Question about Asian Rest BOH OPS

Joined Jan 31, 2012
Greetings guys.
As many here know, I've cooked/prepped in several restaurants over the years, including american, italian, mexican, QSR, banquets, catering, etc. One I havent done (professionally I mean) is Asian cooking.

I learned all of those in a few weeks in the kitchen I was working in at the time. My question is, how seriously hard is it to learn (from the chef of course) to execute a typical asian menu, Hibachi, tempura, stir fry etc.?

I was asked by a family member (the manager) to please help with a friend's short handed asian owned restaurant, only to have the owners say...."well you dont have actual asian experience, it takes many years to learn to cook Asian cuisine, like 7 or 8 years of full time training. We're gonna bring our Uncle in to help us. "

Does it smell funny to any of you?

Joined Oct 31, 2012
Not to me. Asian cuisine is as complex in many ways as the classic French/continental repertoire.
In other threads we've discussed authenticity in any ethnic cuisine and how difficult that is to nail down. '
I don't want to write the long post that's in my head but long story short, don't take it personally.
Let's reverse this. You're running an American restaurant in Asia and are short handed. You can get your American uncle or you can take the Asian guy who has never been to the US but is willing to learn.
I'm reminded of a comedian who had a bit on knowing a good Chinese restaurant and how people like to say to look for the one that's crowded with Chinese. He then goes on to say that that doesn't work because McDonalds is always crowded and what does that tell you?
Much funnier when he tells it.
Anyway, you could offer to cut vegetables or do something simple just to get your foot in the door but don't be offended.
Joined Nov 27, 2012
it's more about trusting the palate more than anything else. uncle has been eating "asian"(very broad category there) his whole life. he should have the general flavor profile in his head, you would be big unknown to them as good as you might be. And yes putting your foot in the door would be good way to start.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
I'm not sure what kind of Asian restaurant we're talking about here. In a typical American Chinese takeout there is one wok guy and a prep person. Everything is cut fresh and brought to the cart by the prep person and the wok person does the cooking and final seasoning. In a typical Hong Kong style "big wok" restaurant with all the traditional dishes you have to know what goes in what in what proportion. That's a bit of the learning part.
Joined Sep 17, 2018
I'm guessing you are talking about a chinese/thai style place but it reminded me of a saying I saw in some documentary once about sushi making and it taking x amount of years before they cook was even allowed to make the rice, then x amount for the fish and so on. I'm not sure of the exact saying and all I could find was this:


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8 Lee has some discussion of the operation of the Chinese American restaurant industry. There's kind of an underground circuit of connections that feeds staff into the business and creates the samey sameness of so many of these places.

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