I'd like to preserve the traditional arts of Chinese cooking but also to experiment with new ideas. In the process I always strive for excellence – that's something my guests can rely on.
Leung Yu King
Summer Palace at Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong
Five questions for Leung Yu King
How important is the Cantonese tradition for you in modern cuisine?
Leung Yu King: Tradition is important because, in order to modernise it, you still need to have a solid foundation and knowledge of the cuisine’s origin, as well as the culinary skills, such as handling a cleaver, the wok and many more. In Cantonese cuisine, I like how you can cook up amazing dishes without even having to use any expensive ingredients, as long as you can achieve a fiery wok hei (breath of the wok).
What do you pay attention to when you yourself are a guest at a restaurant?
Leung Yu King: I always pay close attention to the menu; I am in search of any new ingredients the restaurant might be using or any newly created dishes that are interesting. So a visit to a restaurant is always a journey of inspiration for me.
At Island Shangri-La you are also responsible for creating Chinese banquets. How do they appeal to you?
Leung Yu King: It is definitely a different challenge to working in the Summer Palace kitchen, since it is about creating dishes which fit most people’s taste and satisfying the people attending the banquets on behalf of the hosts.
You like visiting local markets. What is it you especially like about them?
Leung Yu King: I get inspirations from fresh ingredients and the wet market is the best place for that. There are also many perks of frequenting the market, one being that the market vendors will reserve the special catch of the day for me.
If you were a spice or a herb, what would it be and why?
Leung Yu King: Dried mandarin peel gets better with age, which reflects my philosophy when working as a chef. Also, dried mandarin peel is known to balance out any cold or hot chi in cooking, which is similar to how I’d like to maintain a peaceful and balanced working environment in the kitchen.