Chef to spill the beans on Tsang

A chef who worked for Donald Tsang Yam-kuen a decade ago plans to publish a book next year that will spill the beans about the city's top leader.

Yu Yin-ping said his book would be part-expose - detailing his grudges against Tsang, who was financial secretary at the time - and part-cookbook, serving up some of his most popular recipes.

Yu, who recently started teaching at a cooking school in Central, said he had just completed the manuscript and was hoping to get it published next year. He said several publishers had already expressed interest. Yu started working at the financial secretary's official residence in Wong Chuk Hang, where he was paid HK$15,000 a month, in December 1999. But his two-year contract was terminated early, in October 2000.

The Shanghai-born chef described long days spent making food for Tsang's guests, including senior mainland officials. 'On one occasion, I prepared lunch for 22 guests and dinner for 24 people on the same day,' he said.

'At one time, Mrs Anson Chan Fang On-sang was a frequent guest to Mr Tsang's residence ... Mrs Chan really liked Shanghainese dishes and Mr Tsang loved expensive seafood such as lobster, shark fin, abalone,' he added.

Yu lived for several years on the mainland after leaving Tsang's employ, saying he waited until Tsang's term as chief executive was nearly over before returning to the city to re-establish his career.


'I have spent all these years on the mainland, doing [my own] talk show before I returned to Hong Kong last year,' he said.

The Chief Executive's Office yesterday declined to comment on Yu's claims. 'Mr Tsang was not in the chief executive post when Mr Yu worked for him. The employment was something personal so we will not make any comment,' a spokesman for the office said.

The chef made headlines 10 years ago when he demanded overtime pay from Tsang. In June 2001, the Labour Tribunal ruled that Yu was entitled to HK$40,250 for overtime. Mr Yu worked for 10 months at Tsang's residence, clocking in from 6.40am to 7.30pm, six days a week.

Later, Tsang sued a local Chinese-language magazine for publishing libellous remarks by Yu in November 2001. Eastweek published a full-page apology and paid HK$120,000 in damages.


Yu said last week that he would never again work for any top government official following his 'unpleasant experience' a decade ago.

'Even if Mr Leung Chun-ying or Mr Henry Tang Ying-yen invite me to become their chef in the future and pay me a HK$1 million salary, I would not take the offer,' he said. 'But I don't mind cooking for them for special occasions if they are sincere in inviting me.'