Chef Johnny Jong
Executive Sous Chef of Crown Melbourne
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!”
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。”