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THURSDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2014

Goodbye to Restaurant Redemption

So the last show in my Restaurant Redemption series aired this week, and I'm just so sad the series had to end! I hope it was as much fun for you to watch as it was for us to film. The project was a rollercoaster and a risk: I think we can all agree it paid off spectacularly...

 
My American adventure took me from New York to Texas and all the way back to New Jersey. My quest? To save Asian restaurant-owners from their worst enemies: themselves! It seemed impossible at times, but we overcame the challenges and there now are so many memories, some funny, some silly and some incredibly emotional, that I will take from this series.
 
I am so proud of everything we achieved. The best part of every episode was that moment at the end when I could see my new friends taking pride in their revamped restaurants. Another highlight for me was the sheer variety we found: Asian tapas, Laotian sushi, Japanese, Thai, even a steakhouse! But from experimental Asian-Hawaiian fusion to ultra-traditional Chinese cooking, however different their concepts, all the restaurants were missing the same thing: a touch of culinary magic, a spark of inspiration... the X factor. I like to think this passion is what I helped them to rediscover. For all the budding restaurateurs out there who I didn't get to meet, this is one message I'd love to share with you all. Cook with passion and energy, and love your cooking!
 
Now it's all over, I want to say thanks again to everyone who came on the journey with us - my wonderful TV crew, the brilliant team at the Cooking Channel, and most importantly, you! Thanks to all our keen viewers - I know you guys were rooting for us every step of the way! All that's left is for me to think about what I might come up with next! Requests very welcome!!
 
Love, Ching xx
SUNDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2014

The Wow Factor

'One cannot think think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.' -- Virginia Woolf

 

Love is in the air! And for me, food and love go hand in hand. This isn't just because I'm a chef - there's something intimate about cooking a perfect meal for your other half that anyone can enjoy.

 

Sharing food is ritual that’s totally timeless: people have been setting plates on the table for centuries. It's more than daily routine - this can be an expression of devotion, a chance to escape from the fast-paced world, a moment of real quality time. Holidays like Valentine's Day provide the perfect opportunity to be part of this tradition, but why stop at one day a year? And while we're at it, why save it for just one person?! Love to me is about so much more than just conventional romance: it's equally important to celebrate best mates, family and that special someone. No matter what your Facebook relationship status says, there’s no excuse not to make an effort once in a while and pull out all the stops for your favourite folk.

 

This weekend I've been inspired by Valentine's Day, and I'm in the mood to push the boat out. So I want to share a recipe that’s truly indulgent and that little bit unusual too. Scallops aren't really an everyday ingredient: you have to concentrate when preparing them or you risk overcooking and getting a slightly rubbery finish. Equally, they are at the pricier end of what you can find in your local supermarket or fishmongers. All this means scallops are an ingredient with real wow-factor. In fact, they are perfect for making a big statement and sweeping someone lucky off their feet ;)

 

I’d say my Ginger, Chilli and Soy Steamed Scallops make an ideal light starter – for any budding Casanovas, you could even go for extra romance brownie points by sharing from the same plate! So go on: plan the full three courses, open that second bottle of wine, light a couple of candles… Valentine's Day is over but the love goes on! Ching x

 

TUESDAY, 11 FEBRUARY 2014

Restaurant Redemption in New Jersey

There is more drama coming up in tonight's episode of Restaurant Redemption, as I head to Maywood, New Jersey, to meet Joe Troy and check out his unusual Asian-Hawaiian restaurant.


Joe has already invested an unbelievable $200,000 of his own cash into his beloved Session Bistro, but something's still going wrong and the restaurant is in dire straits... It looks like 'fusion cuisine' has become confusion cuisine for this adventurous restaurateur, so it's defintiely time for me to roll my sleeves up and come to the rescue! I'm determined to give Session Bistro a serious menu and decor overhaul - but will it be enough?


Sneak peek: watch out for my take on the Chinese-Hawaiian combo, a super-delicious Asian-Spiced Roast Pork with Tropical Salsa recipe. Joe's unusual approach to flavour inspired me to try my own fusion dish, and viewers take note: this one is ideal for trying at home. Woks at the ready!


With all this excitement, I can't wait to tune in at 8pm ET on the Cooking Channel. Join us to find out if Joe Troy's unique bistro can finally say aloha to success... See you all there! Ching x

FRIDAY, 07 FEBRUARY 2014

A spicy winter warmer

'Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart' -- Victor Hugo


January is behind us! But before we celebrate, the dark months of the year aren't quite over yet. When I get home in the evenings, I still need something warming to shake off the February chill. This week's recipe is all about indulging that urge to hibernate...


I always say that great food is good for the soul as well as the body - but after work it can be hard to find time for complex dishes. Guys, truly great food doesn't need to be time-consuming or fiddly. A chow mein makes the perfect mid-week supper: easily tossed together in one pan, substantial enough to be a whole meal in itself, and (it goes without saying!) I liked mine packed full of flavour. Take a quiet moment for yourself in the evening and relax over a bowl of this most simple and comforting of dishes.


In the depths of winter we can all feel that bit more sluggish; I love using chilli in my cooking to boost the metabolism and lift the spirits too. So what better for beating those winter blues than my spicy Chilli Chicken Chow Mein? This is real soul food to guard against the gloom and the keep out the cold. Toss it together, draw the curtains and stoke up the fire: comfort food at its best.


Check out this week's recipe, my Chilli Chicken Chow Mein, here on the site! Ching x

Chilli chicken chow mein

TUESDAY, 28 JANUARY 2014

Join me in Texas for Restaurant Redemption!

Tonight at 8pm ET I'll be heading to Austin, Texas to revive Satay, a 26-year-old Thai restaurant, that is stuck in the 1980s. With tired Thai cuisine on the menu, I need to convince stubborn owner Foo that updating her food won't drive away customers at all, but instead give the restaurant a whole new life. Join me on Cooking Channel tonight to see if I can bring Foo the success she once had again. 

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