For Chef Andrew Wong, this year began with a second Michelin star for his restaurant A. Wong in London. We caught up with the chef when he visited his India outpost in March 2021. By Rashima Nagpal
When I walk through the doors of The Oberoi, New Delhi, to meet Chef Andrew Wong—the mentor-chef at Baoshuan, the hotel’s Chinese restaurant—I expect to be intimidated. But within minutes of meeting him, all of my worries are put to rest. With a constant smile, refreshing candour, and rich British accent, Wong walks me through the food—and culture— he is truly proud of.
In 2012, Chef Andrew Wong replaced his family’s Cantonese eatery in London, Kym’s, with A. Wong. The idea was simple: to give London a fresh outlook on Chinese food. “I didn’t want to bring another Chinese restaurant with dark wooden lacquered panels everywhere. I wanted it to have a light, informal feel, with the food being the centre of attention,” Wong explains. Eight years on, not only has A. Wong won two Michelin stars, but it has also earned the title of the first Michelin two-star Chinese restaurant outside Asia.
While Wong feels grateful for all the recognition, he doesn’t claim to be an expert on Chinese food. Not yet. “But I am an expert of our food [at A. Wong],” he says. “When you start out as a chef, a Michelin star is a distant goal. It’s like looking out for an Oscar when you’ve just begun making movies. Part of the fun is having the dream.” He also feels that the Michelin stars are important primarily for guests to feel special. As for chefs, he thinks, it’s an exciting annual event in an otherwise monotonous lifestyle. But now that he has two Michelin stars, Wong feels the expectation is not just to stand out as a restaurant, but also to carry a culture.
Growing up, Wong spent time in both London and Hong Kong. Between his father making simple Western dishes such as steamed fish and braised lobster, and his grandmother’s pickles, chilli, and Sichuan recipes, he relished the best of both worlds. “We’d dread the days my father would make breakfasts. But he was still a better cook than my mother,” Chef Andrew Wong laughs.
Whether it’s the tasting menu at A. Wong or the dim sum fare at Baoshuan, Wong’s aim is to showcase “the skill, dexterity, and important history of Chinese culture.” Among his most popular dishes is the Shanghai steamed dumpling (that is injected with a soup filling) and the char siu bao (a roast pork bun made with a light, fluffy dough). For the dim sum experience of a lifetime, Chef Andrew Wong recommends you make the trip to Macao or Hong Kong.
WONG’S MICHELIN-STARRED PICKS
- The Eight, Macao
- Core by Clare Smyth, London
- Paste Bangkok
- Guy Savoy, Paris
- Claude Bosi at Bibendum, London
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