Monday, December 6, 2010

Chef Poon's Last Stand

Chef Joseph Poon returned to Penn for his third and final preceptorial of the semester, "Chef Poon's Asian Culinary Institute". Students welcomed him back with open arms and empty stomachs, excited to see the energetic culinary master back in action on Penn's campus. The informal two-hour session introduced attendees to Asian cuisine and taught them new techniques to try in their own kitchens.

Chef Poon ensured that the crowd was well-fed right from the beginning, serving everyone delicious noodles, savory chicken abalone congee, and silky pumpkin custard. As students devoured the tasty meal, he provided a history of each dish and its subsequent ingredients. This imparted knowledge helped every student truly understand and appreciate the food before them.

His primary lesson for this preceptorial session was the art of stir-frying. However, he didn't want to stand in front of the audience and simply demonstrate. He made the evening active and exciting, bringing people up to cook themselves! Members from the audience came up in pairs and went through the process of stir-frying as a team -- whether it was picking out the ingredients and blanching them or creating the stir-fry sauce. Throughout the evening, attendees learned how to create six different simple sauces, including black bean sauce, kung pao sauce, and black pepper sauce. Chef Poon awarded those who made the best dishes with 2011 calendars courtesy of Asian sauce company Lee Kum Kee.

Chef Poon followed up the stir-fry session with a demonstration of how to make dragon's beard candy. Also known as Chinese cotton candy, the melt-in-your-mouth treat was broken into small pieces, filled with crushed peanuts, and distributed to everyone in the audience.

As a final treat, Chef Poon once again showcased his incredible fruit and vegetable carving skills. Judging by the audience's enthusiastic response, we can only hope that Chef Poon returns to Penn in the future with more cooking presentations.


  1. Excellent post, Nicole! It looks like you became Chef Poon's personal photographer for the day with the terrific photos and action shots.

  2. Hi! :P

    Yum! Everything looks delicious, and very pretty as well. Next time I see you you'll have to teach me how to make everything!
    See you soon. (Christmas)

    Love Always,
    your cousin Nancy

  3. My favourite Chinese New Year food (though you sometimes find it all year round) is the Dragon Beard Candy, an ancient Chinese Emperor’s Dessert. It’s made into very sweet thin strands and sometimes filled with peanuts.
    If you’ve never tried it, you simply have to! The only place I know to find this online is .



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