When the guests were gone, Roth was delighted but relentless. That night the chefs had homework to do.
"I knew after the luncheon that they understood the whole concept of what I was trying to teach. So I asked each of them to come in the next morning with an original recipe."
The results were more than gratifying to Roth and some have already made their debut on hotel menus: chicken curry and cauliflower with coriander soups; turkey and orange and tuna vinaigrette salads; a chicken terrine cooked in red and green peppers, chicken braised in vegetable and orange sauce, chicken breast in melon and curry sauce, poached fish with mango sauce, steamed snapper with yogurt-horseradish sauce, chicken patties with onion and mustard sauce; apricot-peach chiffon pie, quark cheese strudel, brown rice pudding with pear and banana mousse.
Roth spent another 10 days working with the group in Hong Kong then two weeks in Singapore and one week in Peking with two more groups of chefs, adapting menus and recipes to the available ingredients in each chef's locale.
By the end of the trip, Roth had met with 19 chefs from 10 hotels in eight different Asian cities. They represented more than six different nationalities including, a chef from New Orleans, LeRoy Thomas, executive sous- chef at the Park-View Holiday Inn scheduled to open June 1 in Singapore.
"We were very happy to see each other," Roth remembered.
Roth says each of the six hotels that have already implemented the "gourmet health" menu selections (the rest will start before summer) are reporting serving from 60 to 100 of the meals each day. And, she says, they are getting repeat customers and local business people who are ordering from the menu.
As it turned out, Roth didn't need to pack those jars of spices in her suitcase. All she needed was her knowledge about how to cook deliciously without sugar, salt and fat, her talent for developing recipes with "what's left" and what's available and her knack for teaching experienced chefs a new way to cook -- and eat.
"Three of the chefs began following the regime in my book when I arrived and when I left they all reported feeling better than usual," Roth said. "As skeptical as the chefs were before I came, they were enthusiastic when I left."