Meet S.Pellegrino Young Chef Mentor Zhenxiang Dong

29 June, 2021
Chef Zhengxiang Dong

What advice would you give to yourself as a younger chef?

Based on my experience, my first piece of advice would be to study languages. And I don’t just mean learning English; it is also necessary to study your own country’s language so you can better understand its culture and how that relates to food. I would also read more books, including books about culture and books about my professional craft. The world is a big place and you can travel, of course, but if you don’t have the time or means to travel then you can still learn a lot from reading and research.

Being a chef is a profession that requires you to look to both the past and the future at the same time. To look to the past is to respect tradition; and to look to the future is to find creativity and innovation.

How do you think the culinary world is evolving?

The restaurant industry isn’t just about cooking. If looked at from a wider perspective, it is an essential industry that fulfils a basic human need — food — and in that sense, it encompasses multiple stages: agriculture, processing, logistics, production, retail, dining, and even e-commerce. A restaurant kitchen and the chefs that cook there are actually just a tiny link in a much larger chain. Looking at the restaurant industry from the perspective of wider society or future development trends, I think we have to consider how we can use food to make people happy and improve their life. This is one of two development directions I foresee for the industry; the second being how a chef and the dishes they produce fit into the industry chain and how to bring their dishes to a wider audience, e.g. so they can be enjoyed at home.

S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility Round-Up

S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility Round-Up

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