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The Demon Chef Alvin Leung reveals devilish secrets

Whether you know the Demon Chef Alvin Leung from MasterChef Canada or his Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong and the UK, you’re about to find out more juicy bites

#121_ent_Chef-Alvin-Leung-Potrait[dropcap]M[/dropcap]any people know celebrity chef Alvin Leung as the “Demon Chef”, one of the judges of the MasterChef Canada series. You might have also heard of or tried his unique “X-treme Chinese” cuisine in his Michelin-starred restaurants Bo Innovation, in Hong Kong, and Bo London.

Now, in an exclusive interview with Weekender, the Demon Chef reveals some devilish secrets about himself, his cooking, as well as upcoming plans.

In your TV shows, such as “The Maverick Chef”, you’ve had a few guests on the show. Who has been your favourite guest so far?

I don’t like to choose favourites but I must say I had a lot of fun with Bernice Liu, who not only is a great foodie but a wine connoisseur as well.

I also enjoyed the episode with Singapore’s Joanne Peh. She was exceptionally professional. I learned a lot from her.

You’re famous for your “X-Treme Chinese” cuisine. What led you in this direction?

“X-treme” is a way of saying I want to create exciting experiences, to push Chinese food into a different paradigm, make it more exhilarating and expansive, then set it in an elegant and refined environment.

I don’t want to be limited. I want the whole palette from Sichuan to Cantonese. From hot, sweet, spicy, savoury, bitter to sour, it’s such a large library of flavours to play with.


What’s your next X-Treme food idea that you’re going to try?

Since I’ve been working on refining the concept of Chinese fine dining, lately I feel I should go Yin-Yang on my followers and go into the opposite direction. I want to now reinvent Chinese street food, which I have started experimenting with.

What made you decide to partner Nespresso to create recipes for Chinese New Year?

I am quite a coffee connoisseur… Actually, addict is more like it. I do drink over eight cups a day, so I decided to take up this project because it’s right up my alley.

I do enjoy the flexibility of Nespresso coffees. The individual cartridge system allows me to experience different blends, depending on the time of the day or my mood.

What’s unique about your recipes?

The recipes I created incorporate the aromatic fragrance of coffee with Chinese food. The Chinese do not have a long tradition of drinking coffee because they are not used to its bitterness.

I utilise that essence of bitterness to resemble some of the herbal medicinal aromatics in dishes like Bak Kut Teh.

The Demon Chef is known for his intimidating  demeanour yet invaluable culinary insight on  MasterChef Canada
The Demon Chef is known for his intimidating demeanour yet invaluable culinary insight on MasterChef Canada

What is your favourite Chinese dish? Is that your comfort food?

Being a Cantonese Hongkonger, by far my ultimate comfort food is hot soup and congee. It’s warm, tasty and simple.

It takes me back to my childhood, eating it at breakfast and when I’m sick. It tastes like love in a bowl.

Please tell us about one hawker stall that’s “die, die, must try”.

There are a few places that I always go back to. Two of the best that come to mind are the famous Hainan Chicken Rice stall “Tian Tian” in the Maxwell Food Centre and 328 Katong Laksa (both in Singapore).

Will there be a new TV series of yours we can look forward to?

I recently finished the second season as a judge on MasterChef Canada. The first show was aired after the Superbowl and it is the most popular food programme in the country.

I have a few other fascinating projects and I will let you know what they are as soon as I am allowed.

Any thought of opening a restaurant in Singapore?

Singapore is such a sophisticated foodie destination. With its diverse cultures of Chinese, Malay and Indian and excellent food offered from hawker stalls to the very best in fine dining, the standard of cuisine is very high, so I would love to take up the challenge even in this ultra-competitive city.


By Lester J Wan & Alison Chu