Home » News » Features » Face to Face With
Face to Face With
Thursday, 09 December 2010
Age: 37 years
Home town, country: Hong Kong
Current position: Lecturer of Food Production at Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Chai Wan), Chairman of Hong Kong Young Chefs Club, 1st Vice President (Communications) of Hong Kong Chefs Association
Q1. Give us a brief history of your career and what made you choose to be a chef.
I started cooking at a very early age, but tried many different career paths before deciding to be a chef. I love being a chef because you can never know everything about food or cooking. There’s always opportunity to grow and learn. I have studied culinary arts both in Hong Kong and the United States, and have had the chance to work in some of the finest hotels and restaurants, with some of the greatest chefs in the world.
Q2. Who was the person that was most influential in your career?
There are a number of people who have influenced me in my career path. My great-aunt Olga first taught me how to make roux. My uncle Chang showed me the beauty of the fine art of patisserie. Great chefs such as Alain Passard and Magnus Ek taught me to respect ingredients and how get the most out of them.
Q3. What is your culinary philosophy and has it changed throughout your career and why?
A wise man once said “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.” Never assume. There is always a better way to do things, always room to grow and improve. Learn and respect the classics, but don’t get tied down to old ways of thinking. Don’t reject them out of hand, but take the best aspects from everything, everywhere and use it to evolve your own cuisine.
Q4. In your opinion, what are the qualities that make a successful chef?
A successful chef is many things, more than just someone who cooks. A leader, a manager, a teacher and also a student. A perfectionist. You have to be open-minded, but also be able to make decisions and move on. Being a good leader is especially important for a chef. You can’t do everything yourself, so you have to be able to grow your own team, recognize and cultivate talent in others, and also inspire them.
Q5. The eternal question: apprenticeship vs schooling. Your take on that and why?
If it were possible to do both, I would say go for it. I believe apprenticeships are incredibly valuable for the ‘real world’ experience, but also too focused sometimes. You can only see and learn and be exposed to that one place’s way of doing things. Schooling can give you a broader perspective and encourages you to ask questions, but you don’t get as much hands-on experience. And you have to know when to quit studying and start doing.
Q6. What was the moment you are most proud of in your career?
When the Hong Kong Young Chefs Club was first formed. At that moment, I felt like I was starting to give back something to our profession, helping to prepare the next generation of chefs by giving them something to be part of, bigger than themselves.
Q7. What is your weakness that proved to be your strength in the course of your career?
I like to play games and read books in my free time (what there is anyway). It can distract me from work if I’m not careful, but I’ve found that some games help teach you to work against the clock. Ever notice how the role of an aboyeur, organizing food orders to distribute to each kitchen section as they come in is not unlike playing a game of Tetris?
Q8. What would you like to be remembered for?
Making a difference in the people I work with, the students I teach. Also, if the Hong Kong Young Chefs Club outlasts me, I’ll die happy.
Q9. Is there anything you would not eat or try?
Not really. You should try everything at least once. Well, perhaps nothing on the endangered species list.
Q10. What are you dreams and goals that are yet to be accomplished?
I would like to see a dedicated degree-level culinary arts program on offer in Hong Kong. It’s supposed to be one of the major culinary centres of the world, but most programs we have here are only about a year in length, or tie in other unrelated topics like hotel management or tourism. Also, if I had a chance to open a restaurant of my own, I’d like to have two Michelin stars please. I hope I’m not being greedy!
Q11. What is the question you would like to add to this interview and why? And what is your answer to that question?
What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in becoming a chef? I get asked this a lot, and I try to answer as honestly and objectively as I can.
- Face to Face With, Yau Kok Kheong, Malaysia added 15 April 2013
- Face to Face With, Amba Thungavelu, Mauritius added 15 March 2013
- Face to Face With, , Macedonia added 15 February 2013
- Face to Face With, Manisha Bhasin, India added 14 January 2013
- Face to Face With, Chris Sandford, Ireland added 12 December 2012
- Face to Face With, Lars Charas, WACS added 14 November 2012
- Face to Face With, Jonathan Garrett, Canada added 16 October 2012
- Face to Face With, Kimberly Brock Brown, U.S.A added 10 September 2012
- Face to Face With, Jasper Jek, Singapore added 23 August 2012
- Face to Face With, Michelle Da Silva, South Africa added 11 July 2012
- Face to Face With, Sarah Kymbrekos, Vanuatu added 12 June 2012
- Face to Face With, Gary Miller, New Zealand added 15 May 2012
- Face to Face With, CARMELA DRAGOMIR, Romania added 11 April 2012
- Face to Face With, Nam Chun-Hwa, South Korea added 09 March 2012
- Face to Face With, Rick Stephen, Singapore added 08 February 2012
- Face to Face With, Charles Carroll, U.S.A added 16 January 2012
- Face to Face With, Tarek Mouriess, United Arab Emirates added 15 December 2011
- Face to Face With, Willment Leong, Thailand added 10 November 2011
- Face to Face With, Chern Chee Hoong, Malaysia added 30 September 2011
- Face to Face With, Miroslav Kubec, Czech Republic added 06 September 2011
- Face to Face With, Ewa Olejniczak, Poland added 16 August 2011
- Face to Face With, Terence Michael Woolcock, England added 08 July 2011
- Face to Face With, Ivanna Barbieri, Italy added 01 June 2011
- Face to Face With, Paulino Schembri, Malta added 01 May 2011
- Face to Face With, Thomas Gugler, Saudi Arabia added 04 April 2011
- Charles Carroll, Charles Carroll, U.S.A added 09 March 2011
- Face to Face With, Laurent Hartmann, WACS added 07 March 2011
- Face to Face With, Mougam Pareatumbee( Mootoosamy), Mauritius added 16 February 2011
- Face to Face With, UWE MICHEEL, United Arab Emirates added 31 January 2011
- Face to Face With, Yelena Machshinskaya, Kazakhstan added 09 November 2010
- Face to Face With, Bernhard F. Zorn, Germany added 20 October 2010
- Face to Face With, Rosemarie Kronister, Austria added 16 September 2010
- The World of Fruit and Vegetable Carving, Laurent Hartmann, France added 13 July 2010
- The first "master chef" In Asia Pacific, Bocuse D'or Asia 2010, Pastry world cup Asia and many others, are proof of our hard work as the Chef Association of Malaysia, Federico Michieletto, Malaysia added 03 June 2010
- Women in WACS Initiative Is Gaining Womentum, Susanne V. Metz, U.S.A added 04 May 2010
- Drugs and more, Glenn Austin, Australia added 06 April 2010
- Strengthening WACS and its members, Louis Perrotte, U.S.A added 06 March 2010
- Consistent Support to Further Expansion and Education, Miroslav Kubec, Czech Republic added 09 February 2010
- Good Leadership, Bill Gallagher, South Africa added 11 January 2010
- Message from President of the Association of German Chefs e. V., Axel Ruehmann, Germany added 02 December 2009
- Let's Work for the Future of WACS!, Jacqueline Rodriguez, Chile added 29 October 2009
- Bringing WACS Closer to Young Chefs, Carlo Sauber, Luxembourg added 08 October 2009
- Rethink Traditions and Look into the Future, Ragnar Fridriksson, France added 01 September 2009
- Message from Iceland, Alfred Omar Alfredsson, Iceland added 30 July 2009
- WACS Global Master Chef, Reinhold Metz, Germany added 29 July 2009
- News Update June 2009 Asia, John Sloane, Singapore added 02 July 2009
- New Board in Abaga Brazil, João Leme, Brazil added 02 July 2009
- Message from Honorary Life President, Bill Gallagher, South Africa added 01 June 2009
- Message from Cyprus, Yiannakis A. Agapiou, Cyprus added 01 June 2009
- La gastronomia profesional em Am, Jorge E. Monti de Valsassina, Brazil added 29 April 2009
- Skills Kitchen Introduction, Martin Kobald, South Africa added 29 April 2009
- A Short Report from the Swedish Chefs Association - March 2009, Peter Wilbois, Sweden added 17 March 2009
- Message from President Czech Chefs, Mr. Moroslav Kubec, Czech Republic added 14 February 2009
- WACS, a different point of view, Glenn Austin, Australia added 11 February 2009
- Message from Life President, Bill Gallagher, South Africa added 16 January 2009
- Indian Gastronomy, Manjit S. Gill, India added 15 January 2009
- WACS Christmas Message, Edwin W. Johnson HAAC, Bahamas added 10 December 2008
- Message from Continental Director Asia, John Sloane, Singapore added 10 December 2008
- Message from Presidium Vice President, Hilmar B. Jonsson CMC, Iceland added 19 November 2008
- For The First Time, Euda Lisseth Morales, Guatemala added 17 November 2008
- Message from Christopher Gallaga, Hong Kong Chefs Association, Christopher Gallaga, Hong Kong added 20 October 2008
- Message from Executive Director Egyptian Chefs Association, Mirjam van IJssel, Egypt added 23 September 2008
- WACS celebrates 80 years of success, Norbert Schmidiger, Switzerland added 23 September 2008
- Message from Continental Director South Europe, Srecko Koklic, Slovenia added 25 August 2008
- Message from France, Patrice Trincali, France added 25 August 2008
- Message from WACS General Secretary, Helgi Einarsson, Iceland added 23 July 2008
- Vanuatu Chefs and Foodhandlers Association, Grant Johnston, Vanuatu added 14 July 2008
- Message from Continental Director Africa / Middle East, Arnold Tanzer, South Africa added 16 June 2008
- Message from Robert Hartelman, assistant of Toine Smulders, Robert Hartelman, Netherlands added 16 June 2008
- Message from Continental Director Northern Europe, Brendan O'Neill, Ireland added 27 May 2008
- A message from Canada, Judson W. Simpson, CCC, Canada added 23 May 2008