Shun Kai Ho trained in Taiwan before joining the Guy Savoy restaurant brigade in Singapore, then working with Julien Royer at Odette restaurant. In 2016, he opened his first restaurant in Taipei, “Taïrroir”, a combination of the words “Taiwan” and “Terroir”. It’s a la carte, with dishes that combine elements of traditional Taiwanese and French cuisine. In 2018, the Michelin Guide awarded him a one-star award for his work. He received his second star the following year.
I am a traditional and creative cook. For me, the flavour of a dish is always a priority, followed by coherence and then visual aesthetics. When I cook, I focus on creating delicious dishes that will please customers! I always aim for frank flavours that my customers can identify and that evoke memories… In terms of inspiration, it’s actually quite simple: I ponder which ingredients will go best with each other. Then, when I get a new idea, I keep it in mind and bring it to life later.
When I was small, I loved watching the cooking show “Eating in China”, and I already dreamed of being a cook. I was lucky because as a child, my grandfather took me out to eat in all the restaurants in Taichung. This certainly affected my interest in tastes and flavours. I trained in the restaurant management department at the Ming-Dao High School, where I learned the basics of Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine. Then, at the University of Ming-Dao, I discovered cooking styles that were totally different than what I had ever seen before. After my degree, I worked in the United States and Singapore. It was there that I practised the techniques of French cuisine, especially in the Guy Savoy and JAAN Restaurant in Singapore.
I knew about butter in garlic bread or corn soup ever since I was a child, but I discovered its uses later, first during my studies but especially by working with French chefs. They opened my eyes to all the possibilities of use and the tastes of butter.
I used to use both. Now, I use sweet butter instead because it is more practical. I prefer to measure how much salt to add myself.
Each type of fat is a different source of flavour. French cuisine consists of many butter-based products and dishes. The English or Italians may have very different uses of butter in their cuisine. Personally, I use it for cooking and seasoning, and I love brown butter. It is very beautiful to see and smell, with nutty, caramel, mushroom, and creamy aromas.
I believe that each regional cuisine has its own particular characteristics and that butter does not necessarily fit all the cuisines of the world. But for me, it is an essential ingredient.
I recommend frying with semi-salted butter, because it facilitates homogeneous colouring, and can prevent food from burning.