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The Good Cooks Episode One: Vietnam with Dan Churchill

Daniel Churchill travels to a ACIAR research site in Ca Mau, Vietnam

In episode one of ‘The Good Cooks’, Aussie chef, Dan Churchill, travels to Vietnam to learn how ACIAR is improving food security and to learn how to cook like a local.

The Mekong Delta is a vast maze of flooded fields, transport canals and floating markets. It is one of the most fertile rice-growing areas in the world and vital to food security in the region.

However, environmental changes caused by factors such as infrastructure development, climate change, deforestation and land degradation are changing the water system and threatening food security. Last year alone, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development recorded losses of A$2.2 billion, due to unseasonally cold weather in the north and drought and salinity intrusion in the south.


Dan Churchill in boat
Dan Churchill in in a boat at the ACIAR research site trialing salt resistant rice varieties

ACIAR brought together a team of scientists to work with the Vietnamese to help locals adapt to environmental changes at a farm level. One innovative approach developed better ways to rotationally farm rice and shrimp in the paddy fields, and how to best share this knowledge with other rice/shrimp farmers.

In this episode of ‘The Good Cooks’, Aussie chef, Dan Churchill, travels the Mekong Delta to learn how ACIAR’s partnerships are making a real difference to both food security and the health of the local communities.

With irrepressible energy and enthusiasm, this Sydney chef, who recently opened a new restaurant in New York, also learns how to cook like a local—preparing seafood soup, rice paper rolls and even catching, filleting and cooking a local water snake.


Dan Churchill in Vietnam
Dan Churchill with the stir fried rice paddy snake

Dan Churchill
Now based in New York, Dan is regularly featured on Good Morning America, on ABC’s The Chew and on The Food Network. As a result he has reached an audience in excess of 10 million people.

With this reach, Dan has grown his social media following to more than 130,000, who keep up with his recipes and global adventures across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and via his popular food blog. 

Skilled in front of and behind the camera, Dan has hosted the popular docu-series Surfing the Menu (Discovery Channel) and recently self-produced his own series Feast with Friends, which airs on Scripps Network’s Genius Kitchen and has been renewed for a second season in 2018. 

Dan’s cookbooks DudeFood, The Healthy Cook and Surfing the Menu have sold around the world. His widespread appeal has led to him being named as Brand Ambassador for companies including QANTAS, Intel, Tourism Australia, Cobram Estate and California Almonds.

To add to his achievements, this highly accomplished Aussie is set to take on the role of Executive Chef at his own restaurant. Charley St opened in New York’s NoLIta district in early 2018, featuring a tempting menu created from nourishing ingredients. 

With thanks to Research Institute for Aquaculture No.2, Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute, Department of Agriculture  and Rural Development and the University of New South Wales.

For more information on the ACIAR project visit the project page: Improving the sustainability of rice-shrimp farming systems in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam