A good restaurant doesn’t have to be a stuffy one – Dan Hong has highjacked traditional expectations of fine dining in Sydney, and as executive chef at Merivale, re-engineered them so that a strong voltage of fun charges through the places he oversees. He looks after Ms G’s, Mr Wong, El Loco and Papi Chulo and there’s no doubt that he’s helped redefine how we eat in this city.
Yes, he has an impressive CV – which includes being named Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year when he was at Bentley and time in the kitchen at Tetsuya’s when it was #4 best restaurant in the world – but he’s also responsible for unapologetically enjoyable dishes, such as the Stoner’s Delight at Ms Gs, a dessert so epic that it has spawned as many sequels as a Hollywood blockbuster franchise.
His achievements go beyond just notching up honours and hats; in fact, Kanye West went to his restaurant, Mr Wong, twice in one week, while he has also cooked for his heroes: Ferran Adria, Rene Redzepi and his mother, Angie Hong.
As part of his work for Merivale, he’s gone on intense research trips – where he’s eaten as many as 40 tacos in one day, or experienced 8 Michelin stars in a matter of hours.
During this podcast, he also talks about the tremendous ups and downs of his career, and shares some memorable stories outlined in Mr Hong, his cookbook/memoir for Murdoch Books. The tale about ‘Dave’s salad’ and meeting his wife are some of the highlights.
He also chats about his experiences with Justin Hemmes, this year’s March Into Merivale program (which is on now until March 29), and where he likes to eat and drink in Sydney.
You can listen to this episode on iTunes or download it via RSS or directly. And epic gratitude to everyone who has kindly spread the word about this podcast or left a rating or comment in the iTunes store – it makes the 3am uploading sprees worth it!
Portrait courtesy of Murdoch Books. Mr Wong photo courtesy of Merivale.