Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Author and teacher, Elizabeth Chong Cooking School, Melbourne)

The spirit of Melbourne's Chinese community shines in Elizabeth Chong, an amazingly youthful and energetic woman. She thrives on the joys of Chinese food, teaches it, and demonstrates its preparation on television. She takes tours through her beloved Chinatown, and promotes its activities in many ways.

The Chong family, however, has exercised real influence over Australia's eating habits since 1945 when Elizabeth's father, William Wing Young, began the restaurant Wing Lee's, and produced the first dim sim.
"My father was the first to create the style and shape and the commercial production of the dim sim," says Elizabeth.
"He chose the thick skin for ease of transport; he used to deliver them in his Chevy to the football where he set up in competition with the Four-and-Twenty pie. Before long, his factory was producing thousands of them for sale throughout Australia."
Elizabeth recalls living in Franklin Street opposite Victoria Market and beside the dim sim factory. Her father was also a wholesale fruiterer, one of the largest in the market, and was known, according to Elizabeth, both as the Chicken Roll King and the Peanut King.
"Food and cooks were always a part of my life," says Elizabeth. "I stopped briefly to have four children, but found I needed to express myself out of the home scene. I started giving talks to the parents of children in my son's class, and they asked me to give them cooking lessons. So the cooking school began in 1961." Elizabeth demonstrates - this is good for the eye-sight and that for prosperity - Chinese tradtion explains every ingredient.


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