Will Fung Tapped for China Chilcano Restaurant By José Andrés

Will Fung China Chilcano
  • McKee Foodservice
  • Atosa USA
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Imperial Dade
  • RAK Porcelain
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Day & Nite
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • Easy Ice
  • DAVO by Avalara
Follow TFS on Google News

China Chilcano, a restaurant that celebrates the international culinary influences that make up Peruvian cuisine including its native Criollo, Chinese Chifa, and Japanese Nikkei, sits in Washington D.C.’s Penn Quarter. It recently reopened after a long pause due to the pandemic, as many restaurants are. However, it is not only opening its doors to the public, but to Will Fung as its new head chef.

Will Fung is not new to the Washington D.C. area; he has worked for nearly two decades in restaurants in the area in a variety of front and back-of-house positions including general manager, sushi chef, and chef-owner. To add to his impressive resumé, he spent a year cooking at a 300-year-old kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto, Japan. His international experiences make him a great fit to continue the tradition at China Chilcano.

China Chilcano, owned by José Andrés, opened in 2015 and was awarded a Bib Gourmand in 2017. José Andrés holds his own impressive resumé. He is not only regarded for his work in the restaurant industry as a chef, but also as a NYT best-selling author, educator, culinary innovator, and humanitarian.

He is the founder of the Think Food Group, a company responsible for 26 restaurants whose mission is to change the world through food.  Each restaurant makes up a variety of culinary experiences from food trucks to world-class menus to tell their own story through food. “Each of his [José Andrés] restaurants tell a different story, and our job is to be the messengers of that. Stories can be told through spoken word, written word, or our way of doing it is through food. That is our big goal here, to tell stories through food to his expectations and through his vision,” Fung continued.

“For him, the company, and everyone involved, it doesn’t matter if it’s super fine dining or food coming out of a food truck, each plated dish is nourishing and should bring a sense of home when you eat it. That should translate no matter which restaurant you’re at.”

  • Cuisine Solutions
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Day & Nite
  • McKee Foodservice
  • RATIONAL USA
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Atosa USA
  • Imperial Dade
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Easy Ice
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • RAK Porcelain

ThinkFood Group wishes to innovate flavors and dishes while maintaining respect, authenticity, and tradition of the food. At China Chilcano, Fung aims to continue this work and share the Peruvian cuisine with the community. Over the years, he has noticed an increase in diversity in Washington D.C. in terms of cuisine, personnel in lead positions, and guests willing to come into these restaurants wanting to try new cuisines and experience the local talents. Peruvian cuisine, with its plentiful ingredients and techniques, grants him vast opportunities to explore and appeal to people’s taste for diverse foods. “There’s so much to work with in Peruvian cuisine, it’s more about paying homage and respect to different cooking techniques and flavors and telling the story of how that all came about. I mean you have the Amazons, the mountains, the coastline, so you have a plethora of different types of ingredients all blended into one cuisine,” Fung continued.

Peru’s cuisine is similar to other cultures in that it has been shaped by immigration patterns over its history, but unique in its distinct pattern of Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese influence. As an immigrant himself from Hong Kong, Fung knows firsthand the longing for a taste of home. He recalled his own family trying to replicate foods from home, but sometimes struggling to find the same ingredients. This may lead to replacements similar in flavor and texture.

At China Chilcano, ingredients are sourced from a variety of places, but Fung specifically noted the restaurant’s relationship with Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market. The local farmers provide them with local, seasonal produce to be incorporated into their menu.

In the kitchen, Fung’s personal favorite piece of equipment is the wok. As he explained it, a lot of restaurant cooking can be integrated at home with the same ingredients for a similar result, but wok cooking simply cannot because of the high heat it requires. The Aeropuerto dish at China Chilcano is composed of rice and a variety of vegetables totaling about 20 different ingredients. Fung spoke in detail as he described the heat of the oil in the wok required to coat the rice to cook and fry the grains without overcooking causing it to get mushy. “The goal is to cook it, coat it with seasoning and flavor, getting a little char and smokiness out of it without overcooking it so when you bite into each spoonful of rice you should be able to taste each individual grain,” explained Fung. It is this attention to detail and passion for the food that makes Will Fung a master of his craft and the right person to carry on José Andrés’ storytelling at China Chilcano.

The stories they wish to tell do not change whether their guests are dining in or taking out. Although the restaurant has reopened its in-person dining, take-out orders remain in high demand. Fung finds it important that dishes be the same in terms of quality and expectation no matter the space in which it is consumed by the guest. There may be several boxes for the guests to unpack for one dish and each should look attractive, a difficult task as the food may be in a delivery car for extended periods of time and shaken around a bit in the process. Fung and his team are cognizant of this and consider these factors when packaging the items to continue to improve the at-home experience. Again, there is no shortage to attention to detail under Fung.

Fung is excited to be joining the Think Food Group, to have the opportunity to work with like-minded people hyper-focused on food and hospitality. “It’s fun and integrating, also, just working during Covid people were in isolation, so I missed the sounds of the kitchen going full throttle,” Fung concluded.

  • Day & Nite
  • Easy Ice
  • Atosa USA
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • RAK Porcelain
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • Imperial Dade
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • McKee Foodservice