WING LEI | Las Vegas
If you’re looking to “win at Wynn,”
there can be no surer bet than one placed on Chef Richard Chen of Wing
Lei. The name Wing Lei was derived from the translation
of the Chinese character for Wynn and means “forever prosperous.”
Chen, direct from the kitchen of Shanghai Terrace at The Peninsula
Chicago, is the master of “reverse fusion,” a style of cuisine
that artfully uses Western ingredients and techniques in preparing traditional
Chinese classics. Chen grew up in a typical Chinese restaurant family,
but his career trajectory changed significantly with culinary school training
and several positions in Western-style restaurants, including The Ritz-Carlton
Chicago under mentor Sarah Stegner, who taught Chen to rethink culinary
traditions. By rethinking Chinese culinary traditions, Richard Chen and
Wing Lei are quickly becoming synonymous for haute Chinese cuisine
among in-the-know diners in Las Vegas.
Wrapped Bean Curd Sheets with Shiitake Mushrooms
Chef Richard Chen of Wing Lei at
Wynn Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Shiitake Mushroom Mix:
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 3 pounds shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 5 ounces minced shallot
- 3 pounds potatoes, julienned
- 3 Tablespoons salad oil
- 3 Tablespoons rice cooking wine
Wrapped Bean Curd Sheets:
- 8 ounces fresh bean curd sheets
- Shiitake mushroom mix
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- ½ cup soy sauce
For Shiitake Mushroom Mix:
In a sauté pan, heat the garlic, ginger, mushroom, shallot and
potato in salad oil. Add cooking wine and salt and pepper. Sauté
until vegetables are tender, remove from heat and allow to cool.
For Wrapped Bean Curd Sheets:
Spread 2 layers of bean curd sheet on the table. Sprinkle the mushroom
mixture on the sheet and roll it up. Press it with weight for ten minutes.
Pan sear both sides lightly brown. Place vegetable stock and soy sauce
with wrapped bean curd sheet and steam for 20 minutes. Cool off and serve.
AB: What is your most indispensable
RC: A sharp chef knife. Also copper
pots. I have a collection. They heat up very evenly.
AB: Is there a culinary technique
that you have either created or used in an unusual way?
RC: Steaming of cake. I take the
western philosophy of making a cake but often we don’t have ovens.
So I steam the cake in a bamboo steamer on the top of the stove.
AB: What is your favorite question
to ask during an interview for a potential new line cook?
RC: What is your goal in the next
5 years? I want to know what their motivation is. I want someone with
dreams and ambition.
AB: What tips would you offer young
chefs just getting started?
RC: Go work for someone who inspires
you, who is going to help you develop. Learn the fundamentals, the skills.
AB: What are your favorite cookbooks?
Trotter, for his meat recipes. I like his philosophy of reduction
of sauces. And game birds. His approach is different for a Chinese chef.
AB: What cities do you like for
RC: I want to go to New York. It’s
very competitive. If you are able to survive there you must be doing very
well. It’s the best of the best.
AB: What trends do you see emerging
in culinary arts?
RC: Spanish and Cuban influences.
I find it very interesting.
AB: Where do you see yourself in
5 years? In 10 years?
RC: I want to go back to CIA with
all my experience and teach. I want to publish a cookbook.