December 20, 2019
Chinese x French Cuisine
Born in Hong Kong, Vicky Cheng’s cooking has clear Western influences. He started off as an inquisitive young cook under some of the most highly revered and respected French chefs, including Daniel Boulud – originally from Lyon and now based in New York, whose restaurant Daniel, in Manhattan, bears three Michelin stars. After years working in various kitchens overseas, Cheng returned to Hong Kong in 2011. All this experience paved way for his cooking style: Chinese x French Cuisine.
Cheng’s acquired knowledge, excellence and principles laid the foundations for the culinary brilliance he offers at VEA Restaurant and Lounge today. The restaurant – that has a Michelin star – melds his Asian roots and heritage together with his Western training, and is combined with an elegant yet fun cocktail menu.
He is renowned for his use of unusual Chinese ingredients, such as preserved apricots, autochthonous Cantonese ingredients, local sugarcane, Belgian caviar, sea cucumber bought in Hokkaido, and flower crabs. Vicky aims to create a balanced harmony between his Chinese roots, French culinary training, and a surgically precise use of grilling called char siu – a traditional way of barbecuing in Hong Kong, but for which he uses lychee wood, a tropical tree that comes from southern China.
He believes that food is a universal language and the reason is why he fuses the cooking techniques he learned with the Asian culture in which he grew up. This philosophy is clear from the start of his tasting menu until the last bite, and is put forward in many ways: by using a Chinese ingredient unknown in Western cooking; by using locals to supply him with produce; or simply via a childhood memory that inspired him.
His creativity is a combination of meticulous French gastronomic technique and refinement with unquestionably fresh seasonal produce from Hong Kong and the surrounding area. His painstakingly designed menu makes use of ingredients that are evocatively nostalgic for local Hong Kong diners, combined with an innovative presentation. Drawing inspiration from his childhood, his parents, and Hong Kong’s vibrant culture, Vicky wears his heart on his sleeve which it comes to his tasting menu, which changes every fortnight due to the great emphasis placed on seasonality. He always seeks ingredients that are perfect, are the best reflection of themselves, and are at their peak.