Celebrity Chef Vania Wibisono Optimistic in the Water Tiger Year

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Celebrity Chef Vania Wibisono
Celebrity Chef Vania Wibisono, celebrating the coming of the “Year of the Water Tiger” with Sampoerna Academy. Photo: SAMPOERNAACADEMY

IO – Celebrity Chef Vania Wibisono expresses her at being involved in the Sampoerna Academy Lunar New Year celebrations in Jakarta, held on 28 January. “This year, their theme was ‘Spirit of the Tiger’. That’s very suitable – we all should be more optimistic like tigers when facing the Covid-19 pandemic, unlike last year,” she said. 

Vania admitted that she didn’t dare to do much last year. “We’re pretty much like the buffalo last year: stuck in the mud. But this year, we should be more optimistic, because at least we now have the knowledge of how to face Covid-19 more straightforwardly – with continued compliance with health protocols, naturally,” she said. “I’ve gotten myself new clothes, made an appointment with my favorite beauty salon, and I’ve prepared a lot of dishes. May this year everything becomes better in every way. Our New Year Resolution for the year is to live with the ‘Spirit of the Tiger’.” 

Chef Vania Wibisono hosted a live cooking session at the Academy Celebration by demonstrating how to cook Eight Treasure Rice. It contains eight different types of fruits and grains: lotus seeds, red dates (jujube), kumquat, longans, honey cherries, honey winter melons, barley rice, and sunflower seeds. Each of these ingredients carry a deep symbolism: “The lotus seeds represent harmony and joy in marriage and family life. Longan symbolizes unity, kumquats bring good luck, jujubes symbolizes the hope for children as the next generation, cherry and winter melon honey preserves represent the sweetness of life, barley brings long life and blessings, while sunflower seeds represent a balanced and peaceful life,” she said. 

Eight is a lucky number in East Asia. In Han Chinese, “eight” or “bā” is homonymous with both “wealth” and “prosperity”. “Everyone naturally wants to be wealthy and prosperous. This is why this dish is so very popular during Lunar New Year festivals,” Chef Vania said. 

Happy Lunar New Year, Chef Vania! Gong Xi Fat Choi! (rp)