The global culinary scene is experiencing major changes. We speak with two Michelin-Star Chef Andrew Wong for insights on his food philosophy, latest culinary trends, food tourism and signature creations at The Oberoi, New Delhi’s Baoshuan where he is the mentor chef.
Is there a food philosophy you live by? If yes, how has it transformed your perception of the culinary world?
Eating is very much about sharing, affinity and commensality. The ultimate purpose of food is to be delicious. But it is equally important for food to tell a story. What we strive to achieve at both our restaurants, A. Wong in London and Baoshuan in New Delhi is for every mouthful to be reminiscent of China’s glorious history, offer fine texture, reflect the techniques and be a burst of fresh flavours. Each bite must encapsulate the unique story that diners deserve to discover.
Trends that are shaping the food scene globally?
I in fact don’t follow food trends. Not because I feel they are not important. They are massively important. The one thing that I always maintain and have learnt is humility, care and luxury- all these three things are timeless. When I say luxury, I don’t mean caviar and gold, but what I mean is the offering of a world-class experience. And that can be achieved only through people, care and heartfelt hospitality. Regardless of time or social circumstances or even at the pinnacle of global disruption, there will be a place in the world where people will get looked after. This is the sentiment with which we work at our restaurants and I hope that guests feel it when they come to dine with us.
Furthermore, with health and immunity being in vogue I must share that Chinese food is inherently light and healthy. Several Chinese cooking concepts and recipes recorded through research have shown that they were medicinal carrying various healing properties. The use of fermented pastes, pickles, salted and dried vegetables are not purely for favour, these help in digestion as well. The combination of spices such as star anise, ginger, green onions and sesame carry abundant health benefits. The seasoning for the food too is kept minimal yet flavoursome.
Your views on food tourism amidst these changing times.
Food tourism, when seen through the lens of the changing times, is also about celebrating new dishes, good food and good times with people you love. Our menus encourage you to explore an assortment of different specialities and make certain that you can sample a multitude of things from the table as you dine; encompassing a variety of sweet, spicy, hot, cold, crunchy and glutinous elements.
For instance, China has over 3,000 years of gastronomic history and is one of the most loved cuisines internationally. The versatility of the cuisine allows different regions across the world to embrace it in their own ways. With the adaptability and the wide-ranging flavour profiles it offers, Chinese food has possibly travelled the best and the most across the world. For example, both our restaurants, offer food that is not just limited to Cantonese or Sichuan but is handpicked from over 14 provinces of China.
Your signature dishes are?
Our concept encourages guests to step out of their comfort zones and try new specialities that balance the ethos of the restaurant with the tastes and preferences of guests.
The steamed Shanghai chicken dumpling is injected with ginger-infused vinegar and offers a burst of flavours when one bites in, the Guangdong style prawns celebrate regional flavours from this province, the thinly sliced lamb made in Yunnan style or the Peking Duck, London 1960, all of them are signature recipes.
Tell us about some of your upcoming culinary projects.
I just want to focus on developing new experiences that will depict a better future, that will move away from the past year and symbolise moving into a year of more love and more happiness, hopefully, more prosperity.
Image credit: The Oberoi, New Delhi