Chef Personality of the Year 2018 and Chef Patron of Lychee Oriental Jimmy Lee tells us why Scots can’t get enough of Chinese food.
How did you get into cooking?
I’ve been running around a kitchen since I was 3 in my fathers restaurant and started working in a restaurant environment at a very early age. By the time I was 16 I knew my way around a commercial kitchen very well.
Who or what has inspired you most in the kitchen?
My dad has inspired me the most, he used to work very long hours in the kitchen and had dedicated over 40 years to cooking delicious Chinese cuisine. He’s also the calmest guy I’ve ever seen command a kitchen.
What is your favourite dish on the menu?
It must be the twice cooked pork belly with spicy black bean sauce. The long cooking process (48hrs) is what makes it so flavoursome.
How did it feel to win Chef Personality of the Year?
Scotland has some well known Chef Personalities, so winning the award was amazing. It’s great to know that you don’t need to swear and ball in the kitchen and on TV to get recognised.
Nowadays, chefs are often in the public eye. Do you think it’s important that diners know a bit about you and your food passions?
Most diners are digitally savvy and its important that as chefs we offer an insight into our kitchen and our personal life. Diners like to know their chef and can be attracted to their food just as much as their personality.
You incorporate a lot of Scottish ingredients into traditional Chinese dishes. What are your favourite Scottish ingredients to work with and why?
I love working with Scottish scallops and use them in the restaurant. I love the delicate taste and freshness of them which compliments Cantonese cuisine. Scallops go especially well with some ginger and spring onions.
Chinese food has always been popular in Scotland. What do you think makes it so well loved?
Scottish people love a wide range of flavours. Chinese food caters for those who love spicy, sweet and savoury flavours which is why it’s so popular.
Do you think diners are more adventurous with their food choices now?
Most definitely, there’s certainly been a foodie revolution over the last few years with more customers inclined to try ear fungus with Chinese sausage with fermented red bean curd over a standard Chinese dish.
Jimmy Lee is the Chef Patron at Lychee Oriential in Glasgow. http://www.lycheeoriental.co.uk/
Jimmy Lee’s Peking Honey Bourbon Pork Ribs
- ½ kg rack of pork ribs
- ½ tsp Chinese five spice
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp fermented beancurd
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp honey bourbon
- For the sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ¼ red chilli
- 300ml stock
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce,
- ½ tsp vinegar
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce,
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp tomato puree,
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp of potato starch, dissolved in 100ml water
- Vegetable oill
Add the pork ribs, Chinese five spice, garlic powder, fermented beancurd, and hoisin sauce to a bowl. Mix well and leave for at least 3 hours (preferably overnight).
Once the ribs have been marinated, preheat the oven to 180°C degrees. Place the ribs in the oven for 50 minutes, then baste with the honey bourbon. Turn the oven up to full heat and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a medium hot wok, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil then fry off the chilli.
Add the stock, then add the vinegar, dark soy, light soy, tomato puree, honey, and peanut butter.
Bring to the boil, then add the potato starch mixture to thicken.
Pour the sauce over the ribs and serve.