Kenny (Giseung Kim) is the talented Head Chef at CHU Restaurant by China Doll at West HQ, which showcases the premium and ethically sourced produce through a menu that presents a modern take on culinary traditions from China, Hong Kong, Japan and South-East Asia.
Tell us who you are and your current role?
Everyone calls me “Kenny”. I’m the Head Chef at CHU Restaurant by China Doll at West HQ, the 3rd “brother” China Doll/China Lane family.
Tell us a little bit about your industry history?
I moved to Sydney from South Korea in 2007 where my love of the culinary arts commenced. I started my student cookery apprenticeship which led me to do my placements in fine dining restaurants and hotels. I joined the China Doll group as Commis Chef 13 years ago which sparked my passion for pan-Asian cuisine, busy environments and my development as a Chef. Proudly among the Chefs from China doll and China Lane over the years, I had no hesitation jumping into the Head Chef opportunity I was presented with at West HQ. I was super excited to be a part of the restaurant brand extension to Western Sydney.
Where did your love of food come from?
Being quite young when I first moved to Sydney, I distinctly remember being blown away by the amount of variety and different nationalities the food scene offered. As I learned more about food through my studies, my interest in trying different foods grew and I began respecting it and loving it more every day.
My visits back home to South Korea and experiencing my mother’s cooking as a chef has made me appreciate my native cuisine immensely. Inevitably a lot of those flavours and techniques are very prevalent in how I approach my menus and kitchen.
What has stuck with you as being key to becoming a great Chef?
Look after your food and your food will look after you.
Recommendations for favourite place to eat in Australia?
Korean BBQ (out and about) and Chinese hot pot (at home) just like mum’s cooking. I’m a big fan of Mable at Barangaroo. Exciting dishes with a modern twist.
How do you relax and unwind?
I love my soccer and exercise. On my days off, (or if time permits before work), you’ll often catch me enjoying brekkie at one of my local cafés in Zetland.
What’s the secret to a great kitchen?
Be organised. Preparation is everything. Be prepared and always be ready for the unexpected.
What’s the one cooking implement/device you could not live without?
Without a shadow of a doubt, a rice cooker. And a Wok – all the magic happens from in the CHU.
What’s your favourite food?
Ssam – Traditional Korean BBQ.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced over the last couple of years?
Growing my resilience and to be more adaptable. Essentially, we have launched, closed and relaunched three times over the last two years and that’s been tough on the team and me who want to have a full restaurant every lunch and dinner every day of the week.
Contrary to my experience and background with central Sydney, we are working in a different region of Sydney with different customer expectations. The team and I have spent a lot of time engineering the menu to make it right for Chu’s audience/West HQ customers. At the end of the day, our priority is always to give the customer the best experience.
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