David Muñoz and Chef Tong on their Golden Week collaboration

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

David Muñoz and Chef Tong on their Golden Week collaboration

Related tags: Cooking, American chinese cuisine

Three Michelin-star Spanish chef David Muñoz has teamed up with Hakkasan executive chef Tong Chee Hwee to create a menu for Golden Week.

The project is something of a homecoming for Muñoz, who cooked under Chee Hwee at Hakkasan in the early 2000s. Priced at £88, the Golden Week menu will be available in Hakkasan Hanway Place and Hakkasan Mayfair until 22 October.

What is Golden Week?

Chef Tong:​ It’s a Chinese national holiday. Everyone has a whole week off. But there’s a bit of a twist in that everyone is supposed to spend that time spending money. Three days of paid holiday are given, and the surrounding weekends are re-arranged so that workers in Chinese companies always have seven continuous days of holiday.

How did the collaboration come about?

Chef Tong:​ I wanted to do something different for Golden Week this year. I’ve always been impressed by David and I wanted to push the boundaries at Hakkasan and bring something totally different to the restaurant. It’s the first time I’ve collaborated with anyone for 15 years. The whole team is very excited to be doing something different.

You both worked together at Hakkasan a decade and a half ago...

David Muñoz:​ It was the second London restaurant that I worked at and I stayed for two and a half years. Rather a lot has happened since I left (in 2013 his DiverXO restaurant in Madrid was awarded three Michelin stars). I love London and I love Hakkasan. The first time I had dinner at Hakkasan was a complete game changer for me as a chef. In Spain we don’t have anything like it. Hakkasan changed my approach to cooking in terms of both ingredients and cooking techniques. It broke a lot of rules in my mind.

Chef Tong:​ It was a long time ago but I remember working with David well because he was outstanding. He was always eager to learn. He was the first non-Chinese dim sum chef we’ve ever employed. David made a big impression because he didn’t just come in to do his job. He always wanted to do more and understand more about Chinese cuisine.

Tong-and-Munoz-main-2

Wok stars: Muñoz and Chef Tong are cooking together again after 15 years

What was it like to work together again after all these years?

Chef Tong:​ I enjoyed it a lot. He is a hard working and passionate person that loves Chinese food. Having worked here, he also understand Hakkasan and the culture behind it.

David Muñoz:​ It’s been an honour to work with Chef Tong and the Hakkasan team again. I come to Hakkasan all the time. For me it’s the best Chinese restaurant in the world. I’ve travelled to China many times but I’ve never come across a restaurant experience like Hakkasan. Modern restaurants in China tend to have a lot of Western influence.

Where did you get your inspiration for the dishes?

David Muñoz:​ I didn’t want to change the concept of the food at Hakkasan but it had to bring some of what I do at DiverXO and StreetXO to the table. We worked on all the ideas together. The biggest challenge was taking my techniques from my own places and making them work in a restaurant that does a lot more covers. They needed to be adapted in some cases to suit the volume and the equipment.

Chef Tong:​ Each dish was designed by myself and David so it’s very different to what we normally offer at Hakkasan.

Stir-fry-rib-eye-beef,-gnocchi-and-lily-bulb

Fusion cuisine: Stir-fry rib eye beef, gnocchi and lily bulb

Tell us about the Golden Week menu...

David Muñoz:​ It’s a 10-course menu. Dishes include hot and sour soup with foie gras; chilli crab dumpling, black sesame sponge, soft shell crab; Peking duck with beetroot pancake, lychee and rose; and stir-fry rib eye beef, gnocchi and lily bulb. I love all the dishes but my favourite Spanish is the tortilla dim sum, truffle, quail egg dish because it is a plate we served during the early days of DiverXO.

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