My father, who was always the person that I would watch in the kitchen transform raw ingredients into delicious Chinese food. Unlike most households, he was the one that did most of the cooking in our home. Every little boy wants to grow up like his dad, so that's what first spiked my interest.
Sauteed green beans. I remember pestering my dad to teach me how to cook something, and he would always turn me down. Finally, my mom decided that enough was enough and taught me how to stir fry green beans as the vegetable component of dinner. Heat the oil, add garlic, stir for a few seconds, add green beans, saute, a little salt and a little water to help them steam and cook through. Simple and delicious!
My favorite thing to cook is probably my signature dish, dumplings! It's such a simple concept using humble ingredients, extremely versatile, and I love how anybody can have a role in helping make them. I've made it with 70-year olds, I've made it with 5-year olds. Plus, the dish will always have a special place in my heart as the dish that earned me my MasterChef apron!
Being on MasterChef has taught me to be bold and come out of my shell. You can't go through an experience like this and not come out a changed person. I've just been given more courage to pursue my dreams and to be completely honest about my beliefs and who I am. Already, I've approached two of the most acclaimed restaurants in Austin (Barley Swine and Uchiko) and have had chances to stage there. It's really blown my mind how things have been falling into place, and I think I made the right decision to leave the realm of safety and other people's expectations to pursue my dreams.