One of the best Chinese chefs our country has seen, this great 'Wall'iam (Chef Tong William) of China is the fountainhead of the Memories of China, Vivanta by Taj . 43 years of culinary experience | Has over 5000 recipes | Worked in Nine countries
Having over forty years of hands on experience in the best of the kitchens across Asia, Chef Lai Hin Tong William spearheads the kitchen of Memories of China, TajVivanta, MG Raod, Bangalore. Amongst the lot of good things the Chinese have contributed to the world, two things we would thank them for is their cuisine, and chef Tong William.
Spending his early years in Hongkong, he always had an inclination towards food – to cook and to eat. His love for food and conviction to do something in culinary was so strong that he dropped out of school when he was 17 after completing his high school to pursue his dream of becoming a chef. It was 1972 when he first began his culinary journey in a small kitchen in Hongkong. He learnt and mastered the basic knowledge of the kitchens and the Chinese cuisine during these initial years. It was when he moved to a bigger kitchen that he met his Master Chef who reinforced and encouraged to pursue his passion for cooking. He then continued to work under him to master this art.
Chef William wanted to take the Chinese cuisine to various countries and set the standards of authenticity for this cuisine in these places. He began travelling and took his expertise to the various countries to further his career. Having travelled across Singapore, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Philipines to name a few countries he's worked in, he carefully chose to travel across Asia, for he believes the Asians have a deeper understanding of the Chinese cuisine and this would aid him in finding a comfortable place to exhibit his culinary prowess in this cuisine.
It was in 1980 when India first happened to him. The Taj Coromandel, Chennai was his first assignment in India. He found his place in this hotel as a special inclusion to their Chinese restaurant – The Golden Dragon. After spending six years in this property, Chef William chose to go back and do something different back home. When he briefly went to HongKong, he was influenced with the business spree and decided to start up with a small business in a different industry altogether along with a friend. Unfortunately or fortunately (for the culinary world), his business didn't kick off as expected. Destiny always has it's way, and for the best; Chef William again began to romance his first love – cooking. Back in the kitchens of HongKong ,and then India's TajMansingh in Delhi. Until 1998, he travelled across Asia, and in 1998 it was when he had his first stint in the illustrious Memories of China, TajVivanta, Bangalore.
Between the period of 1998 to 2013, Chef William was in and out of this property for three times. Every time he headed this kitchen, there was a massive impact in the city's diners' market. Every one wanted to dine in this restaurant as they served the most authentic Chinese food. It was in 2013, after a successful persuasion from the then General Manager who was heading this property that Chef William came back to Memories of China. The hotel invested in this legendary property to beautify the décor, look, feel and the food. It was not only the interior that was made a la mode, but the changed menu gave a fresh outlook to the diners.
Having worked stupendously on Chinese cuisine, Chef William brings to his kitchen colossal years of culinary experience. He's studied, practiced and mastered the culinary patterns of various regions of China - Sichuan which is known for its pronounced flavors of the garlic & peppers used that define pungency & spiciness; he's worked on it for over 9 years. He started off cooking with the Cantonese style as he hails from that region and has perpetually worked on it for over10 years. The Cantonese food is known to have principal focus on the primary ingredients and they choose to use the spices and herbs very moderately. This leaves the food non-greasy and less hotness and brings out the natural flavours of the primary ingredients. The Shanghai cuisine is the newest entrant of all the popular sects of the Chinese cuisine and has a deep influence from the Cantonese cuisine.
Chef William has over8 years of cooking experience with this cuisine. The food is again less spicy & greasy, and there's adequate use of seasonal ingredients to create the sauces and spices that is added to many signature Shanghai dishes. Hunan is another popular Chinese cuisine that has the prominent flavours of fresh chilies, vinegar and peppercorns which makes the food hot and sour. Having worked comprehensively on the Chinese cuisine from all these regions, Chef William has an elaborate menu at the restaurant.
With immense credence in his expertise, he proudly declares "I started off with my culinary journey forty years ago and explored various cooking styles, methods and approaches of all the regions of China. We exactly know what kind of food needs to be served to our guests who travel from across the world and each has a different preference than the other. Having a wide – ranging expansive menu that we have, we can cater to the various sophisticated palates that people carry." The authentic and customary flavors of these regions are brought out excellently in Chef William's kitchen.
The signatures you can enjoy here would beBeijng's Peking Duck, Chicken in Tong Sauce, Soft Shell Crabs, Smoked Duck Eggs, Seafood Barbeque, Roast Barbequed Quail, Glutinous Rice & lotus leaf wrap with chicken & shrimp.
There's an addition or change in the menu every four to six months. How do they change the menu? With the number of recipes of the dishes he's got and the mammoth experience behind him, Chef William says he's got so many options that it would not take less than a few years to have them all lined up on the menu. Chef William is a happy man who believes in not only being happy from within, but also spreading it to the place where you are in. At 62, he's all - charming with the zest & energy of a youngster and you can witness it in the kitchen while he's happily dishing up some scrumptious food waltzing across. What drives him to wake up each day to be enthusiastically doing his job? He accredits his attitude towards life for this. He wakes up each day and perceives it as a brand new day rather than carrying forward a baggage of previous day's stress loads.
The next time you pay a visit to the Memories of China, you are in for a true Chinese treat and some laughter if you bump into Chef William.