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Looking for 5 Star Chef of Chinese Cuisine

Hi All,

I'm an event planner in OC and I've had a special request from a client. I'm hoping someone here can help me out. I'm looking for a chef who can do the following:

-Chinese Cuisine
-Mostly cook on-site (Tustin) on April 9th for 16 guests
-Money is no object
-Client are serious foodies, so this chef has to be amazing

I'm willing to fly a chef in, but would prefer to deal with a chef who resides in the greater LA area

Thanks in advance,


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  1. I am certainly not a Chinese cuisine expert, but just from hanging around here a while it seems to me that the SGV does excellent in low to mid high end cuisine But where we lack is at the very top. There are no 4 or 5 star/diamond Chinese places in the area AFAIK. Not to say that there might not be a Chef here capable of creating that cuisine, but with out the backing or in retirement. Your best bet in my opinion would be to head north of the border to Vancouver

    Good Luck!

    4 Replies
    1. re: AAQjr

      Agree with above poster. Arguably, the premier Chinese restaurant in L.A. is Sea Harbour in Rosemead, and while it can be excellent, it is sometimes difficult to replicate in a home kitchen, just as it is with Japanese food.

      1. re: cfylong

        It might be a little "fusiony" but this is something I would check out with the Wolfie Puck empire, specifically Chinois or WP24, and see what they might be able to do for you.

        2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

        900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

        1. re: Servorg

          Chinois is an interesting suggestion. They are kind of French Chinese in that they tend to use butter and cream over soy sauce and sesame oil. I am also assuming that the poster is referring to Cantonese Chinese cuisine, rather than Northern or Shanghainese., and that they are more purist Chinese cuisine foodies rather than fusion ones.

          2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          1. re: cfylong

            If it's the art of the possible vs the art of the impossible I try for the possible and then make allowances for the art part...

    2. You might contact Yujean Kang at his restaurant in Pasadena and see if he can help you.

      Yujean Kang's Gourmet Chinese
      67 N Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103

      1. You might want to look into Henry Chang from Chang's Garden in arcadia. I think he might have experience at the highest level in terms of cooking for royalty. Can't remember exactly, anyway, I think he's excellent.

        Chang's Garden
        627 W Duarte Rd, Arcadia, CA 91007

        2 Replies
        1. re: chezwhitey

          Thank Everyone!

          All of your suggestions are wonderful. I am going to look into each and every one. My back-up plan is flying in Chef Susur. Please keep posting if you have any additional suggestions. I love the Chowhound Crowd! You're all so knowledgeable!


          1. re: ocpartyplanner

            your back-up plan was, of course, my first thought. if you end up doing that, who do we have to bribe to get an invite to dinner? ;)

          1. I haven't been but I hear there is very good food at the Trinity Restaurant in the San Gabriel Hilton. Perhaps the hotel could cater--or a chef could take a night off.

            1. Honestly--I haven't had any "amazing" Chinese food here. Some of the food in the SGV is very good and a great bargain for the price. But it's not "amazing"--or even any better than what you can eat at an ordinary restaurant in China. Moreover, it's generally presented poorly and invariably lacks a Western sense of obsessive refinement. As far as Wolfgang Puck's restaurants go, I haven't been to WP-24, but Chinois--"amazing"? No. I'm not even sure it's worth a recommendation.

              There may not be a chef here who can satisfy your demands--particularly if your guests are Chinese. If money is seriously no object, I'd look to high-end restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai, or Hong Kong. I've undoubtedly had better Chinese food in those places than I've had here.

              14 Replies
                1. re: mc michael

                  I totally agree with sushigirlie. Good to very good Chinese food in LA, but nothing amazing. If money is no object, I'd definitely look to high end places in Hong Kong. However, high end Chinese cooking is not easily done at a home kitchen. I may even say it's impossible to do so.

                  1. re: PeterL

                    You can prepare high end Chinese cooking in the home kitchen, but the selection of dishes will be limited. Even the so-called "commercial quality" kitchen stoves don't pump out the 100,000+ BTU of a commercial wok burner that makes stir-fried dishes so tasty. But if something is braised, boiled, or stewed, you don't need that much heat.

                    1. re: raytamsgv

                      Also agreeing with sushigirlie. I have traveled all over Asia (HKG, Shanghai, Taiwan, Japan, etc.) and you will not find anything close to what you get there in LA. Also I would imagine if they are serious foodies and if they are Chinese why even bother because they will be in for a disappointment.

                      As for WP24 was not impressed at all you can get better quality in SGV for half the price. Everything is served course style (they have a list of apps, mains-meat, fish, carbs-noodlle or rice etc) you pick a 3/4/5... course and they will serve you each course only thing is its "plated" very nicely per person. Oh and the price includes the view from restaurant over looking staples...not that we all haven't seen it on TV before.

                      With that said are you looking for Authentic Chinese or New/Fusion Chinese.

                      900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                      1. re: lady31

                        Clients are well traveled, but not Asian. I'm going to try to talk them into the possibility of fusion. I'm presenting them with several options, from traditional to fusion. Presentation is a must.

                        1. re: ocpartyplanner

                          Would the food be cooked in a home kitchen? I think it would be pretty hard to prepare that style of food in a home kitchen, so a local outfit with a large, properly outfitted truck might have an advantage in some ways, even if their chefs are not "5 star". If you look for online wedding sites, there is mention of outfits which do mobile catering for Chinese banquets at hotels with no Chinese kitchen (examples: http://www.gracecatering.com http://www.furiwa.com). I would guess that most of these outfits are used to cooking for huge numbers of people, but I think they should have well equipped trucks.

                          I think Vancouver is probably your best bet, and I'd personally go that route over a celebrity chef. But either way, they may require a better cooking setup than even a very well equipped home kitchen would have.

                          You could also talk to the folks at http://www.pearlcatering.com/ (same as the folks who run lu ding ji)... their food is excellent, though I don't know if I would call it "5 star".

                          Even if you get this 5 star chef, they will still have to work with locally available ingredients (or bring their own, if it's even possible) and possibly a kitchen that may not have everything they need. So I get what you're asking, but I'm not sure that it's reasonable, even if "Money is no object".

                    2. re: PeterL

                      sort of like assembling a perfect, new, Rolls Royce in your household garage.. . .

                  2. re: sushigirlie

                    Triumphal Palace, now Lunasia, was given three stars by Irene Viribilia several years ago, but the chef left shortly after and so did the restaurant. Exilekiss' review of Sea Harbour is quite enticing, http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2010/08 , but the consistency is generally for the highest levels of live seafood.

                    Triumphal Palace
                    500 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

                    1. re: sushigirlie

                      I guess this depends on what you define as amazing. Chinese food is not nor will it ever be about presentation, fancy techniques, emulsions, liquid nitrogen, sous vide, etc. At the end of the day, does it please you, does it make the family happy? I guess the question we should ask the OP. What exactly is he/she looking for? Are you looking for a fusion chef, someone who will use more modern techniques, or are you looking for someone to make great, tasty, soul-satisfying food?

                      1. re: chezwhitey

                        I would disagree with you regarding presentation and fancy techniques of Chinese food. HongKong and Vancouver probably has the highest standards of presentations of Chinese food, and you would be quite stunned by the visuals. Preparing Peking duck and live seafood and the seven(?) Chinese techniques of cooking can be very complex and detailed. I think you would find agreement, if you mean everyday stir-fry, homestyle Chinese food, but then that would apply to any ethnic cuisine.

                        1. re: cfylong

                          Just rent the movie God of Cookery starring Stephen Chow, it will be like a step by step how-to guide

                          1. re: AubWah

                            Funniest food movie ever. I love quoting lines from that movie, like: "Excellent Internal skills..."

                            1. re: J.L.

                              Funny thing, J.L., I can't read your posts any more without hearing a stutter in my mind.

                    2. Gourmet Pigs just did a 3 way showdown of the Asiany fusion, high end places in LA. Some have been mentioned, maybe ask for one of the chefs there? I think one of the places is from Father's Office fame...


                      Father's Office Bar
                      1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                      1. how about david chang from momofuku

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: dlew308

                          I had forgotten about David Chang! Thank you, emailed his people. Crossing my fingers.

                          1. re: ocpartyplanner

                            David Chang would be great! Not really Chinese per se (more Korean/American) but the Bo Ssam would be a lot of fun - accented with more inspired dishes coming in a Momofuku Ko style.

                            1. re: ocpartyplanner

                              Email Four Seasons Hong Kong - I'm sure they can fly out a few of their top chefs and prepare an amazing dinner for half a million USD+. Money is no object right?