Mexican nachos, pizza, icecream, sushi and Indonesian gado gado are just some of the dishes found on the Mood Food menu. That’s a lot of different flavours! But all these dishes are prepared by just one man, our star Head Chef Xiao Wen.
“I actually first met Xiao Wen when his friend came to interview for the job of Head Chef at Mood Food,” say’s Master Daniel Li Ox. “His friend seemed like a good cook, but there was something about Xiao Wen, his energy, that made me like him straight away. It turned out he was also a chef, and when his friend was unable to take the position as he was at a wedding, we hired Xiao Wen instead. I hope his friend wasn’t too disappointed!”
Earlier this week, Xiao Wen took some time out of his busy schedule to tell us a bit more about his work…
I am Xiao Wen, from Guangxi Province. I grew up very close to here, and I have lived in Yangshuo for about 2 years. Before that I lived in Guilin.
What is your role at Wandering Dao?
I am the Head Chef for the Mood Food Energy Cafe. Everyday I choose what fresh produce to buy from the local markets. Then I bring it all back to Mood Food and work in the kitchen preparing dishes for our customers. I also work closely with Daniel (Li Ox) to create new dishes. We are always looking for new ways to develop the menu. It changes a lot, depending on the season and what produce is available.
How long have you worked here?
I have worked at Mood Food since it first opened 2 years ago.
Have you worked in other restaurants? How is this one different?
Yes, I worked in restaurants in both Guilin and Langzhuo. I prefer it here though. At the other restaurants it was just about the taste of the dishes. There was no thought about the nutritional value of the food. Here the dishes are designed to be both delicious and healthy.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?
Cooking of course! By cooking I can create something that people enjoy and get happiness from. I also really like working here because it is a vegetarian restaurant. It’s interesting to learn how to bring flavour to a dish using only vegetables. Many of the dishes here have a Western influence, and there were a lot of flavours and techniques that were new to me at first. It’s been very inspiring to find new ways of combining ingredients.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu?
I really like the Pizza, Pasta, Nachos and Burgers. And the Veggie-Fruit Salad. Actually I like a lot of the food here!
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
My English isn’t great, so sometimes it is difficult for me to communicate with customers. But I am working on that!
Do you think working at Wandering Dao has changed your view on health and wellbeing?
Yeah, really a lot. Especially towards food and nutrition. I am more aware of my own health now, and have adopted some much better habits. I didn’t used to be very punctual about when I ate, so my meals were quite irregular and I often forgot to drink enough water. Now I have a much better routine. I am also putting more thought into the nutritional value of my food.
What is Yangshuo like?
I love being outside in nature, so for me Yangshuo is great. There are a lot of outdoor activities to get involved with like hiking, rock climbing and biking. In my spare time I really like to get on my bike and go explore new places nearby.
The Mood Food Energy Cafe is open everyday from 8.30am