Demon Days: Alvin Leung

The Michelin-Starred Bo Innovation Chef Takes Us to the “X-treme” Edge of Cooking

Amid tentacles and open flames, the self-professed “Demon Chef” Alvin Leung reveals a wicked palate and a penchant for carnal creations in this short by filmmaker Ryan Hopkinson. Born in London and raised in Toronto, Leung rose to prominence in Hong Kong, becoming known for what he calls “X-treme Chinese” cuisine, a far-out technique that harnesses the futuristic appeal of molecular gastronomy alongside the wide reach of fusion. The incendiary results both morph traditional Chinese recipes into kinky culinary experiences, and tackle off-the-plate issues: the self-taught chef’s signature dish, Sex on the Beach, serves up an edible “condom” on a shitake beach, created to raise funds and awareness for AIDS charity. Preparing to launch Bo London, an offshoot of his prominent Hong Kong Bo Innovation, set to open in Mayfair this autumn, Leung spoke to NOWNESS about the science—and the magic—behind his delectable madness.

With all the different genres of cooking out there today, why choose “X-treme Cuisine”? 
I want to give people something more than tags like fusion, molecular or modern contemporary. I'm known for a couple of shocking dishes: Bo Bo for instance was wagyu beef with black truffle and foie gras, but served in a can. But X-treme isn’t just about being shocking; it’s exciting because it can take you to your limits and give people a new, surprising experience. 

What inspires your X-treme recipes?
I try to incorporate some element of familiarity when I cook; I make my food multi-sensory because when you eat it combines several senses: sight, smell, temperature and texture. In the East, texture and temperature are very important, and in the West taste and the visual take priority. Using all your senses creates a memory—you're associating and comparing.

How might you adapt a classic, familiar dish?
Shalong Boa (little dragon), or Xiao Long Bao in Mandarin, is a dish of tiny pork bouillon dumplings that explode in your mouth. Traditionally they would wrap a thick pastry around chopped up pork fat and seasoning and steam it so that when you bite into it you taste the liquid. I map the perfect Xiao Long Boa using the dish’s original flavors, with the addition of spherification (shaping liquid into spheres), so it looks like an egg yolk—it tastes the same as the original dish, even though that’s not what it appears to be. 
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Conversations (1)

  • jamespou
    Seriously beautiful video! Love James <a href="http://www.19rivoli.com" target="_blank">www.19rivoli.com</a>
    • Posted By jamespou
    • October 30, 2012 at 10:11AM
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  • Open Call
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    Paddle8 x Tumblr: Moving the Still

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    NOWNESS invites you to submit your own animated GIFs for the chance to be featured in a groundbreaking digital showcase during this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach. The open call marks the launch of "Moving the Still: A Festival of GIFs", a collaboration between the cutting-edge online art collecting destination Paddle8, created by Alexander Gilkes and Aditya Julka, and David Karp’s visionary microblogging platform Tumblr, which will culminate in the innovative show. For the next five days, the NOWNESS community will have the exclusive chance to join in conversation with tastemakers and festival judges Nicola Formichetti and Johnny Misheff. On Friday November 2nd at 12pm EST, fashion wunderkind and Lady Gaga stylist Formichetti will team up with influential New York-based art writer and event facilitator Misheff to lend insider knowledge to our fans, answering your questions about what it takes to make a winning graphic animation. Paddle8 and Tumblr's celebration of the now 25-year-old medium is endorsed by an impressive selection of top creatives, from the Rodarte sisters to Michael Stipe, to the legendary fashion photography team Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin.  Today NOWNESS continues the open call with the premiere of twohundredfiftysixcolors: Preface, a six-minute GIF from "Moving the Still" artist duo Jason Lazarus and Eric Fleischauer.


    Click here to submit your GIF creations. 

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    Credits
    Director Saam Farahmand
    Producer James Waters
    Choreography Jennifer White & Leah Mckesy
    Editor Tom Lindsay
    Hair & Makeup Dorita Nissen
    Director of Photography Will Bex
    Styling Nova Dando

    (Read More)

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