Chef's Profile: Chang Sheng Ye of the Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth

Picture: Mike Holmes

Chang Sheng Ye of the Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth. Picture: Mike Holmes

THE Eastern Cape’s newest Unilever Chef of the Year star, Chang Sheng Ye, is sharing a mouth-watering recipe for seared linefish with rocket salad on The Global Table today.

For the past few weeks the blog has profiled some of the Eastern and Southern Cape’s most exciting established and upcoming chefs and foodie personalities, each of who has shared a favourite recipe.

The idea is that the dish must not be too complicated for readers to re-create in their own kitchens. So far there have been some inspired offerings, from Shamwari head chef Cindy-Leigh Goosen’s seared impala loin with raspberry and pomegranate risotto, to radio presenter Charl Leslie’s self-saucing granadilla, lemon and white chocolate “pot pudding”.

Former Westering High School pupil Chang Sheng (who is also known as Peter) has chosen a linefish dish that is always a  popular choice on the Radisson Blu Hotel’s dinner menu – scroll down for the recipe.

This promising young chef, who was born in China but has lived in the Bay for the past 15 years, first studied engineering after school. It wasn’t a good fit and so he did a diploma in hotel management at Varsity College, followed by 600 hours of practical training, which he completed at the five-star Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth.

“I started in the kitchen and enjoyed it from the beginning,” he said. “And I’ve never left the kitchen because I realised this is the career path I want to follow.”

The 24-year-old has only been working as a chef for about nine months, and says he is “still learning the basics”.

The potential is clearly there, however, given his recent national triumph – Chang Sheng has a place in the finals of the prestigious Unilever Chef of the Year competition in September. You can read the full story in the main section of Weekend Post today.

* Calling all chefs! Mail us at liebenbergl@avusa.co.za if you want to be considered for inclusion on The Global Table, which is updated  every Saturday morning.

Prospective participants must be willing to share a recipe and be photographed with their dish. A picture of the chosen dish, as well as a Q&A style column, will also appear alongside the recipe.

Q&A with Chang Sheng Ye

1. What is your approach to cooking and how would you describe your style of cooking?

I have only been a chef for nine months, so I do not have a distinctive style yet. I am still learning the basics and I’m sure I will find a style that suits me or that I like in the near future.

2. Are there any celebrity chefs or foodie personalities that you admire?

Since working in the kitchen I have been watching a lot of Gordon Ramsey on TV. He started from the bottom and has made a success out of his career. I also admire all the chefs here at the Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth for mentoring me into who I am and what I can do today.

3. Have you cooked for any celebrities?

The Wolfsburg football team, as well as Kaizer Chiefs, all the Miss Universe contestants, soccer great Danny Jordaan and rock star Brian Adams.

4. What would you want for your last meal on earth?

My mom’s won ton dumplings.

5. What has been the most interesting function you’ve had to cook for?

We had a function for the Miss Universe contestants at the Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth earlier this year. It was the most demanding function I’ve done – and the best one to be here for!

6. Give an example of a three-course winter menu  you would prepare for your own guests at home.

For starters it would be a hot seafood soup. Main course would be grilled fillet of beef with roast peppers and green beans, with perfect, fluffy mash. A rich, dark chocolate fondant will follow for dessert.

7. Please share one or two of your favourite kitchen hints or tips.

Make sure your knife is always sharp, and always season correctly.

8. What are your five favourite ingredients at the moment?

Cream, butter, coriander, ginger and garlic.

9. Which kitchen tool or gadget can you not live without?

My cloth, as I am constantly busy with the ovens. Without my cloth I’d be in a bit of trouble.

10. What is the best advice you can give someone who wants to become a chef?

You have to love it from the start. There will be challenging days, but you’ll want to come back each day for more. Never give up on your dream.

11. When not cooking for yourself, what are your favourite Bay restaurants – excluding Filini at the Radisson Blu!

Cubata near the 2010 Stadium – their ribs are to die for.

Picture: Mike Holmes

Pan-seared linefish with rocket salad. Picture: Mike Holmes

Recipe: Pan-seared Linefish with Rocket Salad and Grilled Lemons

Make sure your fish is as fresh as possible. This recipe is simple but with really good-quality fresh fish, simplest is best. It serves 4.

Ingredients

800g linefish;
25g butter;
2 lemons;
160g rocket;
100g cherry tomatoes;
35ml balsamic vinegar;
35ml olive oil;
10g fennel leaves;
salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

Portion the fish into 200g portions and season with salt and pepper. Heat up a pan with butter and 10ml olive oil. When the pan is hot, place the line fish into the pan to sear.

Turn the fish over once it has a golden colour on it and continue searing on the other side. Once the fish has been seared, cook it in an oven which has been preheated to 180 degrees Celsius for about 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Cut the lemons into halves and grill them on both sides until you have dark grill lines.

In a mixing bowl dress the rocket, cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper and the rest of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.

Plate the fish then the rocket salad, then add a half lemon at the centre of the rocket and fish. Finish off with few fennel leaves on top of the rocket salad.

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