Top Chef finalist Shirley Chung has worked with the best of the best Chefs, including Guy Savoy, Mario Batali and Jose Andres. But when asked who taught her the most she immediately pointed to Thomas Keller from French Laundry. She said it wasn’t just about how to cook, but how to manage. She was in awe at the spotless kitchen and perfectly organized walk in; the kitchen was always kept exceptionally clean. Keller and another mentor from French Laundry Mark Hopper taught her that being a Chef meant there is no “just”; there always needs to be a purpose, a reason for the ingredients chosen for each and every dish. They also taught her that a person should carry themselves with pride, and that treating staff with respect was a must…..your staff is not “just staff”, they are your family.
If she had to choose between beef or fish, fish will always trump. Her beliefs and her personality are infused in every one of her dishes. Her sweet spirit and masterful cooking techniques can be seen immediately in her artful presentation of spun sugar walnut caramel Lace Prawns (NEVER to be called honey walnut shrimp). No pasta machines allowed, only handmade, hand cut squid ink noodles with jalapenos, ginger and scallion pesto; it’s a must have for the adventurous diner. Her favorite ingredient is black vinegar, it’s better than balsamic…full of flavor, and its earthy qualities balance out the wild arugula salad with roasted trumpet mushrooms. Her playful take on the ubiquitous fortune cookie completes the meal; she giggles with excitement as she explains her thoughts on breaking the sugar to get to the chocolate mousse! It’s not just about the edible good fortune, but the dessert can be prepared with a personal message or even a surprise proposal. #WillyouMarryme
Why the name Twenty Eight? It was the age she received her first paycheck and in the Chinese culture, you don’t take that lightly.
Luxe Tip: Don’t want the traditional meat and potatoes for your wedding menu, Twenty Eight offers custom menus perfect for a wedding reception. And the covered patio can accommodate up to 80 guests for your rehearsal dinner. Parking tip: Entrance is not on Jamboree. During the weekdays, complimentary valet parking is available across the path next to Equinox, look for the Google building.
Address: 19530 Jamboree Rd. Irvine, CA 92612
Phone: (949) 852-2828
Facebook.com: Twenty Eight Restaurant Lounge