SA chef makes waves in Vietnam as passion for food takes him on culinary, hospitality adventure

Chef Peter Ye making waves in Vietnam. Picture: Supplied

Chef Peter Ye making waves in Vietnam. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 8, 2023


Pretoria - A South African chef is making waves in Vietnam as his passion for food has taken him on a culinary and hospitality adventure to this country.

Chef Chang Sheng (Peter) Ye, 37, who grew up in Gqeberha, became interested in food when watching television shows such as Hell’s Kitchen. He chose to train in hospitality before making the life-changing decision to study the culinary arts part-time instead.

“I already had a Diploma in Hospitality Management and was an intern at Radisson Blu when my passion for cooking really came to the fore,” Ye said.

He then realised it was what he wanted to do with his life and that it would give him greater opportunities.

“I asked the Radisson if they would sponsor me to study part time at Capsicum Culinary Studio. Thankfully, they agreed, and I graduated in 2011 with a Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking from the school’s Nelson Bay campus.”

“It was the best decision I could have made. Capsicum solidified my culinary knowledge and gave me the theoretical knowledge I was missing,” he said.

After graduating, Ye moved to Johannesburg and worked at establishments such as Emperors Palace, the InterContinental OR Tambo and Hilton Sandton Hotel. He eagerly put his skills to the test and entered competitions such as the Unilever Chef of the Year, placing in the top five in Africa, Middle East and the Indian Ocean.

Then came the opportunity to work abroad, and in 2016, Ye became the executive chef for the five-star Mia Resort Nha Trang in Vietnam and continued to climb the culinary and hospitality ladder.

This year, as resort manager, he opened a new property, The Anam Mui Ne, a luxury resort which is popular with international travellers.

It is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the only hotel in Vietnam to be included in this high-end, boutique hotel group. The Hotel Journal describes The Anam as “a tranquil home-away-from-home, with some of the best service we’ve ever encountered”.

Ye says his food idols are Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay and many other Top Chef contestants, and his dream is to one day open his own small but trendy restaurant, offering a fusion of East meets West dishes.

His advice to those wanting to work in the hospitality and culinary industries includes, “You reap what you sow. Whatever effort you put in is what you will get out.”

He also warned that prospective chefs must be prepared for long hours, forgetting to eat lunch or even going to the bathroom.

Public holidays and weekends are non-existent.

“You are only as strong as your team. Put in extra time before or after your actual shift to be ahead of your colleagues and help in different sections. All this will benefit you in the end,” is his advise.

Asked what would be his last meal if he had to choose, he said lobster ravioli with lots of shaved white truffle.

Asked which famous people he would like to cook for, he said Ariana Grande, Elon Musk, Gordon Ramsay, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and South Korean singer-songwriter Lee Ji-eun.

“I would make a spit roast because it is easy to prepare, and I would have more time to converse with them; it also creates a more relaxing atmosphere,” he said.

Pretoria News