Those who have had the pleasure of visiting one of the many inspired culinary pop-ups at Test Kitchen will know that it’s no stranger to cuisines from all over the world. This year, we named Test Kitchen’s owner, Vincent Mui, our Foodie Forks 2020 Editors’ Choice Food Here both for bringing flavours from around the world to Hong Kong diners as well as his commitment to celebrating local chefs. One such chef is talented Jimmy Wai Tak, who currently heads up Test Kitchen’s in-house team.

Chef Jimmy Wai Tak

Chef Jimmy Wai Tak

With more than a decade’s experience at the city’s top restaurants, including Aberdeen Street Social and two-Michelin-starred Arbor, Chef Tak began his career as a patissier. Although he presents a wide variety of both sweet and savoury dishes at Test Kitchen, there is a meticulousness to his cooking that undoubtedly comes from the craft of pastry making.

With social-distancing guidelines in place, Test Kitchen has hosted many innovative initiatives for people to enjoy creative, high-quality dishes at home. The European Pork x Test Kitchen on foodpanda pop-up gives diners the opportunity to order or take away high-quality, homestyle Danish pork dishes.

We chatted to Chef Tak about this exciting pop-up, his culinary journey and what it’s like working at Test Kitchen.

How did your love of cooking begin?

I fell in love with cooking because of my mother. Ever since I was a child, my mother would cook different food every day, [which] drew my curiosity towards food and how to cook her dishes. That passion never faded, and as soon as I graduated from college, I decided to become a chef.

How is it different to work at Test Kitchen compared to a “regular” restaurant?

Cooking at Test Kitchen bridges the gap between us and our guests. It’s gratifying to see their immediate reactions as each dish is put together in front of them, and I get to chat with my guests to get their opinion about the food. I also get to tell them stories about me and my food. In addition, the founder, Vincent, gives me a lot of freedom to create new dishes and get creative with new cooking experiments. There are very few boundaries, and I get to create whatever dishes come to mind.

Test Kitchen’s open kitchen allows guests to watch as chefs prepare their food

Test Kitchen’s open kitchen allows guests to watch as chefs prepare their food

What sets European pork apart from other pork you’ve cooked with?

European pork tastes more natural than pork from other countries. European pork comes from natural feeds, and this certainly reflects the taste with a “cleaner” flavour, while it’s never overly fatty, unlike commercially farmed pigs.

What is your favourite cuisine?

I am classically French trained, but my food is certainly modern French, and that [modern French] is also my favourite cuisine overall.

Which one of your European pork dishes is your personal favourite?

Korean-style sweet chilli roasted pork baby-back ribs.

Fall-off-the-bone, Korean Style Sweet and Chilli Roast Pork Baby Back Ribs

Fall-off-the-bone Korean-style sweet chilli roasted pork baby-back ribs

What are your tips for cooking pork from Denmark to make it tasty and tender?

I would slow-cook it in a water bath at 80°C for about 10 minutes, then pan-fry the surface over high heat until it gets golden brown to keep the Danish pork fresh and juicy.

In your opinion, why is it important that the pork you use follows specific quality and safety regulations? Can you feel and see the difference?

Food safety is the highest priority. The EU bans the use of antibiotics, hormones and growth promoters in feed to reduce substances harmful to human health and make the pork safer to eat.

Try these delectable European pork dishes from now until 10 December!

Test Kitchen, Shop 3, Phase 3, Kwan Yick Building, 158A Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, order on foodpanda

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