Paid PostPosted on Nov 10, 2016Asian-American Chefs Talk About How Food Has Shaped Their LivesTry not to get hungry.by Toyota CorollaBrand PublisherFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink Chef Melissa King chefmelissaking.com / Via @chefmelissaking What inspired you to start cooking?Growing up, cooking was a necessity. Both my parents worked long hours and I wanted to help alleviate their work load once they got home. I started teaching myself how to cook by trailing my mom as she prepared dinner. It made me happy to help out my family, and also to have the opportunity to create.Was there any specific dish that made you want to become a chef?My interest in cooking began when I was about 5 years old. It started with learning simple home-style Chinese dishes from my mom. I had learned how to make dishes like steamed whole fish with scallion and ginger, ginseng chicken broth, and soy sauce chicken. I knew then that I loved cooking and wanted to be a chef.What was your favorite thing to eat as a child?I loved making and eating dumplings. Dumplings require a lot of energy when feeding a large group—I have memories of family and friends gathered around a large round table hand wrapping dumplings during the holidays. I enjoyed the teamwork and sense of camaraderie behind it. It was always rewarding to finally sit down after a long day of dumpling making to enjoy our efforts.How has food changed your life for the better?Food is my love language. It has given me an outlet to express myself and connect with people. It’s also allowed me to travel the world and experience new cultures through the lens of food.How has your cooking affected your community and the people around you?I use food as a way to express my background, my emotions, and my experiences. When someone tastes my food, I hope to pass on a little part of me -- where I’ve been, who I am, and what I believe in. What misconceptions do you think people have about cooking?I think a common misconception that people have is that if there’s a woman in a kitchen, she must be the pastry chef – I’ve been mistaken for a pastry chef at a restaurant when I was actually the in-house butcher. I know many female chefs that are bad-ass butchers, hunters, and meat cooks, and many men that can change your life with their desserts. Savory and sweet cooking require very different skill sets, and any gender can excel in either role.What's your guilty pleasure?My guilty pleasure is grilled sourdough bread rubbed with garlic then slathered with a whole avocado, sea salt, and some good olive oil.Chef Melissa King has trained under several Michelin-star and James Beard-recognized chefs, and was a finalist on Top Chef. You can follow her @ChefMelissaKing or check out chefmelissaking.com Chef Tin Vuong Blackhouse Hospitality Group What inspired you to start cooking?My grandparents made me want to turn cooking into a profession. They've inspired me since day one.Was there any specific dish that made you want to become a chef?Hainam Gai Fan.What was your favorite thing to eat as a child?Dim Sum.How has food changed your life for the better?Food has inspired me to channel my passion into a business.How has your cooking affected your community and the people around you?Well, whenever I get invited to parties, gatherings, barbecues, dinners -- really any food related function -- I'm always asked to cook! And of course, I don't mind.What misconceptions do you think people have about cooking?For working chefs like myself, it is a thankless and tiresome job that is now being glorified as being so much fun. And it's definitely fun, but it's extremely hard work just like anything else.What's your guilty pleasure?Yoshinoya Beef Bowl.Chef Tin Vuong is chef-partner of Blackhouse Hospitality, guiding the menus of Little Sister restaurants in Manhattan Beach and Downtown LA, Wildcraft in Culver City, Día de Campo in Hermosa Beach, and Steak and Whisky in Hermosa Beach. Chef Katsuji Tanabe Instagram: @https://www.instagram.com/katsujitanabe/?hl=en What inspired you to start cooking?I love the primal nature of cooking. It all goes back to fire and watching it transform our food. My inspiration was everyone I grew up with who taught me how to cook.Was there any specific dish that made you want to become a chef?Growing up, in my house it was tradition to have Paella on Sundays. Watching this dish being made and learning to make it taught me about layering flavor and bringing it all together, and it inspired me to experiment with food and ultimately become a chef.What was your favorite thing to eat as a child?I always loved Sashimi . It was exotic for us in Mexico so when I got good grades my dad would take me for that delicious thinly sliced sashimi with ponzu.How has food changed your life for the better?Food has truly done everything for me. Thanks to cooking, I was able to build a family and a home and have a savings account! I can't see myself doing anything that doesn't involve chopped garlic in some form. I've had some hard times but cooking has always been good to me.How has your cooking affected your community and the people around you?Before my restaurants, many people who keep Kosher had never tried Mexican food and flavors. I love to see peoples faces light up and get excited from the new flavors they experience. I worked in a Kosher restaurant in LA before opening Mexikosher, and working there taught me a lot. I am very happy to be able to give back to that community through my food.What misconceptions do you think people have about cooking?I think people over complicate cooking. It doesn't have to be complex -- keep it simple!What's your guilty pleasure?A really greasy street corner taco in Mexico City.Chef Katsuji Tanabe was born in Mexico to a Japanese father and a Mexican mother. After competing in season 12 of Top Chef, he opened MexiKosher, the first authentic Kosher Mexican restaurant in LA with another location in New York City's Upper West side. Chef Perry Cheung Instagram: @phoragela What inspired you to start cooking?I wanted a talent I could take anywhere in the world, where language is no barrier, and cooking popped up. Though my mom is my main inspiration to cook. Growing up it didn't matter how busy her day was -- she would still manage to come home and pull everyone into the dinner table and cook dinner.Was there any specific dish that made you want to become a chef?Pasta. I loved making different sauces. I was infatuated with bolognese.What was your favorite thing to eat as a child?Growing up in Brooklyn I'd have to say pizza! It's one of those nostalgic foods that takes me back to walking home after school and stopping by the neighborhood pizza parlor for a slice.How has food changed your life for the better?Food just makes everything more interesting. Everyone always has questions for a chef. Makes me feel like a magician at times.How has your cooking affected your community and the people around you?Food has affected people around me in the most positive way. I can always connect back to a dinner I cooked or they cooked. For my community, throughout the year I do a lot of events that support schools, local charities, and foundations. My most recent event was for CPAF (Center for Pacific Asian Families), which supports women and children who fall victim to domestic violence.What misconceptions do you think people have about cooking?Some misconceptions people have about cooking is that its easy to open a restaurant produce a dish efficient enough for production as well as profitable.I tend to avoid conversations when people are so quick to criticize and have a "what if you do this" conversation.What's your guilty pleasure?Fast food and fried chicken. Being a chef you have weird eating habits. At any given time I have a freezer full of fried mozzarella sticks and tater tots.Chef Perry Cheung has appeared on Beat Bobby Flay and is the owner of a Vietnamese restaurant in Los Angeles called Phorage. Andrew Wong + Andrew Chiu Gaelen Casey Photography #gaelencaseyphotography / Via Instagram: @gpixthis What inspired you to start cooking?Both of us spent a considerable amount of time practicing architecture in Asia (Beijing/Hong Kong) back in the 1990's and we had an amazing time. The food and drinks were so memorable and we really felt that kind of experience was missing in the US. We're actually not into cooking as much as we are experimenting with food and drinks. We love taking Chinese culinary traditions and presenting them in a new light.What was your favorite thing to eat as a child?AW: In retrospect, home cooked was the best. My parents made everything from scratch, especially in maintaining the Cantonese tradition of slow cooking all kinds of soup including shark fin soup!AC: Early childhood memories of Taipei, Taiwan are all about street food - I loved the steamed pork blood cake on a stick, Shanghainese stinky tofu, and fresh passion fruit juice. Every time I go back to Taiwan those are still the go-to.How has food changed your life for the better?Food has always brought us closer together, not only to each other but to our families as well. Food has always been closely tied to a sense of community.How has your cooking affected your community and the people around you?Everyone loves to come together and share a good meal. By creating a place for people to enjoy good food with one another, we know we're doing something meaningful and lasting.What misconceptions do you think people have about cooking?That only Chinese restaurants are guilty of using MSG.What's your guilty pleasure?Even though Peking Tavern doesn't use it, both of us love MSG. No, we're not talking about just the umami flavor but we're talking about MSG. This is why our normal late-night craving (after drinking) is always instant noodles. Those flavor packets...!Andrew Wong and Andrew Chiu are friends and businessmen who started Peking Tavern in Downtown LA -- a Chinese gastropub serving up authentic Beijing street food. Tell us about how food shapes your life in the comments below!The all new Toyota Corolla is bringing creative communities together in 2017, helping all artists discover what success means today.