Leung Ka-ho excels in two things — cycling and cooking. Had he wanted to, he could have been one of the best in both.
But as it turns out, he had to give only one his full attention and he chose cooking.
Last year, Leung was vindicated in his decision when he won the Chinese cold dish award in the World Championship of Chinese Cuisine (WCCC) at just 19 years old.
It came just one year after he decided to devote his energies to cooking full-time.
Leung became a member of the Hong Kong cycling team when he was only 14. While training was hard and demanding, it cultivated the spirit of perseverance in him.
After he graduated from high school at 18, he decided to pursue a career in cooking rather than professional cycling.
The decision came over the objections of his parents and at to the surprise of his friends.
The only person who supported it was his grandmother.
Leung said being a cook has been his dream since childhood. It was his grandmother who brought him into the world of cooking. He used to go with her to wet markets and would later enjoy seeing her get busy in the kitchen.
She would insist on cooking family meals, especially after retirement, giving the family endless delicious dishes to enjoy. She was proud of them.
Meanwhile, Leung was picking up his grandmother’s cooking techniques and sense of fulfillment.
Leung attributes his high degree of endurance in the kitchen to his bicycle training.
“I used to spend as much as 15 hours slicing ginger and tofu but never felt tired,” Leung said.
After a year at the Chinese Culinary Institute, Leung had the chance to prove himself in the WCCC competition held in Rotterdam in the Netherlands last year.
He was chosen as a member of a team that represented the institute.
With a WCCC gold medal tucked under his belt, Leung took part in the Chinese Cuisine World Championship a month later in Beijing, where he won a bronze medal.
The two competitions were eye-openers for him as he got to see breathtaking skills performed by veteran cooks.
Now a junior chef at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, Leung is still trying to learn as many cooking secrets as he can from his grandmother.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 17
Translation by Taka Liu
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