How did Anthony Zhao get into the culinary world?
It started 20 years ago. I was not a very good student, and my parents were worried about me. They told me I had to learn to do something with my hands so that I would always be able to take care of myself. They worried I would have no food to eat.
My parents always said that if you have a specialized skill, you’ll always find a job. That’s how I ended up going to cooking school. We only learned to cook Chinese food. But one day, after graduating, I went to an interview at a hotel and they turned me on to Western cooking.
I had never eaten Western food before — even when I started cooking it I never ate it. After a few years, though, I started trying it. In the beginning, I did not like it at all. The first time I tasted smoked salmon I thought it was just terrible. But I will always give something three tries, and this was also influenced by other people; when people tell you how good things are, and they describe where they come from and how you eat it, you want to try it yourself. After three tries, I started to love things like cheese, oysters and salmon.