It’s My Dish started with two home-grown chefs who aren’t ever paid to cook but love to cook for others and see the joy in their faces when they taste the food.
It all began with Jeff Kang moving to United States.
Jeff started cooking when he was 18 years old. According to his brother, it was a disaster. In the beginning, Jeff started cooking because he was not satisfied with the Chinese food options in the neighborhood. Little did he expect that he soon created something even worse.
The very first dish he made was fried rice. To describe it in a very nice way: it did not taste good. However, Jeff insisted on mastering one dish before moving onto another one. In his brother’s memory, that summer was filled with fried rice, all kinds of fried rice.
Jeff started cooking weekly for his small group meetings at his church. It turned out to be a great opportunity to cook, to practice, to get critique, and to improve his skills. He had finally became a good cook to others’ standard. It takes a long time. One good way to learn cooking is to cook many times, for many years.
Jeff likes to cook all kinds of traditional Taiwanese dishes, Chinese dishes, and once in a while, some Japanese dishes.
Mike Hsu started to cook in order to survive. Going to college in the East Coast, there was only one very expensive Chinese restaurant near campus that only can be afforded when families and relatives visit (and treat). Since the school cafeteria was closed on weekends, he had to fend for himself and maintain his freshmen 15. Fortunately, his dormitory had a common area with a single electric range. Mike called his mom to get the details to his favorite recipe, three-cup chicken. It was the longest phone conversation he’s ever had with his mom but he got every bit of detail down. Three cup chicken was a simple dish requiring ingredients that can be found in local supermarkets. It was a success and all of a sudden, he made lots of friends.
After graduating with a degree in economics and an award for best cook by the Taiwanese club, he moved to Japan to kick off his career as a software analyst. He immediately fell in love with cooking in Japan, mainly because he couldn’t afford to eat out everyday. Culturally, Japan is very into food – even a celebrity rock band had a weekly cooking show. After five years in Japan, he’s picked up a lot of Japanese cooking techniques.
Upon returning to America, Mike fell in love with the oven. Other than frying or stir frying, the oven can be used for a lot of cooking styles such as the obvious roasting and baking but also braising and steaming. Best of all, set the timer and temperature and don’t need to worry about a thing until it beeps. And clean up is a cinch. Mike is on a quest to adapt many Chinese and Japanese dishes for the American oven.
Mike’s favorite dish is red braised pork belly. Being exposed to both Eastern and Western cuisine, he likes to mix various ingredients and cooking technique to make what he likes to eat (which is usually meat, and lots of it).