A True MasterChef  真实的大厨

Chef Johnny Jong
Executive Sous Chef of Crown Melbourne
墨尔本皇冠行政副厨师长

We are probably guilty of taking short cuts whenever we can. It’s human nature to dodge challenges because it’s so much easier to have instant gratification. 

Sometimes, short cuts can be done, but when it comes to a career as a chef, there are no quick pathways but only long and trying rides of one test after another. In the end, the rewards are fruitful as chef Johnny Jong will tell you that hard work certainly pays off. 

As the Executive Sous chef for Crown Melbourne, Johnny has come a long way as a kitchen hand when he started his culinary career as a teenager. 

“When I was in Singapore, I was quite mesmerised by how powerful food is.”

He currently manages the Asian restaurants in Crown which is just one part of their over 20 international repertoire of restaurants. 

“You can’t beat hard work. Popular shows like Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules are very inspiring but may not show the proper ‘preparation’ to become a real working chef. 

“You have to work hard for many years and sometimes work for free to get experience. There are times when you spend what seems like eternity to master a dish to perfection. Unless the contestants are cooks themselves, they don’t experience the gruelling long hours, the years and timeline we really go through to become chefs.”

Originally from Malaysia, Johnny didn’t expect to be a chef when he was a young boy, but had always enjoyed watching his mother cook. “When I was in Singapore, I was quite mesmerised by how powerful food is – it can spark so many emotions when you eat a certain dish, or taste that particular flavour. 

“I was also in awe when I saw the mastery of professional chefs preparing their dishes, so that’s when I became interested in the culinary arts,” he said. 

Johnny is a perfectionist when it comes to putting together his recipes and that’s the reason his customers keep returning. 

His “secret” is in the sesame oil: “My restaurants use Ghee Hiang Sesame Oil which is a pioneer brand and has been around for over 160 years. We’ve sampled so many sesame oils but one day I was shopping at an Asian grocery and found this particular brand, there was no turning back.

“I understand the finer flavours in food and with this sesame oil, the aroma and fragrance is so rich that when you add it to any of your stir fried dishes, it brings out such great flavours that you won’t be able to stop eating!” 

一般上我们尽可能会走捷径,其实躲避挑战就是人类的天性,因为立刻填满欲壑要容易得多。有时候,我们可以利用捷径,但是,一旦涉及厨师职业生涯时,这些都行不通,他们面临的只有漫长的考验和不断的尝试。而大厨Johnny Jong身体力行的告诉你,努力的终点一定是丰盛的回报。

身为墨尔本皇冠 (Crown Melbourne) 的行政副厨师长,Johnny从十几岁时就开始了烹饪生涯,长期埋首于厨房工作。他目前管理皇冠属下的亚洲餐厅,这只是20多家国际餐厅的一部分。“你避免不了必须勤奋用心。类似“厨艺大师” 和 “我的厨房我做主” 等热门美食节目非常鼓舞人心,但可能并没有展现出成为一名真正厨师需要做出的准备。”

“首先历经多年的刻苦磨练,偶尔要忍受无酬劳的工作以取得经验。另外,有时需要耗费漫长如永恒的时间才能把一道菜做得尽善尽美。因此除非参赛者是亲自烹饪,否则他们不会体会成为厨师所经历的无数繁琐岁月中的考验,心力和付出。”

“有时候,耗费漫长如永恒的时间才能把一道菜做得尽善尽美。”

Johnny 出生在马来西亚,小时候并没有想过要成为一名厨师,但他一直很喜欢看着母亲做饭。“在新加坡的时候,食物的强大力量深刻折服了我—当你吃某一道菜或品尝某种特殊的味道时,能够激发复杂而多变的情绪。当我看到专业厨师展现精湛技艺时会感到敬畏。因此,这也是我对烹饪艺术产生兴趣的关键点。”

同时,作为一名完美主义者,Johnny也公开了为何他的回头客不断的食谱秘诀,他的杀手锏在于芝麻油。“我的餐厅使用义香麻油,这是具有160多年历史的先锋品牌。我是在一家亚洲杂货店购物时发现这个令人惊艳的品牌,一发不可收拾并沿用至今,虽然我们之前也试用过许多麻油。我了解到菜肴烹饪添加这款麻油所造就的细腻口感,香味倍加浓郁,而在任何炒菜中加入它,都能带出最佳的风味,让人停不了口!”。