Q: How long have you been a chef?
Chef Gu: 46 years.
Q: What made you decide to be a chef?
Chef Gu: My mother was a chef and baker, so I was always around food as a child. I observed her cooking a lot so I decided to try and imitate her in the kitchen. I didn't realize how creative cooking can be and really enjoy the creative side of it.
Q: Where were you trained and how difficult was your training?
Chef Gu: A famous chef (Chef Zhu) in China trained me for a few years. When I was training, I had to start off by washing dishes to show Chef Zhu how badly I wanted to learn how to cook. I then moved my way up and became his assistant chef. The training consisted of cooking, baking, and specialty cooking techniques which I use to create dishes like hot pot, Szechuan style Dim Sum, etc.
Q: What is the hardest part of being a chef? Chef Gu: Although I love what I do, the hours required to maintain a restaurant are difficult. Besides the hours the restaurant is open, additional time is spent purchasing fresh ingredients, thinking of new dishes, etc. It can be frustrating at times but when customers compliment my cooking, it makes it worth it.
Q: What is the most essential part of your kitchen/food?
Chef Gu: Freshness and cleanliness. My family and I shop for ingredients every day to maintain the freshness and quality of the food. We also take special care to make sure the kitchen and restaurant are clean.
Q: What's your favorite kitchen tool?
Chef Gu: Although everything is important, I use my wok and spatula a lot to cook a lot of my dishes.
Q: How do you choose your suppliers and where do you buy your ingredients?
Chef Gu: Luckily, my restaurant is located on Buford Highway so there are plenty of International Farmer's markets nearby. Since freshness and quality are important, my family and I purchase ingredients at different places every day.
Q: What is the most difficult part of cooking? Why?
Chef Gu: The hardest part is combining the colors of the ingredients to create a tasty dish. Sometimes it can be challenging to make the food nutritious, tasty, and visually appealing.
Q: What is your favorite dish to prepare? Why? Chef Gu: I like creating new dishes but one of my favorites to prepare is the Tea Smoked Duck. It is a complex recipe which involves a special cooking technique.
Q: What are the most popular dishes that are ordered by your customers?
Chef Gu: Stuffed Tofu, Dan Dan Noodles, Zhong-style Dumplings, Jumbo Shrimp with Walnuts, Crispy Fish Filet with Peanuts and Red Chili Pepper, Husband and Wife, Hot Pots, Tea Smoked Duck, and Smoked Pork are the most popular dishes ordered.
Q: What is the best cooking tip you can give a beginner?
Chef Gu: The most important cooking skill is to be creative and add your unique touch to your dishes.