Ming Tsai: Simply Ming in Your Kitchen

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 01.11.2012


CHAD: Hi everyone.
Thank you and welcome.
It's a big pleasure to introduce Chef Ming Tsai today
here at Google.
And hopefully we got you fed before you're
all ready to start.
How was everything?
MING TSAI: Yeah, delicious.
Very good.
CHAD: Great, well, welcome aboard.
Thank you.
MING TSAI: And the price was awesome.
CHAD: Can't beat a free lunch.

MING TSAI: Chad, thank you.
No, but seriously, the food was awesome.
We ate at Root--
Root, right?
And had great--
it must have been king salmon, tasted like, with squash.
And then we went by the Japanese place, had the
do-your-own ramen, had a piece of hand roll, smoked salmon,
yogurt, shiso raspberry and lemon verbena.
And then I had one other thing.
Oh yeah, [? Cha Xiu Bao ?], the Chinese place--
the first original.
I can't remember what it was called, but really good bun.
So I've eaten three lunches.
So thank you.
I love this place.
MING TSAI: Yeah, exactly.
So thank you for being here.
Very excited.
I am here to talk about me, which is something I can do,
but more importantly talk about--
I don't even have a copy--
my new book, which looks like--
Can I borrow your book?
I can afford one, I promise.
Which I'm really excited about.
And for a cookbook, we've been calling it "high tech." Now, I
understand high tech and high tech.
This is nothing unusual for you guys.
But what we've done--
and if you have followed me in my career, I've
been cooking 25 years.
I started on East Meets West back in the day with Emeril
and Bobby and those guys.
I've now been-- we're just celebrating our 10th
anniversary of "Simply Ming" on public television, which
I'm proud and honored.
I just need to do 35 more years and
I'll match Julia Child.
Which I will never.
And my shows and my books-- my fifth book--
has been for one thing, to teach people how to cook.
And to hopefully get people to cook with Asian ingredients
and learn some techniques, because once you actually
learn a foundation and techniques, you can actually
start cooking yourself.
And I say this, and most chefs will say the same thing, a
cookbook is never gospel.
A cookbook should be a foundation for inspiration,
that you see recipes and say, oh, that looks pretty cool.
But I'm Mexican and I love jalapenos so I'm going to add
jalapeno to this.
And I love lime juice instead of vinegar.
Once you start doing that, you're actually cooking.
And that's the point of the book.
So this is not gospel, but hopefully this will inspire
you to create a foundation.
So then when you do go to a farmer's market or a Whole
Foods, wherever you shop--
and the whole idea of the last two seasons of "Simply Ming,"
it's called "Simply Ming on the Fly," which is you
actually-- and I combine-- we were talking about "Next Iron
Chef," that stupid show--
it was an awesome show until the last episode.
But there's secret ingredients and then,
boom, we create a dish.
But you, the viewer, have no idea why we created
that dish that way.
So the whole idea of the last few years of "Simply Ming"--
Jacques Pepin is a great example.
He was my first guest for this new series.
We reveal the secretive protein, which we
truly have not seen.
So I wanted to keep that instantaneous of "Iron Chef."
There was turkey breast and shrimp.
And I say, Jacques, you get to choose.
I'm the host, you're the guest.
So he chose turkey.
And then we shopped--
we opened the reach-in cooler.
We saw the herbs, we saw the spices.
And he would articulate why he's choosing the tarragon,
because back in south of France with chicken--
and would explain how a chef thinks.
And that's, really, I think a great tool for you, because
once you understand how we create dishes, then you can
start creating yourself.
So to that note-- and I love doing TV--
we've added two kind of cool features to this book.
One, every recipe you'll see a QR code.
All right?
So using your smartphone--
which I don't think is an iPhone in this territory, but
one of those smartphones--
you scan it.
You have to sign up the first time through
something called ZipList.
If you've been watching my show the last two seasons,
like "American Idol," there's digits you can text to.
So if you're actually currently watching a show, you
can text those digits.
The shopping list is downloaded to your phone.
So the same idea.
So now, if you want your girlfriend, boyfriend,
whatever, wife, to shop, you can scan it and they can then
shop for you.
So that's, again, to make it easy and
simple for you to cook.
The second thing that we've done-- because I do my own
food styling.
I actually think some cookbooks it's a disservice
that it's so beautiful, the food.
You make it, then you're like, what did I do wrong?
You did nothing wrong.
But that's because you didn't have a food stylist to take
Q-tips and glass and gels and spray it.
I serve it just like the food comes.
So this I would serve like that in the pot, family style.
And some things are served in woks.
Some things are served appetizer sized.
So by doing my own food, I decided to
shoot it with a camera.
So now there's 80 full-length videos, one for each recipe.
And as we'll show you momentarily--
yeah, let's play this little intro thing here.

Two of each chapter are free.

OK, I'm kidding, I'm kidding, I'm kidding.
So for example, this is the first chapter,
which is party platters.
So you can tell, this is live online at ming.com,
M-I-N-G.com, not M-E-N-G. Don't confuse it with
superstar over here.
So the first [INAUDIBLE]--
we don't have to watch a whole one, but if you click on it--
they're short, 10 to 12 minute videos-- again, done
just like you saw.
But it walks you through start to finish
how to make the dish.
And the joy of this is then--
go ahead-- you can stop and start it as much as you want
off of your tablet or off of your laptop, but you have to
buy the book for the recipe.
OK, he's boring.
So the idea is you have it start to finish.
And I've always said this--
and thank you, Cliff, by the way--
a picture's worth a thousand words.
A video's worth a million words.
Because I don't care how smart you are-- even all you guys--
to articulate in words how to roll sushi is impossible.
It's really hard.
The nori comes inside and the thumb goes out-- it's
But obviously, with a video, you're like, oh, that's easy.
It's actually really not that hard.
But as I was saying, anyone can go on ming.com right now
and get 16 videos for free.
They can then also purchase any
additional video for $0.99.
I personally think I'm worth $0.99, but that's
going to be up to you.
You can buy them all for $25, the balance of the 64 videos.
And you can do all this without buying the book.
But when I do the video, I just say add garlic, add soy
sauce, add ginger.
I don't say how much.
So obviously, because I'm not a moron, I want
you to buy the book.
So ideally you buy the book with the quantities and then
you use the videos to teach.
Any questions on that?

Ceramic, second-hardest material in the
world next to diamond.
Diamond knife, impossible--
too hard, too brittle, too expensive.
and we're selling three of them here.
There's white and black.
They're all ceramic.
The black ones, if this means anything-- and probably for
you guys, there's some engineers--
pressed at 2,000 pounds so it turns black.
So it's even harder than the white ones.
Both are incredibly sharp out of the box, but for a home
cook, will stay sharp for up to a year, which is 10 times
longer than a Wusthof or Global.
Wusthof and Global and all those are amazing knives too.
But after two weeks, they start to dull.
Then, what happens?
Well, most of you probably don't go home to a whetstone
or a wheel to sharpen your knives.
I would imagine almost none of you do, because even if you do
do that, it's hard.
It's a perfect 30 degree angle and it's a skill.
So you end up using a dull knife.
And then the dull knife is what you cut yourself with
because you slip on a tomato and your whack yourself.
So the most important thing-- like my kids are 10 and 12.
I give them the sharpest knives in the house to use,
because they're going to actually not cut themselves
with sharp knives.
They'll cut themselves with dull knives.
And then they play tag and stuff.
It's awesome.

One of the challenges used to be how do you sharpen them.
And you had to send them-- it wasn't bad.
It only took two weeks.
You'd send them to Costa Mesa or Kyoto, whichever's closer.
Costa Mesa, obviously, for you all.
And there's a diamond wheel at Kyocera.
They would sharpen them for free and send them back.
You paid $8 UPS.
So that's not so bad.
As of last year, we came out with for $88 or something--
and Katie's backed there, you should see her.
I didn't know this, but it's 50% off online.
MING TSAI: OK, thank you.
AUDIENCE: He's selling knives.
MING TSAI: Yeah, good.
Anyway, this sharpener is a diamond sharpener.
It takes two double A batteries.
It's $80-something and it's only
designed for Kyocera knives.
You make three swipes on each side, you get a
factory-fresh knife.
So it's awesome.
And the fact that it's double A battery, you don't need a
cord, incredibly convenient.
All right, enough of that.
How do you know you have a sharp knife?
Take something like this, an onion.
Drop it.
The gravity of whatever you drop-- an apple, an onion, an
orange-- should stick like that.
I mean, that actually went all the way through.
That's a sharp knife.
That's how sharp your knife should be, always.
It's a great way to motivate your kids to clean their room.
Clean your room, ha!
So I'm going to start-- because I'm sure there's one
person that doesn't know how to use the knife properly.
So for that one person, don't raise your hand.
I'm going to show you.
The first mistake is people think you grab
a knife like this.
Well, go get a martini if you're like this, OK?
It's like squash and golf--
supple in your hand.
And the control is this--
not even two fingers, one finger in your thumb.
That's how you grab a knife, all right?
Not this.
This is the rookie move, because then you slip and you
cut the side of your finger.
It's this.
Your hand has three other fingers, so they have to come
along for the ride.
And they go around the blade.
But it's really this is your control and power.
But again, really loose in your hand.
Not so it flops around, but it's not tight.
So there's two ways of cutting.
Let me just cut this in half.
There's two schools of thought.
When you're cutting, you're actually using primarily this
part-- you guys can see this, right--
that part of the blade.
Basically, the inch and a half, two inches closest to
the handle.
You very seldom use the front part, because there's so much
more control, right?
The fulcrum's so short here, so there's a control there.
And the idea of cutting is you either push the blade away or
you pull the blade towards you.
Both are equally good.
I'm more of a pusher, because there's something about
pulling a blade towards you I don't like.
So I like to push it.
Now, you'll see the key, of course, is
not your right hand.
But it's your left hand.
Because if you're holding your zucchini like this, you will
get your nail, then, of course, skin.
So what you do is you have fingernails.
And the fingernails--
that's like an inch away from the end of my zucchini, right?
And the blade goes up and down on my knuckles.
And that's why we're using this part of the knife.
I'm guiding my knife on my knuckles.
And that's also why I don't lift the blade all the way up,
because then I can cut my knuckles.
So by just pushing--
and when I stop, look how far I am from it.
There's no way I'm going to cut off the tip of my finger.
And it's also why I don't have to look, because I
know I just move back.
And then eventually you just keep going like that.
You just move back and you never-- agh!
Just kidding.
And you never have to look.
So that's all you have to do.
And it's actually easy, but you have to practice.
It's not something you're just going to pick up.
You can't play golf and squash in one day.
You have to actually practice.
And you see people use knives-- whoa my god, amazing.
I've been cooking for 25 years.
I've been sharpening cleavers with my grandfather for 38
years, since I was 10.
So I'm 48 now.
So I've been around knives.
But once you learn this technique, you'll realize,
wow, I could have a cooking show too, right?
It's not that hard.
Any questions on that?
Does everyone kind of do that?
Did anyone have their finger on the top?
Be honest, come on, I'm not going to-- this isn't
You're all professional chefs?
Yes, question?
Well, I mean, in the finale of "Next Iron Chef," which I was
in, and I lost.
I got third place, lost to the two Italian New York chefs,
which has a history.
And this stays amongst us, OK, because when I told my agent--
They asked me three years in a row to do it.
I'm like, no, no, no, pass.
My agents like, pass.
What do you do-- you've won an Emmy, you've been on TV.
Why are you going to go up against, in theory, no-name
chefs, because a lot of those chefs, no one knew of yet.
And he goes, why do it?
So finally, you know--
Sandy's my agent--
I said, I want to do it for me, to show that I still have
game against these 20-year-old guys with two
tattoos and four piercings.
And I'm incredibly competitive.
I mean, I race my kids up staircases and I win.
I'm like, doon!
And they're like, Dad!
And I'm like, what?
Dude, suck a--
you know.
And I do it because I won't always win.
One day-- they're 12 and 10.
And within five years, they're going to beat me.
My wife's like, you've got to give up.
I said, I'm not going to give up.
They're going to need to beat me.
So anyway.
and sometimes I let them win, because you don't want to be
so, so mean.
Although, I'd rather not.
But my agent said look, you're not going to win.
I'm like, thanks, Sandy.
And he'd be like, no, no, no.
You're a good chef.
It's that the winner's replacing Mario Batali, a New
York Italian chef.
And you are Chinese.
I'm like, OK, good point.
I'm like, I don't think it's going to matter.
It's the best chef wins.
All I'm saying is, in the finals, it was Marco Canora
and Marc Forgione, two New York Italian chefs.
I'm not saying it was rigged.
I'm just saying that's what it was.
When someone--
so Marco Canora in the finale was cutting bread with a
serrated knife.
Not a Kyocera, because it actually slipped.
Case in point, it slipped on the crust and it freaking got
him, like, [KNIFE SOUND].
I mean, it was--
you've seen the movie, right, "Mary"--
"A bleeder!" It was a bleeder, man.
It was frigging everywhere.
And so they had to stop tape.
And they first used a little--
not liquid nitrogen, but something really cold.
And they wrapped the crap out of it and then just kept
going, because blood was getting in the stuffing.
And so it was like, hey, try my turkey, you know?
So in those instances they had to stop.
But in all honesty, I did enjoy doing it.
It was six weeks, which I don't--
You asked why I don't do it again.
I don't have six more weeks.
It's just a long time commitment.
And to be honest, been there, done that.
It was fun to do.
Move on.
I'm going to buy Google or something.
Actually, you guys work for me.
No, I own a few hundred shares.
So thank you.
No, no, thank you for--
and go to $800, please.
It helps me.
Let me help you.
All right, here's a great tip for bell peppers.

And buy ones that are perfectly symmetric, because
they're easy to do.
And I'll show you why when I break this down.
Sometimes they're all craggedy and stuff.
A little bit harder for this trick.
So to break a bell pepper down, I take both ends off.
And this is still good.
You can still use it.
But watch this.
You take your knife and you put it on its side to bring--
can you guys see this?
Can you see that here?
So you lay it down and then you roll your bell pepper with
your knife flat on the board.

That's how you break down a bell pepper.
And obviously that would be trash.
But then if you're doing, let's say, a stir fry or
something, you can just cut it in half, julienne.
And bell peppers, I tend to put this way for the knife.
You could go this way.
And because these knives are so sharp, there's no issue.
It is just easier on your blade to go this way.
And just stack and do julienne like that.

And that's a great little trick that you'll use forever.
And it's not just a trick, it actually works.

Mincing an onion--
hey, these onions are defective, dude, there's a
slice in it.
So onion has peel.
Take both ends off.

Now, I find it's easiest to pick the onion up and just go
like this across once, because then you can take your knife
and you can peel off usually the first two layers.
When you take the first two layers, you're going to lose
one layer of onion, but you'll see that in that
one layer of onion--
like right here, I don't know if you can see that well.
That's the inner layer.
That one layer's still a little tough, so that's why
you only take off that one inner layer.
So then you have an onion.
Now, onion is nature's easiest thing to mince, because it's
in layers, right?
Shrek said it, right?
What was it, life is like an onion, you peel back?
You have all these layers.
You don't cut an onion all the way through, because an
onion's attached here.
So you guys can see this, right?
So I'm going to cut, what is that, like a quarter inch.
But I'm leaving this little bit of sliver so this onion
stays together for me.
And the reason I'm doing that is if I went all the way
through, this thing would fall apart.
And I'm trying to get a nice, uniform mince.
Now, old school-- and you guys can see this, right--
old school in France was then you take your knife and you
come straight across, perpendicular.
The problem with that, and if you're just learning, and if
you have a really sharp Kyocera knife, you go through,
it can slip and you can actually lose all your
Ouch, right?
So this is a technique that--
I don't know if I invented it, but I use it now because I
think it's smart.
I've never seen anyone else do it.
I'm actually going in now at like a 45 degree angle.
So then if it slips, it goes into the board, not my finger.
Now, a French chef would be like,
it's not perfect [FRENCH].
It's not.
It's not a perfect square.
Now, you can imagine the sides are at 45 degrees.
But is that going to affect the way the risotto tastes or
the stir fry tastes?
Of course not.
It actually--
if I think I remember my physics, I'm creating more
surface area now so it's actually better for flavor.
I'm going to use that.
But I do this because it's just safer.
So you come across this way.
And then once you get here, then you
just go straight down.
And when you do that, you get perfectly minced onions.
So again, this is not a technique--
and people always say, well, what do you do at the end?
So this is still minced.
This one is still minced, right?
Now, when I get to this end, that's
the end that's attached.
So I usually just do one more slice and I just turn it on
its side and then just go through it.
Again, this is cooking at home, guys.
No one's going to be like, your dinner was great, but
your onions were un-uniform at the end.
You can tell them to go--
you know.
The key is just gentle control.
That's the key.
And by the way, it does work if you're
left-handed, obviously.
There are knives, though, in Japan--
the sashimi knives are one-sided, and you're
you are SOL if you're left-handed.
Because you can't cut this way because it's forged that way.
I don't know, what else can I show you.
What else do you want to see?
How about a dragon?
No, I don't do that.
It is year of the dragon, so I want to tell you about-- so I
have Blue Ginger.
Has anyone been to Blue Ginger?
One person?
They don't let you out?

Thank you.
I hope it was good.
I've had Blue Ginger 14 years by design.
All my chef friends, Mario Batali and Emeril Lagassi and
[INAUDIBLE], they all have 15, 20, 30 restaurants.
I've had one for 14 years for two reasons.
One, for quality of product.
I never want to ever hear that Blue Ginger used to be a great
That would actually crush me and I would consider myself a
failure if I used to have great food and then don't.
And two, quality of life.
And like what--
I love what Google does and gives you basically
anything you want.
And I went into your Google store and I just stuffed my
backpack and it was all free.
It was awesome.
You guys are fantastic.
Thank you, Cliff, that was really nice of you.
He distracted the cashier and I like--
we got all these little things that you stick into the side.
It was awesome.
But I've given in, so to speak.
But I'm opening up a new place this--
before, hopefully, February 10--
and I'll tell you why that's significant--
called Blue Dragon.
And it's going to be an Asian gastropub, small--
80-seat, 2000 square feet-- in Boston proper, not Wellesley,
where my current restaurant is.
And gastropub, you may not know what it is.
It's very popular, obviously, in London started.
And then Dublin.
And now New York.
It's just really good pub food.
So we'll have panko-crusted fish and chips.
We're going to have Asian sloppy joe sliders for $1
behind the bar.
We'll have bahn mi for lunch.
We'll have new style sashimis.
We're going to do hacked Peking duck.
So real Peking duck done the traditional way-- you blow it
up and blah blah.
But instead of this fancy carve the skin then carve the
meat, which takes a real skill, for one, but is very
time consuming, we're just going to give a whole or 1/2
duck, hack it Chinese style in the cleaver so you get bone
and skin and meat all in one.
So of course we have
[INAUDIBLE], the moo shu wrappers.
Then we'll have cucumber and hoisin and all that.
But it'll be a really fun place place with great draft
beers, great cocktails.
We're going to have dragon bowls, like back in the day
with long straws and you get completely hammered.
And it'll be fun.
And so that hope-- but that has to, has to open up before
February 10, because right now we're year of the dragon.
I am a dragon.
So I'm either 12, 24, 36, or 48.
Or 60.
I didn't want to even put that out there.
And I do not own an AARP card, just so you know.
But if you know Chinese folklore,
there's five elements.
It's year of the water dragon right now, which happens once
every 60 years.
So I don't know about you, I'm not going to live
another 60, I doubt.
That'd be 108.
That'd be-- really, that's a lot of soy sauce.
So this is my only time in my life I'm going
to see water dragon.
So hence the name Blue Dragon.
So if we open beyond February 10, we have to
call it Blue Snake.

Better than Blue Rat.
Blue Rat would be a horrible name, I think, for a
Let's go to Blue Rat.
Oh, yeah, I hear they have--
That'd be horrible.
All right, any questions?
Do I have any plans opening in California?

I love San Francisco.
I got married in San Francisco.
My parents live in Palo Alto.
My dad is a rocket scientist, literally.
He helps raise money for the aeronautical school.
He's the foremost designer of graphite
material in the world--
composite materials.
The new Airbus 380, Trek bicycles, golf clubs--
everything's graphite now.
So the Bay Area would be the place if I was going to do
something outside of Boston.
The challenge is then I have to come here.
Which is no issue, I love coming here.
But then I'm really not in the other place at all.
My next--
this other restaurant's four miles away or 5 miles away.
I can go back and forth.
But if I build one out here--
a Blue Ginger concept, no, because that
food is fine dining.
And either it's awesome or it's no good, because a lot of
good cooks and sous chefs run it.
Blue Dragon the concept, maybe, because that's going to
be much simpler food.
And that's something that I could see maybe coming out.
And if it was, I would absolutely look around here,
maybe even more than San Francisco proper.
Because San Francisco proper is packed with good
And a lot of great people that love food live out here.
I mean, some of you might live in San Fran Cisco.
But I'm sure a majority of you guys live out here.
And Palo Alto's a fantastic--
that's like heaven.
I don't think I've ever seen a cloud in Palo Alto.
I'm there all the time.
And you have that great Thai restaurant, which name escapes
me, in Palo Alto, on the main street.
It's a woman chef.
Really good Thai food.
But the best Thai food, for the record--
you guys travel--
the best Thai food in North America, Las Vegas.
A restaurant called Lotus of Siam.
It is freaking unbelievably good-- better than any Thai
food I've had anywhere else in the country.
Really, I mean it's-- and it's so funny.
10 minutes off the Strip.
And it used to be next to all these--
I don't know what it means--
XXX stores.
It must be a website.
And a wig shop.
So it's in a strip mall.
And the taxi drops you off.
First time I was there, I was like, are we in the right
place, dude?
You know, I'm making sure I have my
wallet, looking around.
And you walk in.
It's this little Shangri La.
They have actually doubled its size.
But it is just delicious Thai food.
So if in Vegas--
to be honest, it's the only reason I go to Vegas.
I'll go there for something or other reason, to cook or
something and gamble--
I'm Chinese so I gamble.
But that's worth the trip.
It's fast for you guys.
You get there in, what an hour and a half?
Where are you, San Francisco?
Yeah, hour and a half, right?
So anyway.
Any other questions, comments?
Easy mistake-- yeah, the common mistakes?

That's a great question, Cliff.
I think people get scared when they cook scallops
and fish in a pan.
They think they have to use nonstick pans
so it doesn't stick.
That's not true.
And again, in one of these videos, I show you
how you sear fish.
Get a good pan.
That's key.
Did my voice just break?
It's that time of the year.
All-Clad is my favorite, because they're thick and
they're three-ply.
And they have aluminum.
The expensive ones have copper inside, but this is aluminum.
I'm talking about the interior, right?
And it conducts heat really well.
So in those pans, not in nonstick, you make sure you
pre-heat on medium-high heat for a minute or so.
When you add the oil-- and I use Canola oil--
the oil should dance, meaning it should hit the pan and kind
of move around.
If it smokes, it's a little too hot.
Don't panic.
If it actually start smoking a lot, add a lot of oil.
And that will cool the pan down.
Then dump that oil into a stainless steel pan.
It's still good, it just helped cool it off.
Don't panic and add water or something stupid.
That would be, ding, not good.
But the oil should dance.
And when you add the oil to a hot pan, your seasoned piece
of salmon or scallops, when you add it to the pan, will
not stick at all.
It's when you add salmon or scallops or something to a pan
that's cold and you add oil to the cold pan and then heat it
up, it's not the same thing.
Because the oil changes its properties when
it hits a hot pan.
And it's much more viscous.
It does stick--
and this is the same for all you guys that like to grill--
don't do the rookie move and try to see if
its stuck or not.
You can tell if its stuck.
Don't try to un-stick it, because you're just
going to rip it.
Let it sit there.
Let it cook.
Let it crisp up.
It will un-stick itself, on the grill or in a pan.
You might have to take a little bit effort.
But to be honest in a restaurant when we're cooking
fish and scallops, it's 70% cooked on one side.
And you kind of flip it on the other side and it's gone.
It's not 50-50.
So it's OK that that one side gets that nice, brown, almost
crunchy caramelized flavor.
Especially scallops.
I use that as an example because those will shred.
If you try to un-stick a scallop, especially the
dayboats and the Taylor Bays, the small ones, if the pan's
no good, it's going to just shred up.
Non-sticks are fine, but you can't get good caramelization
with a nonstick.
So I like real pans.
Woks, I love too.
One of my favorite tools or appliances at home is a cast
iron wok, this big red one made by Creuset.
And it's thick.
Because we have a Wolf range, which is a great range.
But the burner's 20,000 BTUs.
My wok burners at Blue Ginger are 80,000 BTUs apiece.
So that heat is so intense, nothing is
ever going to stick.
But to generate that heat at home, if you use an All-Clad
wok is good.
But Creusets are even thicker, so they can
really get super hot.
And the other tip is make sure your wok doesn't have the wood
handle or plastic handle.
Make sure it's stainless steel all the way, because the trick
you have is you put it into your oven at 550 degrees for
10 minutes to preheat the wok.
Then take it out-- obviously with a towel.
Obviously, leave the towel on the handle, because someone's
going to come over and grab it.
In France, they put flour on the handle.
And I was in France the first time like,
Chef, what's that for?
I burned the crap out--
It would've been nice if he told me, but there's a
learning curve.
They have those great suede kind of slip-on things.
And you put it on the handle.
Those are the best, because they won't fall off.
But once you pre-heat it at 550, then you could put it on
your hot flame.
That flame will keep that wok screeching hot.
So that "ch" sound you get when you wok stir, you want to
always maintain.
Quite often in a lot of recipe books when you put in the
whole recipe, [FIZZLING SOUND].
Then you're braising.
It still will taste good, but you're not going to get
everything that wok stirring is great, which keeps
vegetables crisp and seals in the flavor of
the meat and whatnot.
So you want to keep that "ch" sound.
And by the way, I kind of wish I had a pan,
but flipping food--
Really easy, but practice, just like cutting.
You have to actually take dried rice or dried beans,
frijoles, and put them--
a cup.
And all you do-- and I don't have a pan, but all you do--
and you'll do this.
Go to your back yard, where no one's watching you.
Don't do it here in front of your peers, or
you'll spill it.
Just pull the pan, but at the very last moment you pull, you
just flip the front edge towards you.
Within one minute, you'll be flipping
your food in a cascade.
And we do that not to show off.
We do that because in a real kitchen, we don't have places
to put tongs and spoons and stuff.
And we're using both hands to quickly mix stuff.
It mixes stuff better and it also doesn't break stuff up
like a spoon and tongs would.
So there's a reason we flip food this way.
But it's a great technique.
And again, I show it in the book.
It's a great technique.
Again, don't grab the pan like this, it'll go everywhere.
Is very--
it's like almost everything.
Do it softly, in a way.
I mean, when you hit a keyboard hard, you're not
typing any faster, right?

Top three restaurants.
That's so hard, but I'll try.
One's closed, which is El Bulli, which is Ferran Adria's
restaurant in La Rosas.
So that's not really fair.
I'm not going to tell you how great my 37, 5 and 1/2 hour
course meal was because you can't get there anymore.
But it was.
Thomas Keller, right here at French Laundry.
He's one of the best in the world, not just the country.
Much respect for him.
Great friend, amazing chef.
Just so freaking disciplined.
You can walk-- and he does quite often in his kitchen,
walks around in white socks.
No shoes.
Because his kitchen floors are that clean.
Which is a Japanese mentality.
When I worked in Japan, in Osaka, we had rubber boots on.
And we were hosing down everything during service.
It wasn't just afterwards.
But I think Keller's unbelievable.

Best pastry chef in the world is Pierre Herme.
Pierre Herme, I got to work with in Paris at Fauchon.
He was the youngest executive pastry chef
ever at 28 at Fauchon.
Just a big, jolly guy, although serious as hell.
And he had-- just to talk about perfection--
he had a box, huge box, next to the "four," the oven, where
he has five layers like a gigantic pizza oven.
We do all our croissants and all these [INAUDIBLE]
en pomme, the apple-filled ones, and pan au chocolat, and
things like that.
They were twice the price at Fauchon than any other
boulangerie in Paris.
So there were five francs apiece rather than 2.50.
We're talking 15, 18 years ago.
And if it had a blemish--
like a micron of croissant skin off, in the box.
And he had one rule-- eat as much as anything you
want, all the time.
So when you first get there, there's all these amazing
Belgian chocolates, croissants.
And you just stuff you face and after a week
you don't eat anymore.
It's like when you first get to Google, you're like, oh my
god, oh my god, oh my god.
And you eat everything.
And then it's like, oh, lobster.
Eh, veal.
It's like Alaska-- eagle!
And then after three days, you're like, eagle.
Oh, two eagles.
You know.
But PIerre--
I have a funny story, Pierre.
This was '86.
And a lot of you--
I don't know, some of you weren't alive.
So I got there like 5:30 in the morning and he was
sweating and swearing at his [INAUDIBLE], which is a
gigantic copper pot, 220 volts.
And he was cooking this really wet, nasty-looking stuff.
I'm like-- and I speak fluent French.
I, you know, Pierre, what are you doing?
And he's just swearing.
I've never seen him mad and swearing.
He basically told me this was fresh pumpkin and he was
commissioned to make 20 pumpkin pies at like $80 a
pop, Fauchon style, for Thanksgiving.
So either some rich American client or something wanted 20
pumpkin pies.
And if you've ever tried to cook fresh pumpkin, it's just
a watery mess.
And you can never get that great puree you
get out of a can.
So he's swearing and yelling.
I'm like, Chef, I can help you.
And I was the lowest out of 20 cooks.
Basically, you know, what can you, lowly cook, do for me?
And I'm like, I can get you cans of pumpkin puree.
And he's like, "que?"
Because my dad, again, he was chief scientist, but he was at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, so civilian, so being a
SES senior executive, brigadier general level, he
had access to the PX, the US Embassy.
I'm like, I can get you can.
You want the cans or not?
He goes, yeah, yeah.
So I get to the embassy, we call the
people, they let me in.
I bring two cases back of Libby's pumpkin pie mix.
And he opens them up and he's like, ooh, [FRENCH].
Because it's actually really good, right?
I mean, Libby's is the best, in my opinion.
It's got the little sweetness.
It's got the cinnamon.
And then he's like, [FRENCH]--
what's the recipe?
I'm like, recipe's right here.
He made that recipe off of Libby's can-- evaporated milk,
sugar, this, eggs.
Of course, his pastry crust was awesome, pate sucree--
It was actually the best pumpkin pie I've
ever had in my life.
But here's the best pastry chef in the world reading a
Libby's can.
So fricking funny.
True story.
True story.
And one of the moments I thought I was going to be
actually literally killed by a chef--
it never happened-- was also Pierre Herme, obviously a
great mentor of mine.
But he also was famous for blowing sugar.
So I don't know if you know about blowing sugar, but just
like blowing glass, you get sugar so fricking hot--
I don't care who you are unless you're Iron Man, it's
so hard to touch.
But you can make a ball, you can take straw, whoosh, you
can blow it and you can make anything, just like glass.
So he made-- and it took him like a week and a half, which
is a long time for him--
made a Mickey Mouse.
So this was when France was trying to get Euro Disneyland.
So there was a beaut--
to the freaking T--
black buttons, the ears, the whole nine yards.
Just to give him a photograph, he can do it.
Gigantic Mickey Mouse, right?
And he was very proud of it.
[INAUDIBLE] were like, oh, my god, (WITH FRENCH ACCENT)
Mickey, Mickey.
That's Mickey in French.
And he put it in the back room to let it dry two days before
it goes up into the room.
So this is where all the freezers were.
Yeah, uh-oh.
And so I'm back there and I don't know what--
you know, sometimes you just do things and
you're like, WTF--
that's "where's the food," by the way, just in case.
I said, god, I wanted to touch his belly.
So I touched his belly.
And just like in "Animal House," right, when John
Belushi's like, whoa, a--
my fingerprint of my thumb ended up
right on Mickey's belly.
I'm like, holy sh--
I'm looking around, make sure no one saw me.
I mean, he would have killed me, a week and a half of work.
And I just scurried away.
And for the next three or four days, I woke up every night
screaming and sweating and crying.
And the dream nightmare was he's lining us all up.
Let me see your thumb.
And they're like this.
I literally thought, should I burn my thumbs and then, oh,
[FRENCH], Chef.
I was like, cut my thumbs off.
I didn't know what I--
and then, fortunately it got into the window and then you
never saw it again.
And you can't patch it.
The color's in the glass, in the sugar, so you couldn't
have painted over it.
I mean, I was just so SOL, but he never saw it.
So hopefully he doesn't see this video either.
Thanks, [CHINESE].
Nice to see you.
All right, sir.
Oh, you know, let me answer--
one Japanese restaurant, Nobu Matsuhisa.
Matsuhisa, in LA, which I just was again.
His original, I think, is phenomenal.
If money is of no object and Larry's taking you out to
dinner, go to Masa in New York City, where its $400 a person
for omikase, before sake.
You'll drop $800, $1,000 each.
So you really need Larry.
But it's pristine sushi, sashami.
It's uni risotto with white shaved truffles.
It's foie gras shabu shabu, which I know you can't have
here anymore.
And best Chinese is hard.
It's so hard.

Best dim sum, I think, in San Francisco, is a small place
called Ton Kiang, T-O-N K-I-A-N-G. It's
Geary and 21st Avenue.
Ton Kiang, fantastic dim sum.
Wu Kong is fantastic.
Yong Sing is fantastic downtown.
But Ton Kiang in the avenues.
Clement Street's the new Chinatown, right?
We lived up in the avenues.
And note this, though.
A block more north, on 22nd between 22nd and 23rd is a
great place called Tommy's, the best margarita you'll ever
have in your life.
I'll be there tonight.
Because actually, if you're in San Francisco, come to see the
squash tournament.
There's a huge squash tournament down there in--
Embarcadero, is it?
Something like that.
Outdoor squash, the best squash players in the world.
Anyway, and I'm a big squasher.
And again, my brother-in-law's a coach at Stanford.
So we're all going to Tommy's tonight.
But the bartenders have arms like this, because they
squeeze every lime to order for every margarita.
So anyway.
I could go on and on and on.
But those are good.
Robichoun, of course, fantastic in France.
But those are the tops.
Last 20 years, what's happened to food?

A lot and nothing, which is good and bad.
There was this whole molecular gastronomy the last 15 years--
exploding this and all of that.
And liquid nitrogen.
And if you can do it well, it's genius.
So Ferran Adria, Jose Andres.
So Jose Andres at Minibar in DC, is literally an 8-seat
kind of sushi bar.
And there you can get a fantastic meal.
It's impossible to get a reservation, but you can
Google it somehow.
Closed Saturdays.
No, just kidding.

And there's a guy named Grant Achatz in Chicago, Alinea.
So when you do it right, it's really the most amazing,
extraordinary dining experience ever.
But when you do it wrong, it's stupid.
Bubble gum taco?
Why would you do a bubble gum taco?
There's no reason to.

And I can't do it.
I mean, I'll do pineapple caviar, because you can use
things that-- but that's for dessert.
But it's not my forte at all.
It takes an army of people.
And then when you do it well, you charge a fortune because
you have an army of people.
But Alinea right now, is probably the best of all the
places that do it in the world.
There is Noma, in Copenhagen, who's rated
best chef in the world.
He does.
Rene Redzepi does a little bit too.
I've never been there.
It's too far.

The whole local movement--
you being Californians are the strongest, which is great,
because you have a 12-month growing season, so you can
actually do it.
But sourcing locally, using all the local, fishing
sustainably, that's always been the way in
Europe, to be honest.
We just went away with it because we discovered canning
and preservation.
And freezing.
So when America discovered that in the mid-1900s, that
kind of ruined everything.
Because up until 90 years ago, it used to be all your food
came within 100 miles to your house, period.
But then once you brought in frozen TV dinners and canning,
Campbell's soup and this, then you could get it from
So thankfully people are realizing--
and we have a four or five month growing season.
And there's lots of tubers and stuff in the winter as well.
So even in Boston, we can do as much as we can.
I'm a huge--
look, if you get organic local, that's the best.
But an organic tomato from California or from Napa
delivered to Boston versus a local tomato that I can get in
Lexington, local is better.
One, it tastes better, because you lose so much nutrient
balance and flavor in the air coming over.
Two, it's so much better for the world because you're not
taking gas.
I mean, I used to serve Fiji water.
That's stupid.
Water from Fiji?
The amount of energy and waste it takes to bring water from
Fiji when I have water right here--
they have these great systems that you guys have.
Use your tap water and filter it.
Add bubbles.
So I think that movement is here to stay because people
are realizing it's just smarter.
And combination because of recession and times are
tighter and family structure is the topic of every
conversation, regardless of whether it's the political
season, but it always is, is dining family and cooking more
family style.
And cooking more simple food, which is a lot like this book.
I do not try to be a fancy fine-dining chef at all in the
cookbook, because who wants to cook that way?
It's really more about how can you entertain, how can you
make great, tasty food cheaply?
Most of these dishes are $20 or less for four people.
Five minutes left.
Cutting me off, wow.

There's nothing, I think, more sharing than cooking.
And if you're a father or mother or a boyfriend,
girlfriend, and you actually cook for your spouse or your
family, you're giving something.
And it's cliche, but you are giving your love.
You're giving part of you and offering it.
And it doesn't take that much skill if you just follow a
basic recipe.
Like, my kids scream and love Brussels sprouts, cauliflower,
bok choy, broccoli--
anything, because what they smell first is oil and garlic
or oil and onion.
That smell, like chocolate chip cookies and baking bread,
is just smell that is an aphrodisiac.
They're like, oh my god, what do we got?
They're like, Brussels sprouts, yeah!
I mean, I don't know how many kids-- you know, yeah,
Brussels sprouts, high five, you know?
Because they know it's going to be coated
in this garlic oil.
And they will eat anything.
And look, they're 10 and 12.
Do they eat chicken fingers and French fries?
They're normal kids.
And do I sometimes have drive through, I'm like--
Oh, you're!
No, I'm not.
No I'm not.
Glasses don't help for some reason.
Aren't you the--?
No, I'm not.
Give me the fingers.

And that's something I'm very serious about.
Don't give your kids "kids' food." What is kids' food?
Give them the food you're eating, develop-- especially
at one and two years old, once they start--
give them real food.
Don't give them a tablespoon of sambal, no.
But give them real food.
Let them--
But my 12-year-old, David, he will out-eat me in chili now.
And we go to Sichuan restaurants.
There's mala soup.
It looks like the Valdez oil slick of chili oil
on top of the soup.
And we just kill it.
And he loves it.
But his palate's been developed for 11 and 1/2
years, literally since he was a baby.
So build palate and then kids will appreciate all foods.
And look, I like chicken fingers and French fries once
a month, maybe.
And the other thing--
it's a side note about food and nutrition.
Well, two things.
Follow me at @chefmingtsai if you Tweet.
So do that please.
Two, go to TED.com T-E-D-- you know the website.
You guys are on the web a lot.
So TED.com would have actually a Larry page or a Bill Gates
or a Bill Clinton or a Dr. Maya Angelou.
They're the leaders of any industry
talking about something.
Search Doctor William Li, L-I. He has started something
called the Angiogenesis Foundation, started by Judah
Folkman 20 years ago.
Angiogenesis, in a nutshell, is going to be the next 50
years of how we're going to keep disease-free.
You are what you eat.
And he has proven that if you eat the right groups of food--
some are logical-- green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, a
certain type of olive oil, cooked tomatoes over raw
tomatoes, dark chicken meat over white chicken meat--
which is a great thing from chefs' point of view, because
it's cheaper, tastes better, all that--
because there's K2 in dark chicken meat, which helps your
blood better.
Angiogenesis is something naturally
occurring in your body.
Menstruation, placenta creation, scab formation is
You need it balanced and you're fine.
When it's imbalanced by a bad diet, the blood vessels go to
cells you don't want to get fed, which are cancer cells
and fatty cells.
You get a cancer tumor, you get obesity.
So if you eat the right groups of stuff, you can actually
never get sick.
You'll never need a drug.
So that's powerful stuff.
And Dr. Li and I have partnered together.
And we're trying to help, actually.
We want to change the world by food.
Because drugs now, you develop a drug, it costs $20 million
to develop the drug.
By the time it's devolved, it's already half obsolete
because the disease has changed.
And two, you have this long of things that happen to you if
you take the drug, including death and suicide.
Which are pretty bad side effects, I think.
I mean, it might have cured this, but now you're suicidal.
Anyway, I think there's something to
be said about that.
Any other questions?
I think my time is up.
So listen, I'm here to sign books.
You don't have to buy books.
But if you do, my children may go to college.
So thank you.
I have Katie back there, Kyocera, I've known for well
over a decade.
We have three of these knives.
They're incredibly affordable now.
Kyocera, when I started with them they were twice the cost
of Wusthof and whatnot.
They're the same price.
This is our newest.
This is a micro-serrated.
So for tomatoes or bread, unbelievably sharp knives.
They're all incredibly sharp.
Christmas is December 25 this year.
Hanukkah's right around that too.
Get a sharpener.
And I thank you all very much.
Appreciate it.