Proust Questionnaire with Pichet Ong

This week, we’ve asked pastry chef Pichet Ong for his answers to our abbreviated version of the Proust Questionnaire. Known for his inventive approaches to the art of dessert-making, Ong is a master of putting a unique spin on classic and familiar Asian ingredients.

 

He consults on a number of culinary projects worldwide, including the recently opened Coppelia, Qi, and La Esquina in New York City. He is presently working on a new book – Desserts on a Whim. See below for an up-close and personal look at Pichet…

 


What is your idea of bliss? My last experience of bliss was waking up in the morning and jumping right out of the window into the ocean — from my bed! Although that was in the Maldives, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef was also pure bliss.

 

What is the quality you most like in a meal? I like a meal that is long — with good company — and encompassing a lot of raw seafood, vegetables, fatty carnivorous proteins and a lot of rich creamy desserts.

 

What is the quality you most like in a wine? I like a wine that doesn’t necessarily have to be drunk with food, but rather can stand alone on its own.

 

Which words or phrases do you most overuse in the kitchen? Hurry. Faster. Let’s go.

 

What do you consider the most overrated ingredient? At the moment, pork belly.

 

Who are your favorite chefs? There are too many to mention, but there is always a certain style or personality I like and admire in each chef I meet or come to know.

 

What is your favorite dish? Also too many to mention, but I love any kind of fatty fish sashimi, a great Caesar salad, shrimp tempura, lemon meringue pie.

 

Which culinary talent would you most like to have? Ironically as a Chinese person, and first learning how to cook with the wok, I’d like to be better at it and to perfect the art of cooking fried rice (particularly a white one).

 

What is your most treasured kitchen tool? I’m crazy about my little offset spatulas — I do a lot more with them than usual.

 

What is your state of mind when cooking? In a zone.