When it comes up to our expectations, we nod with approval and get on with the rest of the dish. If it falls below the expectations of the gods in heaven because you have been getting wet dreams at the thought of that dish (picture foie gras and melting wagyu beef), you curse the hell out of the chef because you paid a bomb for nothing.
To learn how they cope with such stress and maybe appreciate this group of people, i took the opportunity via Foodstreet to meet up with the Executive Chef of Ee Cuisine to have a few words. To be honest, i had jotted questions down in English to only realise that he wasn't exactly very well versed in the Queen's English. Cantonese yes, but if you ask me to translate those questions i had in mind and be the active one in the conversation; that, was a tough one. At that point, i wonder if i can survive in Hong Kong with my half past six cantonese.
So like a cat talking to a dog, with the dog shaking his head due to the complex language spoken by the cat, i managed to come up with an interview. Enjoy, while my stupid internet connection tries to wake up from its slumber dream and actually start uploading my pictures.
One or two minor details have yet to be confirmed with the PR Manager and yes, take note, this is the journalist in me, proper sentence structure and a typical article to prove i can write.
My experiences with chefs are almost non-existent. At most during on a quiet dinner, they may come out to ask how the food was, shake my hand and they whizz off to the kitchen. How they inspire themselves to come out with such a culinary experience or how they think, was something that i would always like to know but have never got to known.
So to be shaking hands with Chef Woo Chee Mun and having the chance to chat with him and getting to know him a little bit better, was a chance of a lifetime.
Chef Woo Chee Mun or as he prefers to be called Chef Mun, is a man of few words but possesses a mind that is constantly full of ideas for his new dishes to excite his customers’ palate.
Having worked for over 25 years as a Chef and as one of the pioneer chefs at Ee Cuisine when it first opened doors 10 years ago, Chef Mun is certainly not short on experience.
Chef Mun first started off his career in Malaysia under guidance of a Hong Kong chef before his cooking journey took him to Hong Kong for training and Singapore to gain experience before being handpicked to take on the role of Head Chef of Ee Cuisine.
Ever since taking helm of Ee Cuisine, Chef Mun has been enjoying himself as he constantly faces the challenge to think on his feet to come up with new dishes to vow and impress. So how does he do it so naturally all these years?
As he explains, one of his inspirations is going back to the roots of Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine and tweaking the subtle flavours to suit the spicier and stronger palates of the local crowd.
“As we all know, Hong Kong flavours are subtle and to some, bland. Malaysian fellows like us eat chilli like tomorrow, so i have to strike a balance between authenticity and suiting what Malaysians eat.
When asked what he likes to eat, the answer is heading back to basic and simple dishes. This angle has given him inspiration to creating new dishes by trying to present it with a twist. Not only limiting himself to Cantonese cuisine, his free time has taken him to try out places of different cuisine based on his friend’s recommendations, reading recipe books and magazines before heading back to his kitchen to experiment with different flavours and techniques.
Given the trend of fusion cuisine and mixing western and eastern ingredients together, his adapting and creativity skills is evident from their rotating dim sum menu which boasts items like a bacon wrapped steamed prawn dumpling with a tangy BBQ influenced sauce to one of his best selling signature dish in 2003; the oven baked pork ribs with tong kwai.
A proud man of all his creations, it is almost impossible to single out his favourite creation over the 10 years and as such Ee Cuisine has made available their best selling dish from 1998-2008 to celebrate Eastin 10th anniversary ranging from Peking Duck to Marble Goby Fish head Vermicelli Soup.
At the moment, he seats proud with his Gui Fei Chicken named after the famous China Beauty; Yang Gui Fei. If the dish is already looking this good, one can only imagine how good looking Yang Gui Fei would have been those days.