Daniel Wong’s relentless quest for culinary perfection and his innovative ideas, combined with cooking techniques that allow the natural flavours to shine through, has helped him lead the team at Jin Xuan at The Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai Pudong to achieve one Michelin star status. This is not his first such achievement, having led kitchen teams to recognition in 2009 and 2010.
E: You’ve been fascinated by fine cuisine from a young age, what attracted you to it?
Daniel: I wasn’t very keen on studying, so I quit school at a young age. I thought it was important to equip myself with special skills and techniques to make a living and I happened to have an interest in the culinary world, so I decided to become a chef.
: You quickly attained the position of executive chef early in your career at Lei Garden, what skills do you think are the most important for such a role?
D: Apart from know-how in Chinese cooking, it is also essential to have good people management and organizational and planning skills.
E: You led your previous team to win a Michelin star in 2009 and 2010 and your team at Jin Xuan have been awarded a Michelin star for two consecutive years; what does it take to achieve this?
D: While we are thrilled to attain a Michelin star in the past two years, we continue to pay close attention to maintaining the quality and consistency of the dishes.
E: You’ve been an executive chef for some years now, as well as opening restaurants, what brought you to Jin Xuan?
D: The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong offered me this great opportunity back in 2013. I was excited to take up this challenge as I had always wanted to work for one of the top luxury brand hotels in the world.
E: Now that Jin Xuan has a Michelin star, what are your plans for the coming years?
D: To achieve two stars in the coming years.
E: What is your favourite part about being a chef?
D: It widens my horizons as I have great exposure to a lot of different new things and ideas, such as the benefits of organic ingredients, prized ingredients and, of course, I always have the chance to try good food.
E: Other than your Michelin stars, can you share any memorable moments in your career?
D: I did an outside catering event for 1,500 guests with a short lead time, tight manpower and equipment constraints. The pleasure and satisfaction of being able to pull this off were beyond words.
E: With all your current responsibilities, do you still get much opportunity to cook?
D: My primary responsibility is to ensure the food quality at Jin Xuan restaurant. I still cook a lot in the kitchen, behind the wok, because I simply love it.
E: When you travel you always take in local food markets; do you have a favourite country or ingredients that you’ve discovered doing this?
D: Tsukiji market in Japan – it is where I discovered fresh seafood, fresh fruits and edible organic flowers. The fresh ingredients are very different from those in China.
E: What advice can you give to budding chefs?
D: Haste makes waste. If you are chasing tiny advantages, you are foregoing the larger picture.
Crispy Cereal Lobster, Curry Leaves, Chilli Padi
- 200g baby lobster
- 1 egg
- 2g salt
- 3g curry leaves
- 2g bird’s eye chilli
- 50g cereal
- 15g cornflour
- 5g butter
- Remove the meat from the baby lobster and clean.
- Coat the lobster meat with egg and cornflour.
- Deep-fry in oil at 250C for four minutes until done.
- Melt the butter. Add curry leaves, chilli, lobster meat and cereal.
- Wok-fry the lobster until it is fully coated with cereal.
The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong
8 Century Avenue
Shanghai, 200120 China
T: (+86) 2120201888