#goldmedalplates Chefs from across British Columbia will meet in Vancouver on Friday November 16, 2012 at the Vancouver Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships. The winner will move on to compete at the National Championships (Kelowna February 8/9, 2013) I sent them some questions prior to the challenge. Here we dish up Maenam Restaurant’s chef and owner Angus An.
What was your first food memory?
My mom trying to get me to eat broccoli, she made me plant it like a tree on rice.
What was in your elementary school lunch kit?
I got dumplings and fried rice while my friends got p&j sandwiches, people always looked at me funny.
Where did you first learn to cook?
I was in grade one when my mom taught me how to fry an egg….
Did you attend culinary school – if so, where?
French Culinary Institute, (FCI) in soho new york
Where has been your favourite place to work to date and why?
Restaurant Toqué, Normand Laprise believed in freedom in his cooks, and I like to think I benifited from that.
Who in the industry taught you the most?
What is your favourite style of cooking?
Simplistic, minimal. I like the ingredients to speak for themselves
What is your favourite ethnic cuisine?
What ingredient(s) can’t you live without?
Fish sauce, lemons, limes, butter, good EV olive oil
What are the most essential tools for cooking?
Mortar and pestle
Do you have an unforgettable taste combination?
Fish sauce and lime juice.
Ingredient you can’t get enough of?
Ingredient that will never touch your lips?
Cockroaches, I can’t do cockroaches.
What basic recipe/s do you advise for cooking novices to learn as a starting point?
Searing meats at medium heat rather than high, low and slow to get the best result. Constant basing with fat.
What’s your go-to comfort food?
Any soup noodle will do.
What’s your favourite cocktail?
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
All of them!
What’s your definition of a perfect meal?
I much rather a perfectly cooked home meal with some good wine among good friends. Food is meant to share, and encourage company. Too often I eat at Michelin starred restaurants by myself, although the food is good but I much prefer a comfortable home cooked meal at home with good friends and good wines.
What do you always have on hand for last minute entertaining at home?
Bomba rice and my paella pan.
How do you unwind after service?
A drink or two while I watch the golf network.
Most overrated food trend?
No trend is overrated as long as people put the attention and care into what they cook, everything is overrated if they just try to follow a trend or what others are doing.
Favourite culinary destination?
Thailand. I would also like to go to Spain.
Most memorable meal last year?
Some friends of mine and I put together this “Tuscan” dinner a while back. We had 21 L of wine (7 double magnums) for 25 people, 6 course meal with bisteak Florentine, duck ragu parpadelle, ossobuco tortellini with brodo, grilled tuna panzanella, and a whole bunch of canapés.
If you weren’t a chef what career would you have pursued?
I like the idea of design and execution. I wanted to be an architect before a chef, so maybe I’ll revisit that. I also see myself as a film director.
What would you eat at your last meal?
uni ikrua don
Who are you dream dinner companions?
My son when he’s fully grown up. Right now he’s a picky eater, but I hope that will pass, my dream is to travel with him the way I travelled, thru restaurants and eating.
What do you do in your off time?
Golfing, spending time with my family.
Where do you eat in your city when you are not working?
Lucky noodle house.
Are there some regional dishes your city is known for?
What is the dish/dishes your restaurant is known for?
Crispy Oysters with nahm jim sauce