BRIAN WONG, 35 WAN HAO CHI­NESE RESTAU­RANT

Wine & Dine - - SINGAPORE’S TOP RESTAURANTS ISSUE FEATURE -

Chef Brian Wong was greatly in­spired by his fa­ther, a chef. As a child, he would help at his fa­ther’s restau­rant—the now de­funct Lido Beach Seafood in Jo­hor Bahru—and spend his days sur­rounded by his fa­ther’s friends, also chefs. Little won­der that he started cooking as young as nine and never looked back. He set a tar­get for him­self to reach ex­ec­u­tive chef by 40 years old, but man­aged to do so by 33 when he joined Singapore Mar­riott Tang Plaza Ho­tel as ex­ec­u­tive Chi­nese chef in 2015.

He feels that the 20s to early 30s is a prime age for chefs be­cause they have the en­ergy and the drive to try new tech­niques and prove them­selves. But in his view, it takes a longer time for chefs to master Chi­nese cui­sine due to its com­plex­ity and the nu­mer­ous tech­niques in­volved.

At Wan Hao, chef Wong en­joys adding a mod­ern twist to tra­di­tional Can­tonese flavours, as seen in his new dish of braised Ibérico pork with Chi­nese sausage and yam. Typ­i­cally, this tra­di­tional Can­tonese dish uses chicken or duck; but he uses Ibérico pork in­stead as the meat is tastier and more ten­der. He be­lieves a slight tweak like this would in­ten­sify the sweet and smoky flavours of the dish im­mensely. Chef Wong has also been ex­per­i­ment­ing with white pep­per sauce, rather than the more com­mon black pep­per sauce, to pair with garoupa fish. "It adds a fiery kick that is com­fort­ingly ad­dic­tive but not be­ing overly spicy for guests,” he says.

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