LAHORE: Long hours, English proficiency and a fair amount of elbow grease are necessary, but a lucrative career as a high-end chef in a Chinese restaurant is achievable for those willing to go the distance.

Today The Nation caught up with Xuedong Zeng, a 40-year-old Chinese chef at Tai-Pan in Pearl Continental Hotel. Here’s what he revealed about himself and his food world:

Formerly you were?

From trainee to Qingdao Shandong Province in china I went to UAE Doha Marriot.

You decided to become a chef because?

I like cooking. When other people like my food, I will feel happy and satisfied. I hope more and more people like my food.

Your food philosophy is?

Endless pursuit, challenge without limit and try something new.

For your career your dream is?

Become one of the master chefs in Michelin master chef.

For your personal life your dream is?

Become a good father and husband.

Was there an experience or a person that contributed to your decision to become a chef?

When I was a kid, I wanted to eat nice food. But my mum was very busy. She hadn't enough time to cook nice food for me. So I started to make food for myself.

What is your favorite dish and why?

My favorite dish is noodles and dumplings. Because there is a sort of indescribable feeling, smells like home.

Did you meet any difficulty or obstacle to get to where you are today?

Unfortunately there are no good cuisine books in Shanghai and the recipes you can find on the Internet are not good. So if one wants to learn more one has to work more with the professional chefs.