Worlds of Flavor 2020: A Virtual Edition

By Emma Krasov. Photography by Yuri Krasov

One of the most anticipated annual culinary events happening in California, Worlds of Flavor (WoF), which usually attracts an enormous amount of talented chefs and food and hospitality industry professionals from around the globe, this year transported its 22nd edition to the realm of virtual reality, and provided a feast for the eyes, while leaving the spectators’ olfactory receptors and taste buds in a state of starving confusion.  

The Culinary Institute of America’s Worlds of Flavor International Conference and Festival in normal, non-COVID years unfolds as a non-stop celebration of food and various cultures it represents, from almost every continent, every climate, and every agricultural zone on Earth. All seminars, lectures and workshops are usually accompanied or interspersed with lavish offerings of culinary creations from the participating chefs, aided by artfully designed displays and musical performances.

This time, at the World Kitchens, World Tables: A Celebration of Chefs and Community virtual edition, the chefs from Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States were still working their magic, but in front of their cameras instead of live audiences. The rest of us stayed glued to our computer screens watching the chopping, the mixing, and the searing of the culinary demos, not being able to inhale a single molecule of the heavenly aromas or ingest a single morsel of the amazing treats.

That was until one of the conference sponsors, Cleansui, a producer of water filter pitchers that deliver Cleansui Culinary Water, has decided to grant the WoF attendees an opportunity to take on some real-life action.

In a box that landed at my doorstep, there were a Cleansui Culinary Water pitcher with a filter, packaged Rishiri Kombu of Okui Kaiseido (a company famous for its high quality dry seaweed), a slice of wagyu beef, and a serving of handmade Udon noodles along with soy sauce and other condiments.

All the ingredients needed for a preparation of shabu-shabu, a staple of Japanese cuisine!

There were also several tiny guide books on how to cook various other dishes based on the Cleansui purified water, and published by the firm.

The color of my dashi broth made with Cleansui Culinary Water looked golden and tasted divinely! Extremely satisfied with the result, I filled the pitcher with tap water again, and placed it in the fridge, as instructed by the accompanying booklet.

That was my hands-on experience of the Worlds of Flavor. The virtual experiences, observed by hundreds of participants, included daily sessions and evening events, group breakouts and networking, video tours and conversations with cook book authors.      

In accordance with The Culinary Institute of America’s mission to find the very best talent, from top chefs to village cooks, from master professionals to street food vendors to inspire American chefs and restaurateurs with the gold standards of centuries-old, world culinary traditions, this specially curated virtual edition of the WoF pulled out all the stops to once again connect the attendees to the global table and to the many dedicated professionals who lead the charge in re-inventing and renewing the food industry every day.

To learn more about Worlds of Flavor, visit

To discover Cleansui Culinary Water, go to