March 07, 2013

Holiday with celebrity chef in an Asian paradise

Variety's upcoming Vietnam Culinary Tour from October 12th to 20th is a one-of-a kind holiday adventure set to tantalise the senses like no other! Hosted by celebrity chef, Marion Grasby, the experience promises to be an unforgettable trip of a lifetime.

Celebrity chef and cookbook author, Marion is getting set to pack her bags for this once in a lifetime 'foodies delight' tour of Vietnamese landscape and culture and share her own culinary tips and ideas on local cuisine during hands-on cooking classes and demonstrations, led by well-renowned local Chefs.  Feast on the magnificent and highly varied local cuisine in an array of stand out locations and restaurants, while learning all about the country's rich food heritage. From the vibrant centre of food haven Hanoi to the deep valleys of Mai Chau for a school community project, travellers will be immersed in all the wonderful rich culture Vietnam has to offer.

Marion is no stranger to travel having been raised by globe trotting parents and lived in exotic locations including Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Darwin; providing an abundance of inspiring ingredients for spicy papaya salads and sweet, sticky mango dishes. Marion's Thai mother also gave her a wealth of knowledge and an appreciation of Asian food from a young age.

"This will be a very special food tour because not only will we be seeing and tasting some amazing things but we'll also be helping to make a difference to children with special needs," said Marion.

A key hands-on highlight of the tour will be cooking classes with Madam Anh Tuyet, who is highly regarded as Hanoi's best chef. Visiting the local market, travellers will learn all about Vietnamese ingredients and herbs before returning to her kitchen, where Madam Anh Tuyet will demonstrate how to cook traditional dishes before serving them up as a tantalising lunch menu in her esteemed restaurant.

At the Hoa Sua Vocational Training School where disadvantaged youth learn hospitality and educational skills to equip them with the tools required to provide for themselves, reminiscent of "Jamie's Kitchen", travellers will be taught by the school's teachers to cook delectable delicacies such as lotus root and shrimp salad, fresh spring rolls with shrimp and pork, char grilled pork balls with rice noodle and sweetened lotus seed doughnuts.

Other food experiences set to showcase the country's rich culture include dining at the 400 year old Dinh Bang Communal House and Mau Dich Restaurant, as well as visiting the empowering Muong Culture Space, Temple of Literature and Do Temple.

The ultimate kitchen activity, however, will be on the final two days of the tour when the group will help to build a kitchen for a remote Vietnamese kindergarten. This community kitchen will stand as a permanent reminder of the nine unforgettable days for the travellers and of course, the local children who will benefit from it for years to come.

The cost for this all encompassing Vietnamese adventure is from $3,250 (dependant on reaching maximum group size), which includes return economy international flights from Sydney to Hanoi with airport transfers, excursions, meals and accommodation. In addition, Travellers have a minimum fundraising goal of $3,000 which will be used to purchase a Sunshine Coach for a school in Dubbo (rural NSW) which supports 265 students, 67% of which are aboriginal and 26 have special needs. The Sunshine Coach will be used to transport children to school (ensuring they attend) and to extra-curricular activities that they would otherwise miss out on.

For further information and bookings please visit or contact Lucy Rae on 9819 1014


Variety-the Children's Charity is a national not-for-profit organisation committed to empowering Australian children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs to live, laugh & learn. By giving practical equipment, programs & experiences, Variety helps children in need to overcome whatever obstacles they face & live life to the fullest.

Today, Variety Australia delivers around $1 million in individual and organisational equipment grants every month, filling the gaps often left by governments and other organisations. Variety is often an appellant's last resort to secure equipment vital to their children's wellbeing.

About Marion:

Marion is a little bit Thai (courtesy of her Mum) and a little bit Australian (courtesy of her Dad). Her love of food and travel became ingrained at an early age as her globe-trotting parents lived and travelled in Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Australia.

Marion counts her successful meal solution range, Marion's Kitchen as one of her biggest achievements to date. Last year she launched her cookbook 'Marion: Recipes and Stories from a Hungry Cook' and continues to source her recipes from all over the world.

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