Joe Leong has officially begun working for his parents. Ahead of Chinese New Year, the 25-year-old pastry whiz was named a junior sous chef at Forest森, the Resorts World Sentosa Chinese fine dining establishment run by his folks, celebrity chefs Sam Leong and Forest.
After spending seven years training in pastry and desserts, starting out at Janice Wong’s 2am:dessertbar, the Joe Leong is set to bring new perspectives on his “first foray into a professional Chinese kitchen”.
We chat with the fresh-faced youngster to find out his plans.
What are your top goals for your tenure at Forest森?
I want to step out of my comfort zone and grow as a chef. I want to learn from the other veteran chefs in the team here and pick up in-depth knowledge on the different techniques and ingredients used in Asian cuisines. Then I look forward to gaining new inspiration and creating new, creative contemporary Chinese desserts that our guests will enjoy. And I also hope to help improve the dining experience at Forest restaurant — I would like to interact with our guests when serving my dessert creations.
How will moving into a professional Chinese kitchen change your approach in creating desserts?
Chinese desserts have many wonderful flavours and textures. I plan to incorporate modern techniques to create my own interpretations of traditional Chinese desserts at Forest森.
See Also: Chinese New Year snacks to check out
Any new ingredients you’ll be incorporating at Forest森 that you’ve never or seldom used?
As I was training in Western pastry kitchens prior to joining Forest, I seldom work with black sesame and ginger, which are popular in Chinese cuisine. So I plan to explore different ways of using these ingredients.
Now that you’re officially joining Forest森, how does that change the dynamics between you and your parents?
At home or outside of work, our family is very close and we often joke around. But in the kitchen, I respect them as chefs and listen to their advice, suggestions and criticism.
Would you rather have your parents or a stranger as your new boss, and why?
I would have to say my parents, because they give me truthful and honest guidance about my work and do not sugarcoat their words.
What are Chinese New Year meals like in the Leong household and what do you contribute? How will this year be different?
Chinese New Year meals for us are rather unique. All of our schedules are different, so we would often have a reunion supper at midnight instead of a reunion dinner. We will gather in our home kitchen to lohei and my grandmother would prepare simple dishes like Cantonese soup and steamed fish.
Forest森 is located at Equarius Hotel, Resorts World Sentosa, tel. 6577 7788 or 6577 6688