Chef Quing Chang popularly known as Chef Jeff has recently joined as the Chinese Masterchef at Golden Dragon at The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai. He brings with him an expertise and wealth of Chinese cuisine, gathered over the past two decades while working at some of the most well-known hotels in China such as The Ritz- Carlton Hotel Financial Street, Beijing; The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Beijing and The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel. He began his career in 1993 after completing his education at the China Academy of Culinary. Beijing, Szechuan, and Cantonese cuisines are Chef Jeff’s coveted specialties. Chef Chang met with Akshay Nayak to underscore the diversity of Chinese cuisines and his plans to bring the authentic Chinese flavours to India
What inspired you to choose culinary arts as your career?
Since I was a child I wanted to travel the world. As I grew up, I realised that I could see the world through food, hence I joined the culinary school and became a chef. I have had amazing experiences across China and its territories and I have now reached India and I am loving it here.
How is Chinese cuisine diverse throughout its geographical expanse? What are the Chinese food trends in India?
Like any other cuisine, Chinese food has adapted itself wherever Chinese have migrated to. I have observed that Indians love their food to be over spiced, which is very similar to the way native food of Sichuan region is. Hence Sichuan cuisine is quite popular here. Modern Indians have travelled all across the world and have accepted various cultures. Along with that comes the acceptance of a wider choice of cuisines. Hence the Indian taste buds have developed a liking for other regional Chinese cuisines like Cantonese, Shanghai, and Beijing. These cuisines are aptly represented in the new menu at Golden Dragon.
What events and food festivals have you planned to further promote authentic Chinese cuisine in India?
We are doing the Dragon Boat Menu (celebrating chillies). We will be doing the August Moon festival and then the Chinese New Year festival. These festivals are celebrated all across China and people eat special treats during these days. I plan to celebrate the same with Mumbai and give the patrons of Golden Dragon a chance to relish the traditional treats like Moon Cakes, Zongzi, etc.
What would you suggest to the aspiring chefs seeking to pursue a career in culinary arts?
The most important thing for any aspiring chef is to learn and perfect the basics. I would suggest that they must not try to jump the gun and try to learn advanced techniques before they learn the basics. This is a common trend with the young generation of aspiring chefs, who get over influenced with the social media and think they can become like the famous chefs of the world overnight without realising the huge amount of hard work those famous chefs have done before they became famous.