The Food Philosphy at TIA Wellness ResortMichelle Ford
TIA Wellness Resort is a spa inclusive wellness resort in Da Nang offering indulgent retreats with private pool villas. One of the most exceptional features of this resort is the food which is inspired by the five elements. We caught up with Michelle Ford at TIA Wellness Resort, to find out why anyone should head to TIA Wellness Resort for a clean eating fix?
1. What is the food philosophy at TIA Wellness Resort, and what inspires this philosophy?
Our influence and inspiration for our food philosophy came from the five elements which are used to create balance in taste and senses, the Asian principles of Wu Xing.
Spicy – Metal Sour – Wood Bitter – Fire Salty – Water Sweet – Earth
In addition, there are 5 internal organs, 5 types of nutrients, 5 colours and 5 senses considered in these principles.
- 5 Organs – gallbladder, small intestine, large intestine, stomach, urinary/bladder
- 5 Nutrients – powder, water/liquid, mineral, protein, fats
- 5 Colours – white (metal), green (wood), yellow (earth), red (fire), black (water)
- 5 Senses – sight (appearance), hearing (crisp sounds), tastes (five spices), smell (herbs), touch (finger food/mixing)
Our interpretation is to utilize fresh, season & local ingredients and create elements within our dish to provide an overall experience by providing a variety of colours, tastes and textures.
2. What role does Vietnamese food play in your food philosophy?
In addition to the elements, the most important aspect of food in Vietnam is freshness. Vietnamese usually purchase their fresh ingredients daily and use it on the same day. It is not considered fresh the next day if stored in a fridge. Vietnamese cuisine also utilizes a lot of herbs such as spring onion, coriander, mint in raw form into salads and meals and is generally cooked and seasoned very lightly preserving the natural flavours.
Our food is inspired by local, seasonal ingredients and we use this for both our traditional options and as the base for our inspired modern creations. For our vegetarian, vegan and raw food, there are a lot of options available locally to be inspired by as there is a strong vegetarian Buddhist influence and many Vietnamese also respect monthly vegetarian days on a full moon. Our favourite is the Vegan Cau Lau – this dish is a speciality in our central region.
3. If people are on a detox how do you ‘protect’ them from the lovely food /alcohol that is available at your resort?
Firstly, for guests on regular meals, we incorporate a lot of healthier or alternative choices as part of our regular buffets or menus. We aim to make these dishes so delicious, that guests choose this of their own accord and not feel healthy is boring.
“We respect and cater for all modern lifestyle choices as our way of life in the kitchen,” says Kate Gerrard, who is our Consulting Chef on our spa cuisine. “We do not “protect” the guest from the other food and alcohol but support and guide the guest in their choices. In order for lifestyle to changes to occur the guest has to take an active part in their wellness decisions or it will remain a quick fix with no lasting impact”
Our wellness programs have 3 levels that are designed to assist personal lifestyle changes and use an 80/20 philosophy to support comfortable and sustainable positive lifestyle changes with awareness, guided integration and inclusive wellness therapies.
- 80% plant-based, 20% protein
- 80% vegan, 20% raw
- 80% juice, 20% raw
We also provide the guest with support and guidance and flexibility to enjoy their meals in an environment of their choice where they are comfortable to honour their decisions - whether in restaurants, quietly at the poolside, or privately in the room.
4. You promote your surroundings as another reason for staying at TIA Wellness Resort. What would be your personal favourites?
TIA Wellness Resort is located on a beautiful stretch of beach, you can walk for miles! We are located between 3 heritage sites – the Imperial city of Hue, Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary.
No visit to our area is complete without visiting Hoi An. Take photographs in the lantern-lit lanes, stop off at the charming local coffee shops and enjoy a Vietnamese coffee or take a bicycle into the rice fields to see daily life.
Our favourite is visiting the Lady Buddha and enjoying a guided meditation overlooking the Da Nang bay or doing tai chi on Marble Mountain and exploring all corners to get a 360-degree overview of Da Nang.