04.02 The Sociaholic: Studio Gourmet with Chef Arnold Eric Wong

Adventures, anecdotes and lessons learned in the art of conversation and the nature of human relations

Chef Arnold Eric Wong with GPH Blogger Christina Dunham

Chef Arnold Eric Wong with GPH Blogger Christina Dunham

I finally checked off one more item from my wish list. Food is an insatiable passion, and I’ve often fantasized about having a celebrity chef take over my modest kitchen, creating culinary masterpieces just for me and my significant other. Just the thought of standing across the kitchen counter a from celebrity chef, watching intently as he (or she) sliced, diced, chopped and created gastronomical magic, makes my mouth dribble.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to experience the next best thing at Circolo Lounge in San Francisco, at the live taping of Studio Gourmet. Produced by Brad Lev, the event is a combination live cooking demo/talk show that (as Brad point’s out) is “not about the food.” To date, the show has featured celebrity chefs Martin Brock (Gary Danko), Hoss Zaré (Fly Trap), Mark Dommen (One Market), Matthew Accarino (Spqr) and Russell Jackon (Lafitte).

Kicking off with cocktails and culminating with a candid Q&, the event attracted a motley cast, all sharing the same curiosity and fondness for food.  The evening’s featured chef was Arnold Eric Wong, who has graced the galleys of acclaimed establishments such as Silk in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Masa’s, and Café Kati, as well as founded award-winning restaurants like Eos and Bacar, and is currently the consulting chef for E&O Trading Co., a sleek Asian fusion restaurant and lounge in the heart of Union Square.

Shitake Mushroom Dumpling

Shitake Mushroom Dumpling

On the menu was Chef Arnold’s famed Shitake Mushroom Dumplings, which started out as a one-time special at Eos, 15 years ago. Named after the ancient Greek goddess of the dawn, Eos was the first American restaurant touted by food writer Michael Bauer “to do Asian fusion well.” On the heels of the restaurant’s success, Chef Arnold was named the 1996 Rising Star Chef by Gourmet Magazine.

With a background in business and architecture, Chef Arnold has parlayed his knack for methodical execution into the art of systematic food preparation, such that recipes he created can be replicated by his staff, “even while I’m away on vacation in Maui,” he joked. “There is a rhythm to everything,” he stated. Back at Eos, it’s this solid rhythm that enabled him to produce 300 dumplings an hour.

Brad Lev, Arlene Boro, Arnold Wong, Amy Wong, Carlotta Datanagan, Eric Datanagan, Jennifer Myers and Christina Dunham

Studio Gourmet Host Brad Lev with Arlene Boro, Chef Arnold Eric Wong, Amy Wong, Carlotta Datanagan, Eric Datanagan, Jennifer Myers and Christina Dunham

The audience waited patiently as Chef Arnold plated the finished product, mumbling out loud about the intoxicating aroma of garlic and ginger wafting from the open kitchen. Stuffed with shallots, celery root, carrots, ginger, garlic, lemon grass and shitake mushrooms, the dumplings were served with a buttery concoction of soy, sweet mirin, and rice wine vinegar.

It took all the constraint I could muster to resist taking seconds, as this was after all meant to be shared dish. I did, however, steal the remaining drips of sauce from the plate and poured it over my last bite of dumpling. Nom. Nom. Nom.

As the interview concluded, Brad hit the chef with his five signature questions, the last of which exposed a pleasant revelation – Arnold and his wife Amy are expecting their second child. “As chefs, we work so hard and give so much of ourselves to the business. After I met Amy, I discovered there was a lot more to life.” And that zest for new experiences now include an annual pilgrimage to Burning Man.

For information about Studio Gourmet or to attend the next, visit StudioGourmetSF.com. For more about Chef Arnold’s restaurant, visit EOSanFrancisco.com

(Reprinted with permission from Gastronimique en Vogue. Photos courtesy of Arlene Boro)

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Christina Dunham

Christina has been in sales and marketing for over two decades, developing acquisition, retention and loyalty programs for start-ups, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. Currently, she is VP of Marketing & Biz Dev for Froomz, an online venue marketplace. She balances her left brain strategic/analytical side with right brain pursuits, including writing, performing, and martial arts. Follow her on Twitter @XtinaDunham or find her on Google+ (https://plus.google.com/112016579354079370347/)

* This post is from a Girl Power Hour featured blogger. It is not written, edited or endorsed by Girl Power Hour. The authors are solely responsible for content.

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