About Tony Choo

Choo Min Leong Tony

Ever since he was a child, Tony had been interested in cooking. Even though he just heated up leftover food, he enjoyed every single moment he spent in the kitchen.

In 1991, Tony dropped out of the Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Center and embarked on his journey to master the art of Chinese cuisine. The renowned school at that time heavily focused on Western cuisine, which was not what Tony envisioned for. He chose to stick close to his roots and learn about the basics of Chinese cuisine, even though that meant working as a helper in several Cantonese restaurants.

In 2003, while working for Singapore’s TungLok Group of restaurants, Tony was chosen to spearhead the opening of the company’s new eatery “My Humble House” in Beijing. The restaurant made a significant impact on the Chinese capital’s dining scene as soon as it opened in 2004. Many were amazed and intrigued by this modern Chinese cuisine concept that integrated a Western style of presentation. However, despite the restaurant’s popularity, Tony felt that something was lacking about his Chinese cuisine.

“I still vividly remember a food critic commenting that my dishes had no ‘soul’ because it lacked an authentic Chinese taste,” Tony recalls.

“I then realized that Chinese cuisine must be kept 100% Chinese. Chinese cuisine is created from a myriad of cooking methods and ingredients that makes it authentic and unique. To stay true to the Chinese flavour, the Western touch should not be introduced.”

Seeking inspiration from all over China, the only thing that matters to Tony is cooking authentic Chinese dishes. With that, Tony left “My Humble House” in 2007 to open his own kitchen, and in 2011, he joined JUN Chinese restaurant in the Crowne Plaza Beijing Sun Palace, where he was given the freedom to practice his cooking philosophy.

“Authentic doesn’t mean I cannot innovate – as long as the innovation does not tangle with flavours that are not Chinese,” Choo emphasised.

Now, he has many awards from China and abroad under his belt, recognising him for his culinary skills and innovative approach. Diners often patronise his restaurant just to indulge in his most recent creations.

His most recent creations include the special hairy-crab braised with Gastrodia elata, a herb used in Chinese medicine to treat headache, convulsions, and hypertension. Another rendition was made with green plum wine to create a novel and savoury taste.