?
Miami is one of America’s top dining destinations, and although the city has a tiny Asian population, many of its most popular restaurants and lounges are Asian – think Hakkasan, Katsuya, Nobu.

What can we expect for this year’s event?
20 restaurants and 8 bars serving up tastings of Asian-inspired dishes and cocktails featuring Bombay Sapphire East! Some of the cocktails you will find on the menu: “Lotus Flower” featuring Bombay Sapphire East, St-Germain, watermelon, simple syrup, and sierra mist. Also, “Shenzhen” featuring Bombay Sapphire East, Chinese Five Spice Cordial, fresh lemon juice, fresh ginger juice, garnished with lemon wheel, fresh shaved cinnamon and star anise. There will be featured restaurants such as, the Bazaar by Jose Andres, Michael Swartz and La Mar, by Gaston Acurio, and more traditional Asian restaurants, like Khong River House.

This year’s event is a lot about “Asian-meets-Latino.” What do you think makes these two cuisines work well together?
Asian and Latino cuisines really play well off of each other. They share a lot of similar ingredients such as coconuts, cilantro, chilies and limes. All of the cocktails using Bombay Sapphire East, infused with Thai Lemongrass and Vietnamese Black Peppercorns, will pair well with all of these imaginative dishes.

What’s your all-time favorite dish to eat?
Hot Pot – a little bit of this, a little bit of that… cooked at the table for added fun. It’s such a communal dish.

You’ve worked with some amazing chefs through LUCKYRICE, including this year’s host, Chef Morimoto. Which chef would be your dream host for LUCKYRICE 2015?
Morimoto is quite a dream come true! He’s an amazing chef, and also an amazing entertainer so I’m looking forward to seeing his demo. Would love to work with Jose Andres as well to host something in Miami, especially since he just joined the LUCKYRICE Culinary Council and his restaurant will be participating in this year’s festival.

What’s your favorite thing about visiting Miami?
The beaches and the sunny weather, naturally.

How would you compare the Miami culinary scene to some of LUCKYRICE’s other host cities?
Miami’s culinary scene is very Latin/Global-oriented. In terms of the Asian food world, there aren’t that many “mom-and-pop” or traditional Asian food restaurants compared to, let’s say, Los Angeles or the Bay Area.

What new city would you like to bring LUCKYRICE to in 2015?
Pssst… Chicago.

Mitch & Mel

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