Working in a kitchen owned by a celebrity chef means you have certain standards to uphold to, and our next Chef of the Week is just the right person for the task.
Allow us to introduce you to Missy Hui.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Hui left home after high school to attend McGill University in Montreal. With an appetite for success, she spent her summers in between semesters attending Liaison College of the Culinary Arts, graduating at the top of her class. After school, Hui flew the coop once more to gain experience overseas before coming home and joining the McEwan Group, where she helped with the opening of ONE under the guidance of chefs like Rob Gentile and Andrew Ellerby.
Her years of hard work earned her the title of Top 30 Under 30 by the Ontario Hostelry Institute in 2013, and helped her win the top prize in an episode of Chopped Canada. Today she leads the kitchen at Fabbrica as the Chef de Cuisine.
We had the opportunity to chat with Chef Missy Hui about how she got her start, her go-to meal at home, and what she hopes Canada’s food scene will look like in the future.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I’ve always been around food and restaurants. Growing up my uncle worked as a baker and my first job was answering phones at a Chinese restaurant that one of our family friends owned. I didn’t start really cooking though until I was 23. A friend suggested I take a cooking class for fun and I was hooked. Three days later I had enrolled full-time.
How would you describe your culinary style?
I currently work in an Italian restaurant, but my personal culinary style is what I simply call Canadian. It’s a style to me that has no limits on creativity or technique. We are an extremely diverse country and are very lucky to have such amazing access to ingredients. My food reflects that.
What’s your favourite dish on your current menu and why?
My celeriac agnolotti with hen of the woods mushroom, charred scallion and sunflower pesto. It’s my favourite because I love mushrooms, and even though it’s a vegetarian dish, it sells like crazy. Sometimes the dishes that you are the most proud of don’t resonate with customers. With this one I got very lucky.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the restaurant industry?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about the restaurant industry is that it’s exactly how it’s portrayed on TV. A lot of students I meet coming out of school have the basic skill set to succeed, but are wholly unprepared for how hard the job is and the toll it will take on your personal life. A lot of people leave the restaurant industry in their first few years.
What are three restaurants our readers need to try before they die?
- The Slanted Door – San Francisco – Charles Phan.
- Ho Hung Kee – Hong Kong – I dream of their perfect liu sha bao.
- St. John at Smithfield – London – Fergus Henderson.
What’s one tip our readers should know to up their own game in their kitchens?
Always keep your knives sharp. It seems so simple but you’d be amazed at what you can do with a proper blade.
What’s your go-to meal to cook at home?
I love grilling whole fish on the BBQ – lots of herbs, citrus and butter. I am also a big fan of breakfast for dinner.
If there was one thing in the restaurant industry you could change, what would it be?
I would like to see the government regulation of alcohol for restaurants loosened so that we can have access to wider selections and better pricing for customers.
How do you think Toronto (and/or Canada’s) culinary scene will evolve in the future?
The nature and scope of food service worldwide is constantly changing and evolving. Who knows what’s next? But I really hope it’s something like Willy Wonka’s Factory.
Are there any other chefs you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.