Mandarin Chef Wins World Championship

BRAMPTON, ONT | Monday, December 20, 2004

At the 5th World Championship of Chinese Cuisine last month, Chef Don He once again proved himself to be a world-class talent in the kitchen. Shortly after winning the Platinum Award at the International Chinese Food Display Contest in September, Don participated in the World Championship in Guangzhou, along with 500 other contestants from 18 countries. The competition is held every four years by The World Association of Chinese Cuisine. Representing Mandarin Restaurants, Don won the gold medal for hot dishes, and the silver medal for food carving. Don knew that the food he prepared for the competition had to be special. The dishes, he explained, were judged not only for their taste, but for appearance and innovation as well. He delivered a distinctive taste, but also used colour and fine cutting techniques to attain the victory. For his silver in food carving, Don credits his artistic ability and creativity. Of course, his extensive background in carving didn't hurt. Don was instructed by the well-known chef Jia Xiang Zhao from Tianjin and the carving teachers from Qixin Culinary School in Shengyang. After developing this solid foundation in cooking and food carving, he started his career as a chef in Shengyang. Don came to Canada in 1995 to participate in a cooking expo. He was granted permanent residence in 1996. Two years later, he started to work at Mandarin. He was named Kitchen Managing Partner of the new Mandarin in Barrie in the spring of 2003. "At Mandarin, I've acquired more guts," he says. "I have become more self confident, and my cooking techniques have become more proficient." With the volume of customers at Mandarin, proficiency is a must at the Chinese-Canadian restaurant. Mandarin features an all-you-can eat buffet, as well as -la-carte and take-out menus, and Don has risen to the challenge of turning out delicious, fresh dishes, day after day. Upon his triumphant return from the competition on November 22, he was greeted at the airport by 20 enthusiastic managing partner trainees armed with flowers and congratulatory signs. Two of Mandarin's founding partners, James Chiu and K.C. Chang, were also on hand. "Our entire organization is thrilled for him," said Chiu. "We wanted to give him a hero's welcome and show him how proud we are!" Don was touched by the support. "Winning this award is an honour not only for myself, but for over 1600 employees of Mandarin Restaurant," he said. He also thanked his co-managing partners at Mandarin Barrie and his family for their encouragement. Since opening the first restaurant in Brampton in 1979, Mandarin has built a reputation for quality food and service. There are currently 16 Mandarin restaurants across Southern Ontario and more in the planning stages. The next scheduled Mandarin Restaurant will open in mid 2005. For more information, visit Mandarin's website at

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