Chef Ji Peng Chen comes to Austin by way of New York City and prior to that Virginia and China. Born in the city of Fuzhou, Chen grew up the youngest of seven children. He often found himself cooking for the family in his rural town. Chen’s strong family background still influences his style of cooking today, where he incorporates comforting flavors with seasonal ingredients.
After cooking in several restaurants in Fuzhou, Chen took the opportunity to come to the United States to improve his craft. He sharpened his skills in kitchens in Delaware and Virginia before heading north to New York City, where he helped a close friend open a new restaurant. He worked as Executive Chef eight years cooking traditional Chinese dishes in a style that blended his regional Chinese influences with the culture of New York City. The Wu Chow team came across Chef Chen during their nationwide search that led them to New York. After several meetings, Chef Chen decided that this new restaurant in Austin, Texas, would be his newest adventure. Chen took the chance and moved south to lead the Wu Chow kitchen.
Chen’s passion for travel and not only cooking, but enjoying, diverse cuisine made him a natural fit for Wu Chow. “I am excited to bring my style of Eastern cuisine to Austin,” says Chen. “Cooking is the best way I know how to keep Chinese heritage alive.” So far, Chen is impressed by the chilies in Texas and is looking forward to creating real local Chinese food in Austin.