First published on 2 Mar 2012. Updated on 10 Sep 2012.
Chef Tsang, we’re told that you describe yourself as a vibrant tiger – can you elaborate on that for us?
I was born in the Year of the Tiger (Chinese Zodiac) and so see myself as a ‘vibrant tiger’ – especially in the kitchen. According to the Chinese Zodiac, Tigers are born to lead, and I love walking through the kitchen’s different sections, guiding my team members through personal demonstrations, and preparing Ming Court’s lunches and dinners with them. It’s something I enjoy much more than administrative work!
I believe I am bold and daring too, just like the tiger, leading and bringing out the best from my team members, and presenting the finest side of Ming Court to my guests.
How would you describe contemporary Cantonese cuisine to someone who knows nothing about it?
We utilise traditional Cantonese cooking methods in the dishes, and contemporary aspect comes from the use of different, non-Cantonese/traditional ingredients from all over the world (such as wagyu beef and black truffle), and also the artistic and meticulous presentation of the dish.
Tell us about your event for the Melbourne festival.
I will be presenting an exclusive Cantonese food and wine pairing dinner similar to what we offer at the two Michelin star Ming Court in Langham Place, Hong Kong – which is the pioneer of Cantonese food and wine pairing in Hong Kong. When we introduced it there, guests were amazed by how well Cantonese food and Western wine accentuates the other’s flavour and aroma.
Are there chefs in Australia doing food that excites you?
I am a huge fan of seafood and I believe Melbourne will be a paradise to me.
If I had to choose one restaurant to visit during my trip, Flower Drum will be my choice, as it’s a world recognised Cantonese fine dining restaurant.
What are your food predictions for China in 2012?
Food trends are quite regional, and for my area (South East Asia), I believe Chinese food and wine pairing will be a major trend which will last for many years. Nowadays, South East Asians have a strong interest in wine appreciation and collection, and some even own their own vineyards and wineries.
When did you have your food epiphany?
It was 20 years ago. At that time I already had more than ten years of experience working in the kitchen learning various Cantonese cooking skills. I met a Chinese chef who taught me how to harmoniously blend all the techniques in Cantonese cooking.
What food trend of the moment do you distrust?
As long as the food is cooked properly with fresh and seasonal ingredients, I believe there’s no trend that I would distrust.
Apparently, the world is going to end in 2012, how do you think it’s going to happen?
I am very optimistic and believe that the world is not going end in 2012.
What would your last meal be?
It definitely will be my mum’s food, always the best, and always touches my heart.
Chef Tsang's dinner will take place at the Langham's Melba Restaurant on Tue Mar 6, 7pm.