Lee Y Chang – The one who brings hones asian cooking to Prague
Let’s meet Lee Y Chang! Passionate chef from USA wih Taiwanese lineage in the middle of the Prague.
How and when did you be become Chef?
I’ve been helping my mother in the kitchen all my life, but got my first kitchen job while i was in university as a sushi apprentice in about 2004.. at the time i needed some income, so i showed up for a job interview and landed a spot on the sushi bar in my college town, and haven’t been able to put the knife down since.
Did you study any culinary school?
No i didn’t… but ever since i’ve been working in kitchens, i am constantly researching and studying various styles, techniques, and ideas about food. I am a firm believer that as a chef, the learning process never stops.. many of my mentors have taught me that along the way.
Could you tell us something about your early experience in kitchen?
My early days in a professional kitchen were definitely intimidating, but I took it as a personal challenge to be able to absorb and learn as much as possible.. for my sushi apprenticeship, i was given several boxes of cucumbers to cut precisely every day.. cut myself many many times in those first few months, but as i got better and completed the task faster and faster, i was given more and more tasks to complete throughout the day, until i was eventually ready to make some sushi.. i didn’t realize it at the time, but they were teaching me repetition and consistency, followed by multi-tasking, and respect for the work.. eventually i moved beyond sushi, (i still love sushi, but am nowhere near mastering it) and discovered the world of cooking.
What made an American with Taiwanese haritage come to Prague?
I’ve always loved travelling.. and the first time i visited Czech Republic was in 2003 where I worked in a friend’s bar for several months. amazing experience, and still have friends here to this day. But I came back in 2008 because I just love it here… it’s an amazing country, with many opportunities. when i hear that Prague is one of the best cities in the world for expats, it doesn’t surprise me at all.
When did you come up with he idea of opening an asian bistro in Prague city center?
I’ve been working with my business partner, Nyoman off and on since I arrived back in Prague in ’08.. In my opinion, he is a pure chef, with an amazing ability in the kitchen and I’ve learned more from him about cooking than pretty much anyone else besides my mother.. but we’ve been talking about getting our own place open for years..and finally decided that we were working so hard for other people, it was time to go into business for ourselves.
You passed first few promising months with your team, what was the key to impress your customers right from the beginning?
From the beginning we always focused on honesty, and family hospitality. we opened a small place where we want people to feel welcomed, warm, and special. we stand by our cooking of course, but we want to provide an intimate experience for our guests.
What’s your plans for the future?
Who knows! well, we plan on growing the business by starting on some other projects and concepts.. still early days yet in planning, but we hope to start up other things in the near future.
Thank you for your time and wish you best of luck!
If you want to know more about Lee’s place, go to https://www.facebook.com/qqasiankitchen/