Today we sit down with Tej Pun, head chef of Privé Group, to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes.
Seafood spaghetti made with squid-ink spaghetti, spring onion, lobster bisque, sea-urchin cream sauce (Bungalow)
Let’s start at the beginning – why did you become a chef?
I discovered my passion for food in my first job cooking – the idea of having so many different types of cuisines and cultures to learn from really excited me. Now, 20 years later in Hong Kong, the ultimate melting pot of Southeast Asia, I’m still learning new things every day.
How do you stay up to date about the latest trends?
Part of being a chef is to constantly be a student, to taste and explore new things. One of my favourite activities is visiting other restaurants – from Michelin-starred restaurants to everyday street-food stalls. Another hobby of mine is reading cookbooks, and my favourites right now are James Peterson’s works.
What are your favourite dishes to eat in Hong Kong?
Nepalese food is a staple for me because that’s where I’m from. But aside from that, I love the many cuisines available in Hong Kong that utilise a lot of different spices like Vietnamese, Thai and especially Sichuan food. Spices to me are what paint is to an artist – they can truly bring raw ingredients to life. And with so many different kinds out there, the combinations are limitless. But my ultimate local go-to dish is the classic beef brisket noodle soup.
How do you source your ingredients?
It was very challenging back in the day not being able to communicate in Chinese. Thankfully, most suppliers nowadays can speak English. For me, quality comes first, and this means extensive trialling with many different suppliers in the beginning. But when you find one that offers the right quality and consistency, we maintain a very long and close relationship.
Swiss and Gruyère cheese fondue – exclusively available at Bungalow from now until 31 January 2018
What are your signature, must-try dishes?
Our prime rib-eye steak and seafood spaghetti are two of our most popular dishes. I believe in taking classics and giving them my own touch. A good example of this is our seasonal special cheese fondue, available now at Bungalow. Using Swiss Emmental and Gruyère cheeses, I combine them with Pinot Grigio and cherry brandy for the ultimate creaminess and richness. We serve it with unusual dipping items to give it a fun spin such as seared beef cubes and grilled prawn skewers.
What’s the newest culinary trend you see emerging that you’d like to introduce next?
I’m fascinated by the emergence of modern culinary techniques. Take sous-vide cooking, for example – this has enabled us to cook food with greater precision and consistency. Incorporating technology and science into cooking has become increasingly prominent and I see it as the future in the industry. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the use of sodium alginate and hope to bring this technique to our menus in the future.
Tej Pun, head chef of Privé Group
Privé Group is an F&B, entertainment and lifestyle group based in Hong Kong with an extensive portfolio of lifestyle establishments including LEVELS, AMAZAKE, Knutsford by Privé Group (Assembly, Caliente and Hanabi), Bungalow and its latest addition, I Know John.