Interview with Chef Dennis Chan of Blue Bamboo

July 6, 2013 6 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article interviews Dennis Chan, head chef and owner of Blue Bamboo.

Image by Linda Blakely

30. How do people sign up?

We have anywhere from 15 people up to 60 people. Most classes are about 20 people. People do need to sign up in advance. They can do so through our website or by calling us at Blue Bamboo. Classes are held once a month on a Saturday morning from 10am to noon.

31. You have something called a Pajama Brunch Sunday. Do people actually come in their pajamas?

That is our newest event here at Blue Bamboo. We'll have them monthly. We don't want to pressure our servers to get up early on Sunday to come to work so we allow them to come in their pajamas. Many or our guests join us in their pajamas too. My cousin ran Coffee Cup Cafe for 14 years before deciding to retire. I told her that she can't retire - she needs to help me with this, so we do traditional brunch items from Coffee Cup Cafe along with some Blue Bamboo favorites.

32. Do you need reservations?

We don't take reservations for Pajama Brunch Sunday because we like to keep it casual.

33. You also have Dim Sum Sundays. For those who may not be familiar with Dim Sum, can you explain what it is?

Simply put, it's Asian tapas - appetizer portions of various dumplings, tarts, cakes, and buns that one keeps ordering until they are full. Over the years, people have asked me where they can go for Dim Sum here in Jacksonville. Everything is served on tapas plates so that you can order as much or as little as you like. The response to our Dim Sum event has been so good that we now serve Dim Sum every month. We always keep the Dim Sum schedule updated on our website.

34. You also write a BLOG. Can you tell us about that?

We wanted our Blue Bamboo community to stay updated about our goings on, which is why we created the Blue Bamboo BLOG. We are always trying new things to keep ourselves on the cutting edge of the Jacksonville culinary scene. The articles often tell about the ingredients and techniques we use here in the restaurant. It is a way for us to share with those who want to learn a little more about what we do.

35. Do you offer catering?

Yes, we cater for some of our favorite guests. It came about because some of our most frequent guests were asking us to cater in their homes for special events. We're happy to do it. It's neat to get out there to make these events happen for people we've grown close to over the years. We've built our restaurant on personal relationships - that's how we run our business.

36. What attracted you to your Tinseltown location?

My grandfather had a restaurant in the neighborhood 40 years ago. The neighborhood has grown up a little bit since then. Up the street from where we are there used to be sand dunes. I went to high school not too far from here. A lot of my teachers are good customers and a lot of the people I grew up with are still in the neighborhood and keep in touch through the restaurant. Our location works really well for us.

37. Does your family still have any of its restaurants open?

My family has all retired.

38. Where do you like to eat when you're not eating at Blue Bamboo?

Our city and our state has so many mom and pop restaurants that I love to culture and nurture relationships with. I love taking day trips around our area, both in-state and into Georgia. There are a few places I love to visit often. Most of those have some historical significance to Blue Bamboo or to me. There are some classics that don't get the credit they're due.

39. What's next for Blue Bamboo?

Many years ago, when we first started, there was an Asian market attached to us. It sure made it convenient for us when we wanted to find an ingredient to play with in the kitchen. Now that business is gone and there's been this empty space next to us for a few years. We've recently remodeled it into a banquet space that we can use for wedding parties, birthday parties and to offer dining space for private groups. That is the next big project for Blue Bamboo. Because we do everything custom, we now have a space we can make look the way people imagine their space looking. It's a blank canvas for every event. It's a whole new business for me. It's something we enjoy doing. We're just in the infancy stage of using the space. It's been very rewarding in terms of giving us another chance to connect with our client base.

About EatDrinkJax is a local website showcasing Jacksonville area food and drink. Our mission is to go behind the scenes and talk to the people who make great food and drink happen. Ever wonder where the top food writers in Jacksonville like to eat? In addition to our interviews we also bring together hundreds of restaurant reviews from leading food writers in is brimming with special features, such as our directory of more than 800 local restaurants and bars, complete with addresses, phone numbers and menus. We have a growing list of free restaurant coupons, and our own BLOG where we check out some of the places and things that delight us and are deserving of more attention.

About the writer interviews are conducted by Jacksonville Beach resident Gerry Glynn. When Gerry isn't talking with restauranteurs he is working for a local software company, training for his next road race, and hanging out with his wife and dog.

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