The Hong Kong Tourism Board hosted a June 13 Pop Up Media Luncheon in Los Angeles on the Lukshon patio, showcasing the talents of Hong Kong based chefs Cheng Kam Fu (Celebrity Cuisine), Mango Tsang (Ming Court) and Mak Kwai Pui (Tim Ho Wan), plus two courses from host chef Sang Yoon. I learned more about Mak Kwai Pui after the luncheon with assistance from a Cantonese translator. He previously worked as head dim sum chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, helping Lung King Hin earn Three Michelin Stars. He left to open Tim Ho Wan, delivering premium dim sum and what’s regarded at the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. Here are some additional insights.
Did you always plan to become a chef, or did you consider other careers?
It’s not my choice. My family, my father, my uncle, everyone in my family works for the dining industry, so I didn’t have a choice.
What is the criteria for a dish that goes on your menu?
My criteria is classical dim sum. I don’t care if it’s pork or beef. The most important is if I include the traditional methods of dim sum cooking.
What was the most recent dish you created, and what was the inspiration?
I just designed a series of fruit that goes with dim sum, which is tailor made for this coming summer. Fruit is very seasonal, and I can bring seasonal fruit to traditional dim sum. Lychee will be fresh in summer in Hong Kong, so I’m using lychee to do the dim sum.
Is there anything you don’t enjoy eating?
I eat everything. I like it or do not like it, but I eat everything.
When people hear your name, what do you want them to think?
A strong man, a gambler and a drunk man…No, it will be dim sum king.
What was the last meal that you cooked at home?
I can’t even remember the last time I cooked at home, but I’m not allowed in the kitchen at home because I make the kitchen very messy.
What steps do you take to have balance in your life?
Work hard, play hard.