At ABC Cocina and Kitchen, 90 percent of our produce and vegetables come from Union Square, and that's all from upstate New York farmers. We are simply committed to this idea of local, organic food.
When I went to London, they told me I spoke with a funny accent - English with a Chinese accent.
No one can understand my accent!
The dish that changed my life was tom yum kum. You start with a pot of water, add lemongrass, lime leaves, lime juice, coriander, mushrooms, and shrimp; ten minutes later, you have the most incredible, intense soup.
I landed in 1980 in Bangkok, and I stopped to eat ten times between the airport and the hotel. It was all lemongrass and ginger and chilies.
You've got to be in your kitchens, or it all falls apart.
I spent seven years in France. Then, I went to Asia for five years. I came to London in 1984 and then America in 1985. In 1991, I opened my first restaurant in New York City.
For people in London, Asian flavors are always part of the culture, more than in New York.
At lunchtime, our kitchen was like a mini restaurant: my grandmother and mother had to cook for as many as 25 people - extended family plus 10 employees. We ate a lot of cabbage and a lot of potatoes.