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- Sunday, 06 July 2014 14:18 | Written by Matthias Tesi Baur
Alvin King Lon Leung (Chinese: 梁經倫) born in 1961, is a British chef who holds three Michelin stars at his restaurant Bo Innovation in Hong Kong and one Michelin star in his restaurant Bo London in London. He is nicknamed The Demon Chef and has invented his own cuisine, which he calls X-Treme Chinese that includes meals such as an edible condom on a mushroom beach. He has spent £1.7 million on his second restaurant, Bo London, based in Mayfair, London.
1. Tesi: Chef Alvin, some chefs discover their love for food and their gift to prepare ingredients in an outstanding way quite late, while for others it is clear in their childhood years that they will become a chef. At which point in time did you discover your gift to prepare food far beyond normal standards?
Chef Alvin: I have cooked since I was a little boy. My mother was a terrible cook, so I needed to start cooking for myself to live a better life. I was born in London and grew up in Canada, two places that offer a huge variety of ingredients and a good playground if you are willing to explore experimental cooking and if you are passionate to train yourself as a chef.
2. Tesi: You are running the restaurant “Bo Innovation X-treme Chinese Cuisine” in Hong Kong. What is the mission of your restaurant?
Chef Alvin: “X-Treme” is just a word. What I mean with that is that I want to create a moment of excitement for my guests that they haven’t experienced before. I want to guide my guests to a level they haven’t experienced and tasted before. I want them to enjoy the evening because they will have dishes in Bo-Innovation they haven’t had before anywhere else in the world. To come back to your question: My mission is that my guests want to come back to my restaurant because my food creates a unique combination of memories they are only able to relive when they are my guests again.
3. Tesi: Please complete this sentence: I want my guests…
Chef Alvin: … to reach a point that is still just within their comfort zone but that challenges them to reflect on the dishes they enjoyed so that they learn something about themselves. I don’t want to put my guests out of their comfort zone. That’s easy. My guests should discover new culinary landscapes in a way that an evening in my restaurant turns into a lifelong beloved memory.
4. Tesi: Where do you get your inspiration when you create a menu? Do you follow a method or a routine when you create a menu, or is it a different process every time?
Chef Alvin: I get my inspiration from my successes and from my failures. Failure is good because you learn how to make it better. I go through my life with wide open eyes. I can get inspiration from big and small things. Sometimes I spend time in a nice place that inspires me, sometimes I watch people and be inspired. I watch other chefs and always think how I would do it. Learning the fine DNA of creating outstanding food doesn’t come from copying other chefs. It comes from absorbing how other people do things and reflect it into my own – in my case – unique style. Life is full of inspiration – you just let it happen!
5. Tesi: What do you rate higher: Your menu or good sex?
Chef Alvin: (is laughing) Good sex always follows a great menu and if sex is really good then breakfast is on the menu. This cycle goes on until one forgets which comes first the sex or the menu.
6. Tesi: What does good food mean to you?
Chef Alvin: Good food means a good memory. Good food means a deep impact on you and your life. I know so many people who say they had had the best menu ever here or there, but when I ask them what the dishes were made from they can’t remember. When you have sex and can’t remember it a year later it was not that good! It is the same with food. Only if you remember the taste, the texture, the flavours, and the little details for the rest of your life you can talk about good food. Just “the best” ingredients or just “the best techniques” are not enough to create something like that. You need talent to create food that a guest will never forget and that comes back to him – sometimes in the form of a memory or sometimes in a form of a déjà vu.