#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 West Restaurant’s Chef Quang Dang’s answers.
What was your first food memory?
Fresh berries from my mothers garden.
What was in your elementary school lunch kit?
My parents figured that if I made my own lunches, I would eat it all – and we always ate healthy foods.
Where did you first learn to cook?
I was 8 years old, and my mom was late coming home from work – So I made chicken fingers, pan fried potatoes and salad.
Did you attend culinary school?
Where has been your favourite place to work to date and why?
The most current place is always the favorite – where I am learning and growing as a chef.
Who in the industry taught you the most?
I have been fortunate to have many great mentors along the way. Each of them taught me important lessons along the way. The last chef I worked under was Robert Clark, who taught me a great deal about sustainably harvested seafood.
What is your favourite style of cooking?
I am not one for favorites in the culinary world. I am inspired by so many different styles, it’s difficult to choose just one. I do however embrace my Vietnamese heritage, taking inspiration from my grandmother’s cookbooks!
What is your favourite ethnic cuisine?
Scottish and Vietnamese, based on on my family background. I unfortunately cannot grow to love haggis.
What ingredient(s) can’t you live without?
What are the most essential tools for cooking?
Knives, and high quality pots and pans.
Do you have an unforgettable taste combination?
All of them, I can’t help but try and be a part of a flavour symphony.
Ingredient you can’t get enough of?
Sour cream…for my chips.
Ingredient that will never touch your lips?
Natto (fermented soy beans)
What is your most prized possession?
My cookbook collection
What basic recipe/s do you advise for cooking novices to learn as a starting point?
Vinaigrettes and emulsified sauces
What’s your go-to comfort food?
Chips with sour cream
What’s your favourite cocktail?
Gin and tonic
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
What’s your definition of a perfect meal?
Something light and tasty. I like to graze and taste everything!
What do you always have on hand for last minute entertaining at home?
How do you unwind after service?
Most overrated food trend?
Any extreme form of eating…they mess with the balance of how humans should eat.
Favourite culinary destination?
Most memorable meal last year?
Raymonds in Newfoundland
If you weren’t a chef what career would you have pursued?
What would you eat at your last meal?
Who are you dream dinner companions?
What do you do in your off time?
Where do you eat in your city when you are not working?
Hapa Izakaya in Kitslano
Are there some regional dishes your city is known for?
What is the dish/dishes your restaurant is known for?
West is known for its ingredient driven west coast Cuisine
What dish will you be cooking for Gold Medal Plates?
Why did you choose the particular wine/beer pairing for the dish?
There is a relationship between the dish and the winery…
What ingredients will be key?
All of them
Who will assist you on the big night?
My amazing team of sous-chefs and cooks
Who do you see as the toughest competitor this year?
It’s a very even playing field!