Hello Folks! Hope you all are doing safe and extremely healthy wherever you are, and we would want you to stay home during these testing times. Most of you might have started to pick up cooking whilst home, so we thought to bring you something yummy in the form of a celebrity chef on my chat show #blabwithsandy.
Put your hands together, nah! Wait! Put your sanitized hands within yourselves and welcome Chef Kelvin Cheung. A third generation widely popular chef, Kelvin Cheung of Chinese Canadian origin, has won many hearts with your tasty dishes (just like his heart, if we could say). Let’s wait no further and dive into the exciting blab I had with Kelvin:
Sandy: Hello Chef! What’s cookin’?
Kelvin: Hey Sandy! Ha-ha, everything that you need. 😊
Sandy: Well, I only know to cook stories, Ha-ha-ha! Let’s break the ice as its summer. So, could you garnish some information about your early background?
Kelvin: I was born in Toronto, Canada. For few years we lived in Singapore, after which my father had to move to New York. He was a chef in North Carolina. My grand mother was a chef too and had the restaurant in Toronto.
I went to MED school and dropped out as I decided to become a chef. Right when I was a 12-year-old, I knew how to cook and wanted it to be my full-time job. My first job was at Belgium, then I got back to Chicago teaching culinary. Things bounced around, from Toronto to Vancouver to Chicago. I opened a restaurant which later had a lawsuit with the landlords.
After which, few of my former students had opened a eatery place in Colaba, old Mumbai. I came on board for six months, but it went on to become a journey of few years.
Sandy: Very interesting! Which means, right from your childhood, all you wanted to be was a chef, isn’t it?
Kelvin: Yes! Apart from being a chef, I also wanted to start restaurant business.
Sandy: You are famous in the Bollywood circle. Film celebrities love you and your food so much. A few anecdotes on this.
Kelvin: I think it’s the actual honesty that that love in me and my food. If we are honest, the same honesty reflects in our food, music, drinks, etc. I was never into social media or PR activities, but my work did the talking.
Nothing was planned when I started my journey, no gimmicks, it was all love. I love to present honest, simple, and tasty food. I guess the biggest connect with them came from within, believing in the brand, and eventually most of us have turned like a family.
Sandy: According to you, what’s the current scenario of the cooking and food industry in India?
Kelvin: It’s a great time to be here in India. People have access to social media, things can be purchased online, majority of the population can afford to travel to places and enjoy the food. Honestly speaking, if things are looked at and done correctly, India is one of the best destinations for food and restaurant industry.
Sandy: And, what’s it about your pancakes Kelvin? They seem to be totally famous with the celebs as well as the guests thronging your joint.
Kelvin: LOL! There is a whole legend of pancakes. It’s a small story and you should hear this Sandy. I met my wife in Mumbai, and she is an American. I used to eat and drink on the heavier side. I had to put an end to the, so I tried yoga classes.
I found my wife (then girlfriend) there and found out her heavy food interest too. We used to go out and she used to love pancakes and cookies. I began testing, trying, and making pancakes for her. And guess what? It was a single time success, and I used to make different varieties for her.
Pancakes are satisfying and mostly they are kind of heavy, but we make sure to keep them light on the stomach. This is how the story of pancakes started, and like you said, they become famous all around. They are made with love.
Sandy: Wow! I hope to find my love with a pancake story too, help me Kelvin, ha-ha-ha!
Quick Shot Round:
- Your favourite food: Sushi
- Biggest regret: Not being able to cook for my mother
- What is Love? My wife
- Your close friends in the industry: Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Aditi Rao Hydari
- What’s your most used App? Must be WhatsApp
- A food item that you don’t like but you’re good at making/using it: Hmm, Beets?
- If you’d to trade your profession with something else, what would it be? Ha-ha! Traveller
- Veg or Non-Veg: Non-Veg
- If you were to stay a whole day on it, what is it? Eggs!!!!!!!!
Sandy: I have been hearing delicious stories about your new venture in New Delhi. A few anecdotes on your latest food spaces Kiko-Bā and Dadel.
Kelvin: The ethos of Kiko-Bā restaurant is intrinsically entwined with my culinary journey. I feel the best recipes are like heirlooms, passed down from one generation to the next, with every set of hands weaving their own story in with each pinch of thing and splash of that.
With Kiko-Ba, I will be paying a tribute to my father’s legacy and taking our patrons on a sweet, and of course savory, journey back to my roots where I’ll be reviving a beautiful bygone era of my own cooking, my father’s style of modern Hong Kong style Cantonese cuisine, and folding in flavors from my travels and beyond.
Dadel is a concept bar which brings to you an Amazonian flare. Dadel will pay ode to one’s complex mind, bringing to the fore an enticing blend of cocktails, narrating tales as old as time, a place where culinary meets mixology.
The venue with its’ gorgeous bespoke furnishings reminiscent of an Elsie de Wolfe charm, will keep guests well-oiled with its extensive selection of cocktails. Upon entering, the decor and ambience will instantly transport patrons to 18th-century anti-Victorian elegance.
Sandy: Awww! I mean, Oh! The way you’ve explained makes me feel jealous! Not of you, but of all that you do- which is fantastic! Congratulations, and I would want to be a part of your journey when in Delhi.
Kelvin: Always, you are welcome Sandy! You would enjoy our flavours and recipes for sure.
Sandy: A chunk of advice that you’d like to give to the newcomers who are garnishing their paths into becoming chefs?
Kelvin: Just stay humble, keep your head down, keep cooking. Not to get frustrated when things do not go as planned. Things will be difficult but, with your continuous efforts, you will reach your mark sooner or later.
Sandy: What’s in the pipeline for you Chef, in the coming months?
Kelvin: For now, its all about Dadel. I am still figuring out life. We’ve just opened the restaurant, and just want to be focused and plan to build up our brand.
Sandy: Hmmmm, I can smell a tasty brand! It’s time to gulp some of it. Thanks a ton for being a part of my show ‘Blab with Sandy’. It was my pleasure to talk to you and know more about your delicious journey. I got to digest many things from it, and I am sure the readers shall be finding it yummy too!
Wishing you the best of times ahead, Kelvin Cheung. Hope our flavours mix with each other in the near future, and we get to collaborate for something mouth-watering real soon.
Kelvin: It was lovely speaking to you Sandy. Thank you for having me. Yes, hope our paths cross soon. Cheers!
Interview by Sandeep Rao
Specially cooked thanks to: Justine, Andrea, and Nitya
Follow Kelvin @chefkelvincheung
Follow Sandy @blabwithsandy