With years of traditional Chinese cooking experience under his belt, Chef Zong has brought his dim sum skills to Wing Wah Birmingham, where he’s curated a menu of sensational flavours to tantalize the taste buds.
Hi Chef Zong! How did you become head chef at Wing Wah Birmingham?
In 1999, I started training as a dim sum chef in China at a chain restaurant, where I was later promoted to head chef. 10 years later, I was head-hunted from China to the UK by the owner and chairman of the Wing Wah Group, Mr Kin Bong Lam, and I’ve been dim sum head chef at Wing Wah Birmingham since 2012.
What is your favourite part of being a chef?
At Wing Wah, I have the freedom to get creative and reveal my true potential in the kitchen, and we often share thoughts and knowledge to create even better dishes. I also love the fact that I can satisfy a diner’s hunger so they leave the restaurant feeling happy.
What is the most challenging part of being a chef?
I love being a chef, and every one of my dishes is a creation which I’m really proud of making. When the restaurant gets busy it can be challenging to deliver all the dishes quickly, because I’m a perfectionist and I know the diners are hungry!
How has your cooking style changed over the years?
Having started as a traditional dim sum chef, it’s been fun to create and explore new recipes by bringing in modern influences.
What can people expect when they visit Wing Wah?
Wing Wah offers an exquisite choice of dim sum and à la carte dishes, many of which you can’t find in other restaurants in the city. We’re always trying to create menus that cater to everyone’s tastes, including both traditional and contemporary dim sum, alongside different à la carte menus for eastern and western tastes, and a large vegan and vegetarian offering.
What is your favourite dish on the menu?
It’s got to be the dim sum afternoon tea set, as there’s a varied selection of things to try – it’s also ideal if you’re celebrating a special occasion. If I had to recommend one dish on the menu, it would be the stir-fried beef fillet with shimeji mushrooms in abalone sauce.
How has Chinatown changed during your time as a chef?
Our restaurant relocated from Nechells to Southside just last year, and since then it seems Chinatown has got busier and busier with new visitors and new restaurants opening all the time – it’s great to be a part of that growing community.
Who inspires your cooking?
Mr Bong Lam has been an incredible inspiration to me over the years; he’s taught me so many valuable skills.
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