Home>Service> Global Love of Lives Award> 15th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> Happy Cooking God - Cheng Yen-chi
 Cook with love, joy in the kitchen
       Fullon Hotel executive chef Cheng Yen-chi is a god of cuisines known to everyone in Taiwan, Master A-chi. He has a professional and enthusiastic spirit, and frequently participated in world-class gourmet competitions representing Taiwan, winning many awards. He has also worked as the head chef at Ambassador Hotel and Victoria Hotel, and his cooking skills are acclaimed by everyone. Now, Master A-chi must spend time each week traveling all over Taiwan to the 12 franchised restaurants, responsible for restaurant administration, budgeting, and quality control. Each week he also has to go to TV news stations to record gourmet instructional shows and teach at three universities. He has achieved a lot; Master A-chi is busy but still polite and humble to others, and in his work he still has “joy in the kitchen” in his work. He never feels that he is a successful person, he just worked hard at what he wants to do, and does it well.

      Master A-chi says: “My life is a three-self philosophy: self-sufficiency, self-enjoyment, and self-pursuit of happiness.” In the process of being an apprentice, he not only had poor income, but also has been poorly treated by others who were unwilling to teach him about cooking, thus giving him many instances of hurt and failure. Thus, even though Master A-chi is in a high position, he can still be empathetic and understand the hard work of the employees. He never kept his cooking secrets, and wanted to pass on the content and essence of his cooking skills to the next generation, hoping that the latecomers can be better than him. Master A-chi is frugal, humble, and takes an attitude that respects the customer to cook every good dish with his love. He pursues the beauty of original tastes in food, and emphasizes Chinese gourmet culture, and is certainly a “happy god of cooking.”

Facing oneself honestly, ambition to be a chef
      Cheng Yen-chi is a man born in 1954. His father worked in the food industry. As the first son, Master A-chi not only had to help take care of his younger brother, but also had to do some manual labor in the store at home. Growing up in this environment trained Master A-chi to be an independent person.

      The image of parents working hard at the restaurant was deeply imprinted in the mind of Master A-chi, causing him to have great interest in cooking, and influenced his later responsible attitudes toward family or as a chef in restaurants.

      Even though his father supported the family with is cooking, he had high hopes for his first son, Master A-chi, hoping that he would be an academic achiever in the family. Since he was young, Master A-chi had very good grades, but he clearly knew that compared to getting 100 on a test, it would make him happier to flip over the fried egg or chat with guests in the restaurant. Finally, at the high school entrance exams, Master A-chi put down his books, and chose to find a teacher to be an apprentice, and become a professional chef.

The conflict between dreams and reality, his insistence moved his family
      When Master A-chi decided to stop going to school, his father highly disapproved, but he still insisted on his personal ideals, but he did not want to have a conflict with his father. So he chose to be with his classmates for a while and did not come home until two days later.

      Master A-chi walked out and caused a major impact. Family and friends finally convinced his father to agree that he could become a chef. Actually, his father opposed it because he felt bad, but as soon as he agreed, he immediately recommended Master A-chi to a master at Center Hotel, then introduced him to Guangzhou Hotel, where he began as an apprentice. It took Master A-chi eight years to become a master; during this period he saw various situations, which broadened his sights and his attitudes.

Small apprentice big experiences, bravery after failure and no giving up
      Upon arriving at Guangzhou Hotel, Master A-chi is only a small apprentice, he had no salaries, and had no welfare and vacations. Master A-chi’s job was just washing and odd jobs. AT the time, the cleaner used was highly alkaline soap, and hands would get blistered in under two weeks, but Master A-chi did not think this was difficult. Every day he worked with a happy and diligent heart.

      However, since Master A-chi was not Cantonese and could not speak Cantonese, it was like there was a wall between him and the master and his peers, so he was blocked from others. Thus, he started learning Cantonese, and attempted to join the others in various ways. If there is something that people do not want to do, he would do it for the others. After some time, until Master A-chi could talk to people with Cantonese, the others realized that he was a kid who was willing to learn.

      Even though he was treated unfairly, Master A-chi did not think it was painful. For masters who “kept their secrets,” he would “learn in secret.” For instance, on learning barbecue pork buns, whenever the master saw that he was watching nearby, he would ask Master A-chi to get something at a crucial step, and when he came back he would miss the whole process. After a few times, Master A-chi had to pretend that he did not want to learn, and pick an angle that would not affect the view, pretending to do different work, but was actually observing the master’s every move. At home, Master A-chi would try to replicate the steps, and continued experimenting and modifying, until he felt what he made was better, Master A-chi dared to use the restaurant’s bag to give his food to the master. After he saw that the master showed a happy and satisfied face, Master A-chi knew that his learning of barbecue pork buns was complete.

Humble learning with several jobs
      Now, Master A-chi is not only good at cooking, but also worked in managing and instruction.

      At meetings in the hotel, Master A-chi always liked to list the ten conditions for most popular managers and ten conditions for most unpopular managers, asking subordinates to anonymously circle ones that applied to him. After the meeting he would retrieve the questionnaires for analysis, and discuss with the unpopular points with the subordinates the next time. If there are shortcomings, he would apologize and reconsider himself. At normal times, if the restaurant was busier, Master A-chi would also leave behind his management role to help in the kitchen. The leadership style of Master A-chi, with humility and acceptance of opinions not only won employee support and confidence, also becoming a force that makes him grow.

      Simple happiness, returning to the beauty of original tastes – no arguments between husband and wife in 32 years
Master A-chi is always traveling, but regardless of how busy he is, he would still save time to be with his closest family. Master A-chi says: he has not fought with his wife for 32 years, and the family has a happy atmosphere. However, it is not easy to manage family relationships outside of his busy work. Since from he was young, he had seen his father’s sense of responsibility toward family, after Master A-chi had a family and business, he was deeply influenced by it and gave everything to his family. This diligence and sincerity has also moved his wife; for the last few decades, she has always been there to quietly accompany and support him.

      Since Master A-chi set his sights on being a chef, to becoming a world-class chef, he believes that none of this is as great as a family member using love to cook a simple bowl of noodles. Master A-chi believes that in his whole life he has been pursing “the beauty of original taste.” In cooking or his work, he has always emphasized consistency and the importance of cooking ethics. He just wanted to work with stability, and cook sincerely, and do his job well with a sincere joy in his heart, thus Master A-chi has lowered his material desires, focusing on cooking. At the current time, Master A-chi wants to use his own story to encourage young people to not be afraid of failure, to be brave in pursuing a passion, and to accept the challenges of life.