Jamie Ndah talks to TV Chef and Cookery Author Ching He Huang and discusses the importance of a good Wok in the kitchen, luxury travel destinations, Dolce & Gabbana phone cases and how to turn a good Stir Fry dish into a great one.
LM: When did you know you wanted to become a chef and where did your culinary journey begin?
CHH: I had to cook from a young age when I was 11 years old and after University, I set up Fuge Ltd. It was a small food production company and while I was doing that I fell into TV cooking and that’s where it all began.
LM: Where did you study?
CHH: I studied Economics at Queen Mary Westfield London
LM: What was your first job?
CHH: I worked at Next in Brent Cross Shopping Centre when I was 15. I was under age but I had to lie about my age saying I was 16, technically it was true because the Chinese count your age from the day you’re in the womb! So, I was *just* over 16 years of age.
LM: What is your personal definition of luxury?
CHH: Having the time and freedom to explore one’s dreams. To me, time is a real luxury.
LM: What luxurious item could you not live without?
CHH: I couldn’t live without my phone and the bling Dolce and Gabbana phone case my husband got for me for Christmas last year. It’s the only bling thing I have when I’m in the kitchen!
LM: You’ve written several best-selling cookbooks and appeared on your extremely popular TV series, Chinese Food Made Easy, Chinese Food in Minutes, Exploring China and Ching’s Amazing Asia. When you are not writing or appearing on TV, what are your favourite pastimes? What do you do to relax?
CHH: I love to potter around and I enjoy walks and swimming. I also love to catch up with friends and family, preferably in person but a lot of them are abroad so I will call and have a good catch up on the phone, especially with my grandpa who is 91!
LM: Your career to date has allowed you to travel extensively. What was your first luxury travel experience and where did it take you?
CHH: The first time I experienced true luxury was when I worked in Hong Kong in 2007. I was flown there together with a photographer for Delicious Magazine. We were flown Business Class on Air New Zealand and put up at the Langham Hotel in Kowloon in Hong Kong. I was sent to write about the Hong Kong food scene. We had a driver and were taken to all the best restaurants. It was heaven for me.
LM: You have a new book called ‘Stir Crazy’ which has 100 deliciously healthy stir-fry recipes on offer. Tell our Luxurious Magazine readers a little more about your book and what was your inspiration behind writing it?
CHH: I think people cook stir fries a few times a week and it can be boring, so I’ve collected all my best stir-fries in one book! Half the book is vegan/vegetarian and what’s great about the book is that you can turn those veggie dishes to meat ones and vice versa!
LM: Stir Fry dishes taste divine and are simple and fun to prepare. In your opinion, what is the difference between a good stir fry and a great stir fry dish?
CHH: A great stir fry is characterised by a vibrant colour, fragrance, aroma and delivers on great taste and texture! The overall dish must look alive with a glossy sheen and not brown, sloppy, burnt or tired!
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