HK Magazine: How did you become a chef? XY: Well, I was a creative consultant before, doing a lot of food styling. Then I moved to a village in Yuen Long because there wasn’t enough room for my plants in the Mid-Levels. The villagers taught me how to make tofu from scratch and how to start a wood fire for cooking rice in a pot. Then I made 50 rice cakes and within three days, it was all sold out, just by word of mouth. That got me thinking that I could actually cook for a living. And thus I started my first private kitchen there in Yuen Long, together with my organic farm. HK: Do you still have that organic farm? XY: Yes, I share that acre with an older gentleman. He looks after our plants. We grow lemon basil, mint, Chinese celery, Thai ginger, romaine, whatever’s in season. HK: And do you grind your beans daily for your homemade tofu? XY: I don’t want flabby arms. My niece was like, “Wow, Auntie, that’s so neat. People pay you to go to the gym!” HK: Remember the first time you cooked? XY: Most kids use their pocket money to buy snacks and candy—I bought groceries. When I was around ten years old, we bought this crab. It escaped and I found the red critter by my bedpost, so I decided to make drunken crab. I got some port or brandy from my father’s cabinet and tried to get the crab to drink it. Then I steamed it. It was pretty good. HK: And now you have a foodie haven in Wan Chai. XY: Yeah, I originally coveted the location of Pawn, but the place had already been procured. So I talked to the government, and they said they had another heritage building in the area that was even older. I went to take a look and it was love at first sight. HK: Are all your alternative cooking inventions in your new kitchens? XY: Yup, I have my ovens made from two Italian flowerpots for roasting my chicken. The heat conduction is superb, and the bird is extra crispy when it’s done. When we moved back in town, my staff asked me if we were going to go back to electric rice-cookers, and I was like, “Y’all crazy! I’ll never use electric rice-cookers because you can’t get the crunchy bottom.” HK: We love the rice crispies, too! So what do you do in your spare time? XY: I’m so busy with my new place, I only have Sunday night off. For relaxation, I read cookbooks. And I wander around Yuen Long and Tai Po market. There’s always a new ingredient I’ve never seen before that pops up to become my muse.