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Shortlist announced – 2023 Yan-Kit So Award for Food Writers on Asia

9th August 2023


The Oxford Cultural Collective is proud to offer the biennial Yan-Kit So Award, which enables aspiring food writers to fulfil their dreams to research, travel and create original work about any aspect of Asian food.


The award honours the legacy of Yan-Kit So (1933-2001), one of the most acclaimed writers on Chinese food. A passionate promoter of Asian food, her first book, The Classic Chinese Cookbook, won an André Simon Award and a Glenfiddich Food and Drink Award. Her seminal work, Classical Food of China, made a major contribution to the understanding of Chinese regional food cultures.

The winner will receive a grant of up to £2500 to support travel and research costs associated with writing and publishing their first food-focused book.

The winner of the 2023 Yan-Kit So Award for Food Writers on Asia will be announced towards the end of September 2023.


Shortlisted candidates for 2023 (from top left) – Ranie Saidi, Shifali Mudumba, Ishita Dasgupta, Amy Lo, Archana Ambily and Lauren Bradshaw

The shortlisted candidates are:

Ranie Saidi, lifestyle marketer and recipe creator, who aims to explore the rich history, diverse influences and unique flavors of Malay cuisine.

Shifali Mudumba, born in India and raised in Australia, now living in the UK, intends to write a book that celebrates the heritage South Indian vegetarian and vegan cuisine.

Ishita Dasgupta, consultant physician working for the NHS in Bristol, is planning a book that explores the diverse culinary heritage of Kolkata.

Amy Lo, freelance journalist, will write a book focused on Chinese and British influences on contemporary Cantonese cuisine.

Archana Ambily, pharmaceutical scientist, is planning a book that explores the incluence of immigrants from Kerala, India, on British society, revealed through food.

Lauren Bradshaw, originally a primary school teacher, is writing a cookbook for children focused on Balinese food and culture.


Judging panel – Fuchsia Dunlop, Romy Gill, Bee Wilson, Paul Bloomfield, Carol Michaelson and Donald Sloan

The members of the judging panel for the 2023 Yan-Kit So Memorial Award for Food Writers on Asia are:

Fuchsia Dunlop, cook, food writer and broadcaster.

Romy Gill, chef, food writer and broadcaster.

Bee Wilson, food writer and investigative journalist.

Paul Bloomfield, chef, corporate and private caterer and Patron of the Oxford Cultural Collective.

Carol Michaelson, curator of Chinese art at the British Museum and freelance curator and writer on Chinese art.

Donald Sloan, Chair of the Oxford Cultural Collective.


The Award is jointly administered by Betty Yao MBE and Freya Aitken-Turff.   The Award was launched in 2008 stemming from an original idea by Betty Yao to commemorate the life and work of her friend Yan-Kit So through her twin passions for food and travel.

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