Broad perspective gives drive to succeed
Not everyone can say they’ve cooked for the president of the United States, but Anthony Hoy Fong can.
The Chinese New Zealander started his career as an IBM consultant in Wellington but gave up corporate life to start a Fruit World franchise with his parents in Silverdale.
Hoy Fong moved to New York to study a nine-month programme at the French Culinary Institute a few years later.
‘‘It was like a dream come true to be on the path to becoming a chef and doing it in New York City,’’ he says.
‘‘I was on top of the world. I didn’t think about what was going to stop me. I just went after it.’’
That same attitude saw him land a job with his personal hero, chef Daniel Boulud, and his career skyrocketed.
He’s worked for some of New York’s best chefs; been a chef consultant for the West Wing of the White House and helped open eight restaurants United States.
He puts his success down to his unusual perspective.
‘‘Growing up in New Zealand and being Chinese allows me to see things differently to others.’’
The 36-year-old says there were only a couple of other Asians in his school class in Mt Roskill during the 1980s.
It was the same when the family moved to Epsom so the children could attend the grammar schools.
But he always felt comfortable living between two cultures. ‘‘We held on to all the Chinese customs and celebrated all the Chinese holidays in our household but we were third generation Kiwis. We had the best of both worlds.’’
Food was always a big part of family gatherings.
‘‘Everyone loved cooking together and I was surrounded by really good food. I used to love to get in there, try everything and change stuff. I knew one day I would be able to be a chef.’’