A Dishin’ the Dirt profile.
Chef and restaurateur Vicky Lau made waves when her fine dining establishment, Tate Dining Room and Bar, first opened in Soho. In many ways, the Michelin-starred restaurant is a cumulation of Lau’s career experiences: it unites classical French cooking with Chinese and Japanese cuisines, harking back to the time Lau spent honing the craft of kaiseki in Kyoto. She drew on her graphic design background to work on the restaurant’s aesthetic with interior designer and architect JJ Acuna. The result is a warm, atmospheric space that serves up thoughtful dishes that look as good as they taste. She tells The Loop HK about her various inspirations, and about why Hong Kong is a chef’s creative playground.
Why did you decide to present the Tate menu as a series of “odes” to different ingredients?
Our menus are inspired by “All the Odes” by Pablo Neruda. The intention is to express appreciation and to celebrate the individual ingredients and their origins. The menu is hidden within a book, telling different stories as guests unfold each chapter throughout the meal.
How do you think beautiful interiors can influence a meal?
While food will always come first, we have put a lot of work into our interiors as we want the guests’ first impressions to be that of warmth and welcome, which is why we featured a color palette of soft taupe, muted pink, and brushed gold. All these colors translate into a very comfortable atmosphere.
Should chefs should make an effort to be more environmentally friendly?
It is definitely something that all restaurateurs should endeavor to do. Being more sustainable comes hand in hand with having respect for our home. We share this planet with 7 billion other people in this world — if our taking this action can help maintain this world for the next generation, I believe it is our prerogative and our honor.
What do you think of the Hong Kong dining scene compared to other locales?
The food scene in Hong Kong is multicultural and diverse. The only constant is change. Diners are also now well-versed in food. All this allows me to do whatever style of food I want — in Hong Kong, I no longer have borders in exploring flavors.
Do you think any kinds of cuisine can be combined?
I like to think of food as a playful journey of discovery. I appreciate that there are internationally recognized rules for cuisine, and yet we seek the freedom to explore the world through our cooking, free from the mandatory rigor of these rules. Any cuisine can be combined as long as it is balanced.
What do you most hope to accomplish in your career in the future?
For me, there will never be an ending. My goal has always been to inspire and to be inspired. Put simply, I will always strive for the best that I can be.