Jowett Yu brings his diverse culinary background and passion for Chinese flavours to his position as Executive Chef at Black Sheep Restaurants, overseeing restaurants including Canton Disco, Ho Lee Fook, Fukuro, Le Garçon Saigon and Le Petit Saigon.
Yu’s cooking style reflects his Taiwanese heritage and extensive time spent in Chinese communities around the globe. His distinct take on regional cuisine combines the familiar flavours of traditional dishes with premium local ingredients, modern techniques and refined aesthetic sensibilities.
Yu’s love for food started at a very young age, when, as a boy in Taiwan, he spent long summers with his grandma, a prolific cook, in her countryside kitchen in Yilan province. His most vivid childhood memories are of her picking fresh hen eggs, pickling vegetables, growing rice and making wine, among other impressive culinary feats. It was her limitless ability to transform simple ingredients that has been Yu’s greatest source of inspiration throughout his career.
After his family immigrated to Canada, Yu found a job washing dishes at a neighbourhood burger joint, and at the age of 15, he was promoted to actually cooking the burgers. He continued his studies and graduated from university with a history degree, but once he fulfilled this obligation to his more conservative parents, he decided to pursue his true passion for cooking at the Art Institute of Vancouver.
Fresh out of culinary school, Yu jumped at the opportunity to intern at Tetsuya’s in Sydney, which turned into a full-time position that lasted several years. During that time, the fine dining restaurant ranked within the top five of San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Yu then went on to Marque Restaurant, a three-hat restaurant known for its modern and molecular style, where he specialised in pastries and desserts.
Yu later partnered up with fellow young chef Dan Hong and the pair, inspired by Momofuku’s David Chang, were invited to combine their French training and Asian heritages into a funky Asian concept with a similar ethos. The result was Sydney’s Ms. G’s, which took off immediately and won a prestigious hat from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide in its second year. The success of Ms. G’s was quickly followed by the opening of Mr. Wong, one of the most popular Cantonese restaurants Sydney has seen.
Yu then met Black Sheep Restaurants Co-Founder Christopher Mark, who challenged Jow to join the group and open a successful Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong. Ho Lee Fook opened in June 2014 introducing Hong Kong to a funky Chinese kitchen where he reinterprets classic Chinese dishes and flavours with premium ingredients, modern techniques and a touch of humour. He then oversaw the opening of Vietnamese grill house Le Garçon Saigon and its offshoot, Le Petit Saigon, serving authentic Banh Mi Thit. In 2018, the group opened Fukuro, a boisterous izakaya, and its first international outpost, Canton Disco in the Shanghai EDITION.
When not making the best dumplings and roasted goose in town, Yu enjoys bike riding in Hong Kong’s picturesque New Territories, listening to old school hip hop and watching his favourite film, Bloodsport starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.