If it hasn't become apparent over the last few days, I'm an enthusiastic fan of Ming Tsai's. Last week, the Simply Ming chef stopped into San Francisco to host a party for the Macy's Come Together campaign. While demonstrating how to make potstickers, Ming, an exceptional storyteller, made fun of his parents who were present in the audience, told tales of mischief in France's Michelin-starred restaurants, and recalled his win against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America ("rumor has it that I may soon face off against Iron Chef Morimoto," he told the crowd).
I got to kick back with Chef Ming, who, in between his thoughts on joining Top Chef Masters, must-have kitchen ingredients, and tips for keeping cool when hosting a party, had more surprising thoughts to share! Learn what they are when you read more
YumSugar: What's next for you?
Ming Tsai: I've come out recently with this great chip from Kellogg's. It's a baked brown rice corn chip, whole grain, with 70 percent less fat than a potato chip. It's really thin and crispy, and made with sea salt. One 1-oz. serving is 33 chips, which is humongous compared to 17 potato chips. I have two books in the works. One may be my history of eating — not a memoir because I'm not that old yet, and I'm really not that famous to do a memoir — but my dad's taken pictures of food since I was born, and it would be so cool if I could use those with the stories. We're talking getting drunk in Russia and throwing up; eating and getting food poisoning in Beijing.
YS: What are your thoughts on the food issues plaguing the world today?
MT: Last year, we produced 30 percent more food than we ever had in the world, but had more obesity than ever before, and we had the most hungry people than ever before. That's weird math; it needs to be solved. Certain countries have tons of food, and that's not getting to the poor countries that need it. I think it starts with the policy of the UN. They need tighter controls on how to distribute the wealth more equitably. It's easy for me to say this on a soapbox, but you can get the heads of states of the right countries to do it. I think we're doing it, but we should've been doing this 20 years ago.
YS: Have you had any captivating meals recently?
MT: Every time I land in San Francisco, I go to Ton Kiang, the best dim sum. I am one person, but I ate more than an eight-top. I just went to Japan and ate pig-brain sashimi and pig-heart sashimi. Every Western doctor I've spoke to has said, "You're a moron. Raw pig brain?" It was not nasty, it was delicious. And I was at El Bulli two weeks ago, and had a 37-course, five-and-a-half-hour-long meal. More than half the food he [Ferran Adria] did was East-West. Dude, 10 percent royalties!