Andrew Wong, chef-patron of the restaurant A. Wong, in Pimlico
A Michelin star chef will speak at the launch of an MDX academic's latest project.
Andrew Wong, who is chef-patron of two-Michelin-star restaurant A. Wong in London, will talk about his family's experiences of food and migration at the launch of Dr Rui Su's project Taste of Memory this month.
The year-long project will interview more than 10 British-Chinese chefs about their experiences of migration and how they have adapted to life in Britain.
Mr Wong said: “I’m really excited to take part in such a worthwhile project as the Taste of Memory.
"Chinese restaurants are a familiar part of British life and British-Chinese chefs have contributed a great deal to our culture here.
"It is valuable that we hear and preserve the migration stories from those chefs.
“I’m hugely proud of my Chinese heritage and my family’s migration journey and I look forward to hearing other memories from the community.”
"These multi-layered representations offer insights into Chinese everyday life, entrepreneurial spirit, family histories, cultural exchanges, resilience, and resistance." Dr Rui Su, Senior Lecturer in Tourism
The project will culminate in an interactive public exhibition at the London Metropolitan Archives, at which visitors will be able to create their own memories by tasting Chinese food as well as viewing the chefs' stories, next year.
Dr Su, Senior Lecturer in Tourism, said: "Migration identities are continuously reconstituted and maintained through collective memories.
"The representation of these identities faces challenges from the cost of living crisis, labour shortages and debts from the pandemic.
"Their transnational memories will stimulate debate and contribute to policy-making on immigration in today’s multicultural society."
Mr Wong, who took over and revamped his parents' Cantonese restaurant in Pimlico, will take part in a discussion on taste and memory with Andrew Kwok, director of The Good Earth chain of Chinese restaurants.
Mr Kwok said: "Food helps define a culture and gives insight into the culture’s origins, development, persons and their personality.
"My father was one of the UK settlers from Hong Kong in the 1950s and founded The Good Earth group of restaurants in the 1970s, and as a second generation in the family business, I am proud of my heritage and humbled by my fathers’ journey."
Four MDX students from the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries will create a short animated film featuring Chinese cooking ingredients as part of the project and Dr Su is looking for volunteers to learn how to record oral history and interview the chefs, as well as gather personal items from them to display in a collage at the exhibition.
Records, prints, photos and maps showcasing the Chinese community in London will be available to view at the launch event, which anyone can watch online.
A Chinese merchant sailor, who served as chief cook, carves meat in the kitchen of the Chinese sailors' convalescent home in Liverpool (Ministry of Information Second World War Official Collection, 1943)
Dr Su said: "These multi-layered representations offer insights into Chinese everyday life, entrepreneurial spirit, family histories, cultural exchanges, resilience, and resistance."
She will introduce the project at the launch and Professor Martin Board, Interim Dean, Faculty of Business and Law, and Professor Stephen Syrett, Deputy Dean, Research & Knowledge Exchange, Faculty of Business and Law, will also give speeches.
Dr Jakob Klein, of SOAS Food Studies Centre, who will take part in the panel discussion with Mr Wong and Mr Kwok, said: "Chinese restaurant food is part of the taste of Britain, but the experiences, creativity and skills of the makers of this food are poorly understood.
"By inviting British-Chinese chefs to share their memories in a public forum, the Taste of Memory project will widen the recognition and discussion of the historic, present and future roles of Chinese communities in the making of British culture."
The British Academy has provided funding for the project, which will see Dr Su work with the London Metropolitan Archives, Ming-Ai (London) Institute and the University of Nottingham.
Chungwen Li, Dean of the Ming-Ai Institute in London, said: “We aim to promote and preserve British-Chinese cultural heritage and the new oral history collection from the Taste of Memory project undoubtedly will be valuable for future researchers to discover and understand more about British-Chinese communities.
“As a charitable educational organisation based in North London, we have a long-standing partnership with Middlesex University in providing Chinese cultural heritage programmes.”
Symeon Ververidis, of London Metropolitan Archives, said: "“London Metropolitan Archives is pleased to support Middlesex University’s British Academy Shape ‘Taste of Memory’ project."
The launch event will take place at the London Archives at 2.15pm on Monday, November 20.
The public can attend online by visiting https://shorturl.at/jwxST.