The person who can talk to foods

Thứ tư, 16/03/2016 15:03

Working for 20 years working as a chef, Head Chef Nguyen Huynh Vi Vuong working at 4 stars hotel- Continental (Dist 1, TP HCM) has contributed to lift Vietnamese cuisine up to another level.

As the youngest son in a family with 4 brother and sister coming from Mekong Delta Chef Vuong Huynh Vi Nguyen has to carry all expectation from his father since he was born. Vi Vuong is the name that his father gave him with an expectation that he can become a “Little King”.

Passionate reformed music but working as a chef

Growing up in a family that working in carpentry as a tradition from his grand-father generation and his mother is just a common trader but Chef Vuong didn’t have a desire to follow his parent career. He has a great passion in reformed music and he also has a very beautiful voice. However his dream was fallen very early because of his mother disagreement.

Thinking of his mother, Chef Vuong has to put his dream aside then admit to the University of Law as what his family expected. However the University didn’t open to welcome him so he has changed to study in the College of Foods Technology.

Head Chef Vuong Huynh Vi Nguyen of Continental hotel – HCM City

Graduated in 2000, Chef Vuong has moved to Continental hotel and worked as a chef assistant. As a patient and hard worker he didn’t mind any type of workload even small or big tasks in the kitchen of this hotel but somehow he still had a little bit low mood

Chef Vuong shared that in the first days working as a chef he was very shy. Every time someone asked him what he is doing to live he didn’t dare to answer because everyone still looked down the job of the chef at that time. When he went home he also didn’t dare to tell his mother the truth. He told her that he is working in a 4 star hotel located in the central of the city only. Day after day he has just been too busy so that he couldn’t think of his future and what it will be. However being as a chef for a while he started to love his job without notice that.

Cooking job is a hard job. Everyday Chef Vuong has to start to work at 5 AM and finish by 9 or 10 PM. The direction board of the hotel sees that Chef Vuong is a hard worker and have passion in cooking job so they sent him to study more in School of Tourism and Hotel Saigontourist.

After that Chef Vuong also was sent to study more about European, Asian and Thai cuisine and not only cooking technology but also about management skills for example kitchen management, hotel and restaurant management … Meanwhile he also finished his school program in
Polytechnic University and received the bachelor’s degree of food chemistry. After that he graduated and got another bachelor’s degree of finance at the University of Finance and Marketing.

Chef Vuong said his friends wondered why he studied so many things like that but he thought that this knowledge will help him a lot in his career in the future.

Test his own capacity

Beginning to work as a chef for a few years Chef Vuong has mastered cooking techniques so he wanted to test himself in several contest or competition no matter if they are small or big one. The first one is the national food contest organized in Binh Thuan in 2003 and 2004 by Tourism Department. Chef Vuong won the first prize for individual item with the dish of squid stuffed with sticky rice and the first prize for team item.

Since then every time there is any contest or competition the hotel will choose Chef Vuong to become their representative and attend. In 2005 in the food contest with the theme “Home taste” organized by Saigontourist Travel Corporation. He won the second prize with the dish of salad with snakefish.

Chef Vuong Huynh Vi Nguyen responded to questions of the judges in the Golden Spoon contest 2015. Photos: Organizing Committee

In 2015, chef Vuong has won the runner-up position in the Golden Spoon contest. The final round with the subject of “Secret black box” is a big challenge to Chef Vuong from knowledge to skills as well as creativity and flexibility. When pick up the ingredient named “lá é” he knew immediately that this is a kind of spice that offer a great aroma as well as good taste and used to submit to the King only before thanks to his knowledge. According to traditional Chinese medicine, “lá é” or it is also called Ocimum basilicum has a spicy taste so it has function to treat stomach pain, indigestion, cold or flu and fever.. To balance this function Chef Vuong has combined it with seafood. He also picked up a whole fish not only fillet so he used all parts of head, bone to make the broth and the meat is to cook with “lá é”. With the menu that included salad with stuffed squid, soup with fish and “lá é”, beef with butter sauce, fried mango with strawberry sauce Vuong won the second prize for the best presentation item.

Chef Vuong is not only participating in local or domestic competition but also was invited to go to abroad and perform Vietnamese cuisine at fairs. His bell always ring to lift up Vietnam cuisine in other countries

Never stop studying

Being promoted to the head chef position of Continental Hotel since 2010 when he was only 30 years old was a huge challenge to him. The job of a manager is different with the job of a chef because he is responsible for preparing menu as well as managing human resources and the heaviest part is to control the consumable materials. Besides that he also participates in orienting business development. New job with a lot pressure required him a continuously improvement so even he is in the manager position but he always study new things to be able to move further in his career.

The advantage of Continental hotel is its old French architect with 126 years. Therefore it required Chef has to prepare menu that have the signal of the integration which combines between modern and classic. Moreover high-class customer nowadays have a new trend of cuisine which is less starch, rich protein so Chef Vuong has to structure the menu so that it is suitable with current expectation of diners. Given on training courses about nutrition so he knew what foods is good for your health and how much foods is enough for us to eat.

Getting married in 2001, Chef Vuong has two beautiful daughters now. When he has free time he usually cooks for his family although at home his wife is the head chef.

Chef Vuong said that if you want to be a chef you need to have passion and love your job as well as hard working and don’t mind heavy workload. He has to accept to scarify all his holidays and never has day off. I have to stay at the hotel until 3 or 4 AM on occasion of holidays or Tet. Although it is very hard but I’ve never thought that I will quit this job because it becomes a part of my life.

To me kitchen is the most ideal place because I can talk to the foods – a part of my soul.

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