Say hello to the dim sum chefs of tomorrow

Say hello to the dim sum chefs of tomorrow

The finalists of the Dim Sum Young Talent Competition 2014 have been named, and YP cadets Julia Cheung and Natasha Lau have been finding out what got them into the kitchen

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The five finalists celebrate their achievement.
The five finalists celebrate their achievement.
Photo: The Peninsula (Hong Kong)

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Dim sum.
Dim sum.
Photo: The Peninsula (Hong Kong)

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Frankie Tang, head chef at Hong Kong Peninsula's Cantonese restaurant Spring Moon (left), with Zhen Jiamin.
Frankie Tang, head chef at Hong Kong Peninsula's Cantonese restaurant Spring Moon (left), with Zhen Jiamin.
Photo: The Peninsula (Hong Kong)

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Florian Trento, executive chef for the Peninsula hotels (right), with contestant Florence Tse
Florian Trento, executive chef for the Peninsula hotels (right), with contestant Florence Tse
Photo: The Peninsula (Hong Kong)

The final five were chosen after a fierce debate between the hotel group's top chefs. The top contenders are: Chiang Kar-on, Kwong Wing-ki, Lee Kam-on, Florence Tse Hing-wing and Zhen Jiamin.

Young Post discovers a little bit more about the top contenders and what got them interested in dim sum.

Chiang Kar-on, 18, Chinese Cuisine Training Institute

As a child, Chiang's mother always made dim sum for him. When he goes out to a restaurant to eat dim sum, he likes to try new dishes and think of ways to recreate the dish at home. He prepared for the dim sum challenge by brainstorming new dumpling-wrapping techniques with his teacher and researching on the internet for inspiration on new ingredient combinations.

Kwong Wing-ki, 23, Modern China Restaurant

It was Kwong's mother who discovered the chef in her. When she was young, she would watch and help her mother cook many types of dim sum - her favourite is red bean bun. She was also one of last year's contestants, but was eliminated in the earlier stages of the competition. She decided to re-enter this year to see whether she had improved.

Lee Kam-on, 20, Chinese Cuisine Training Institute

Lee thinks xiao long bao, a Shanghai-style steamed bun filled with pork, is the most challenging dim sum to make. He says the skin is very delicate and hard to fold, and it's difficult to get the ingredients for the filling exactly right. The filling is a cube of gelatin soup which is solidified, and dissolves during steaming. With such tough competition, there will be no room for error at the final. This is the first cooking competition he has entered and he has been working on perfecting his dumpling-wrapping skills and researching online for presentation ideas and plating inspirations.

Florence Tse Hing-wing, 19, Holy Trinity College

A school teacher gave Tse multiple opportunities to explore the culinary art of dim sum and inspired her to become a chef and start her own cooking school. She entered the first Dim Sum Young Talent Competition hosted by The Peninsula Hotel (Hong Kong) last year, but was forced to withdraw due to a sprained wrist. Still passionate about the profession, she made a comeback this year with hopes of realising her dream, and she was grateful that she was given another chance.

Zhen Jiamin, 18, Guangzhou Vocational School of Training and Business

Given that both of her parents are professional chefs, Zhen has always enjoyed eating and learning culinary techniques for both sweet and savoury delicacies. Her favourite dish, and the one she finds most challenging to make, is shrimp dumpling.

In the ultimate challenge on September 14, the finalists will prepare four dim sum items each. The winner will be able to perfect his/her culinary skills on a two-year apprenticeship programme at The Peninsula hotels as well as take home a cash prize of HK$25,000.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Say hello to the dim sum chefs of tomorrow

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