Why Hong Kong? Winners of Ken Hom – Lee Kum Kee Scholarship to experience city’s unique culinary culture.
The winners of the 2021 Ken Hom – Lee Kum Kee Scholarship will enjoy a bespoke trip to Hong Kong to experience the city’s unique culinary culture.
Hosted by Lee Kum Kee, the trip will include a visit to the company’s Hong Kong production plant, to learn the secrets of their authentic and delicious Chinese sauces. The winners will join cookery classes at a leading Chinese culinary institute and will be immersed in the Hong Kong food scene, with visits to a range of restaurants and street food stalls. Lee Kum Kee aims to give the recipients of this year’s scholarship a formative and unforgettable experience, which will demonstrate their commitment to developing the talents of those building careers in hospitality and to promoting Chinese culinary culture to the world.
Ken Hom was in no doubt that the winners of the scholarship should visit Hong Kong, a city that has played a significant role in his personal and professional life. Although Ken was brought up in the US, in Chicago’s Chinatown, he had a very strong sense of Hong Kong from an early age. His mother, who was from Canton, considered Hong Kong to be a South China, Cantonese city. Conversations at home with family and friends often centred on what was happening in Hong Kong, who was going off for a visit, who was returning, what was new. And there was consensus amongst all, that there was no place like Hong Kong for good food.
When Ken made his first visit to Hong Kong in 1980 he experienced a strong feeling of déjà vu. Whilst he expected it to seem strange and exotic, with new sounds, smells and flavours, he actually felt immediately at home. He met young chefs who were respectful of ancient Chinese culinary traditions, whilst being open to new influences; he loved the endless range of dining options, from street food to the grand cuisine offered in dining rooms of elite hotels; and he spent days wondering through the food markets, which he still believes are the best in the world.
Ken’s first tv series for the BBC, Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery, involved him filming in Hong Kong in 1983 (it was broadcast one year later), after which his media career took off. He returned on numerous occasions to lead culinary tours from the US.
Ken Hom filming in Hong Kong – 1883 – watch here.
In 1989 Ken published his fourth book, ‘Fragrant Harbor Taste: the new Chinese Cooking of Hong Kong’. In its introduction, he reflects on his love for the city’s food:
“That Hong Kong offers some the world’s finest Chinese cuisine–and not only Chinese– is the consensus opinion of food critics the world over. I am in full agreement with this judgment. It is a venerable cuisine whose concepts, techniques, and recipes are deeply rooted in the rich and ancient traditions of the grand Chinese food culture. What is most interesting to me, however, and what is a source of delectation to diners in Hong Kong today, are the innovations that are being introduced into that cuisine.”
The winners of the 2021 Ken Hom – Lee Kum Kee Scholarship will travel to Hong Kong in late January 2022.
Hong Kong street food: Winners will experience Hong Kong’s iconic street food markets, which offer authentic Caontonese dishes and capitalise on the easy availability of a wide range of ingredients.