EatDrinkJax.com interviews Dennis Chan, head chef and owner of Blue Bamboo.
Image by Nancy White
24. Why did you choose to teach at the college? Aren't the hours long enough at the restaurant?
A restaurant keeps anyone busy enough! It is important for me to be able to offer something to the next generation of chefs. I feel that the great chefs who came before me had an influence on what I did and what I like to do and teaching at the school allows me to share just a little of my knowledge and my passion for what I do with a whole new generation of people who have an interest in this. I don't do it for the pay - I do it because I see it as a way I can give back to the profession I love.
25. What's the next generation of chefs like?
A lot of the new students come with a knowledge of food from watching the Food Network. They can tell me technically how something is done but they don't get to practice it until we do it in class. It's really rewarding to watch someone practice something they've read about or watched on TV and then see them make it happen.
26. Can you tell us about your book?
Hip Asian Comfort Food is a book that is written about the food and philosophy behind Blue Bamboo. It's full of recipes that are flavorful and simple to follow. We want people to be able to eat Blue Bamboo food even if they're not here in the restaurant because these are flavors that are easy to recreate and to impress their guests with. We've had good feedback from it so far.
27. Does your book illustrate things that you teach in your cooking class?
It started out that way. We do a different theme every month with our cooking class. After 8 years we've never repeated a theme and we try not to repeat recipes too much. Occasionally we'll bring in a few recipes from the Hip Asian Comfort Food book, and bring the pages to life.
Image by Linda Blakely
28. What sort of themes are featured in your cooking class?
One year we did a different country every month. We did countries like France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan and China. Another year we did themes like Chino-Latino or some of the modern combinations that are popular in big cities, like Chinese-Peruvian food. We showed how to do two culturally different dishes and then how to combine them. We've done easy classes, intermediate classes, sushi classes, stir-fry classes - all kinds of different classes. We want people who come to a class to feel like they're gaining something in technique or knowledge.
29. Who's the audience for your cooking classes?
They're meant for all. It's not meant to be a strictly technical class. We don't test people afterwards. They're informative and entertaining. Guests can get hands on, if they like. There's no pressure. We start every class with a cocktail - that'show we set the tone. It's meant to be 2 hours of fun, learning and eating.