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Patricia Wells on a Culinary Tour of Vietnam

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One of the world's most renowned food critics and cookbook authors is teaming up with The Nam Hai Resort and Vietnam Airlines to get her first taste of Vietnam.

Paris-based Patricia Wells, whose book Patricia Wells at Home in Provence won the James Beard Award for "Best International Cookbook," is planning a culinary tour of Vietnam between 22 February and 3 March, with the country’s flagship carrier serving as the primary sponsor.

Her 2009 visit will lay the groundwork for a series of cooking classes in 2010, to be conducted at The Nam Hai on China Beach near Danang.

“In food circles, Patricia is regarded as one of the very best in the business,” said Mr. Trinh Ngoc Thanh, a spokesman for Vietnam Airlines. “That she’s identified Vietnam as her next realm of interest says something significant about the rising prominence of Vietnamese cuisine around the world.”

Planned stops during Wells’s maiden trip to Vietnam include Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, Hoi An, Hue and Hanoi. It’s expected that all destinations — as well as her five-star lodging choices, such as the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon, Sofitel Dalat Palace, The Nam Hai in Hoi An, La Residence in Hue and the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi — will be featured in an article she intends to write for a major culinary magazine.

“Of all cuisines on the world stage, Vietnamese cuisine ranks as one of the most intriguing, most sophisticated and least well known,” said Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, general manager of The Nam Hai. “Patricia Wells’ survey and her assessment should make a valuable contribution to the growing body of literature on it.”

Wells, who was born in the state of Wisconsin, will travel with husband and fellow American Walter Wells, retired executive editor of the International Herald Tribune and one of the few non-French citizens to be awarded the French Legion of Honor.

Wells’s cooking classes in Paris and Provence are among the most exclusive experiences in France. She has written nine other books, and served as restaurant critic for IHT from 1980-2007.

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