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‘The first times I had any moving culinary experiences were with the family. My aunts were constantly in the kitchens. I started to cook for my mother at the age of 10. I would spend my weekends (re-) reading recipe books, making pastries, always for my nearest and dearest… My vocation as a chef was born and also my desire to share this with my family. An all-consuming passion. Very quickly France entered my sights and I went there to train. First of all, I followed classes at the Ferrandi School in Paris, and then I had a number of job placements, particularly with Pierre Hermé and at Les Ambassadeurs at the Crillon… That left an indelible mark on me. As did my other experience at The French Laundry in California. Another place, other customs, but the same efficiency, attention to detail and pursuit of excellence. And this was the learning that I was able to bring to recreating my modern French cuisine. A gastronomy founded on French expertise and its quest for perfection, and yet informed by my own culture. Asian ingredients and the constant pursuit of a balance between sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami complement a blend of delicate and sensual dishes.’
My favorite vegetable is tongho, garland chrysanthemum leaves. The variety that we find in Taiwan has larger leaves and a finer texture than those grown in Japan. It holds a lot of water, so it shrinks a lot as it cooks. I like to cook it simply, in a stew, chicken broth or fish soup.
We get most of our vegetables and herbs from farms in Nanto, a mountainous region in the middle of the island of Taiwan. Some specific products, like bamboo shoots, need a very warm, wet climate, so we have to adapt, changing suppliers depending on the weather.