If you're into the Sydney food scene at all, then you've probably heard of Dan Hong. He's Merivale's executive chef at Mr Wong, Ms. G's, and El Loco, a bit of a sneakerhead (have you seen his Instagram?!), and father of the ridiculously cute Nami (seriously, she's gorgeous and eats everything!).
On top of all his responsibilities, he's somehow managed to find time to put together a cookbook. Mr Hong comes out in October and we wrangle 2 minutes with the man to find out a bit more about it. We also find out about his favourite Sydney restaurants, where he loves to shop in Sydney, and what his last meal would be (you won't guess what it is).
TUL: Tell us a little bit about Mr Hong.
Dan Hong: Mr Hong is a cookbook, which basically follows my career from when I was starting out as an apprentice to now. It has recipes from Lotus, Ms. G's, El Loco, and Mr Wong as well as a few childhood recipes and stories.
TUL: Where did the idea of putting together your own book come from?
Dan Hong: I've always wanted to write a cookbook and when Murdoch Books asked if I wanted to do one, I felt it was the right time in my career.
TUL: What was the hardest thing about the experience?
Dan Hong: Probably writing all the recipes. I hate writing. That's why I became a chef!
TUL: And the best thing about it all?
Dan Hong: I really enjoyed the photography part of the book. I've known (food photographer) Jason Loucas since I was a third-year apprentice, so we really worked well together.
TUL: You worked with the lovely Melissa Leong on Mr Hong. What role did she play in it coming together?
Dan Hong: Well I've known Mel ever since we did TOYS collective, she is a good friend of mine and because I can't write for shit, I thought she would play a part in interviewing me and putting my story onto paper. She also helped out with the recipes, too. I really couldn't have done it without her.
Now some non Mr Hong related questions for you…
TUL: You're clearly into fashion and sneakers, where in Sydney do you shop?
Dan Hong: I usually shop online but when I do shop in Sydney, I like Supply, Incu, Carhartt, Above The Clouds, Capsule and, of course, the Nike store at Westfield Pitt Street.
TUL: Obviously eating is a big thing for you. What are some of your favourite restaurants in Sydney that people may not have been to?
Dan Hong: To be honest, I think everybody has been everywhere but there are a few places I like to go… Phu Quoc in Cabramatta, Lao Village in Fairfield, and Hai Au Lang Nuong in Canley Vale.
TUL: Are there any young chefs we should be keeping an eye on?
Dan Hong: Clayton Wells (former sous chef at Momofuku) is opening his own place where the Clare Hotel used to be in Broadway, and also Federico Zanellato (former chef of Ormeggio) just opened his new restaurant LuMi Dining in Pyrmont.
TUL: If you had a choice, what would be your last meal?
Dan Hong: My Mother's Bun Bo Hue.
TUL: And finally… What's next for Dan Hong?
Dan Hong: Haha nothing! Im pretty busy running all these places but you never know!
Check out the trailer to Mr Hong below:
Mr Hong comes out on October 1st and is published by Murdoch Books. Pick it up from any good bookstore.