The Cooking Tool Chef Brandon Jew Can't Live Without - Exclusive

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Every chef, from the Michelin-starred kitchen master to the casual home cook, has their favorite kitchen tool. It might be as simple as a favorite spatula a dad uses for Saturday morning pancakes, a slow cooker a mom uses for easy weeknight meals, or a $200 chef's knife a pro wields for hours a day. It might be a favorite pot or pan or an outdoor pizza oven that can bake a perfect pie in minutes flat.

For chef Brandon Jew, who happens to have a Michelin star to his name, his can't-live-without cooking tool is one that's little surprise given his devotion to authentic Chinese cooking. Make no mistake, when Jew talks of "authentic" Chinese food, he doesn't mean "traditional" Chinese cooking. During a recent Mashed exclusive interview, he explained his approach to the cuisine for which he is celebrated like this: "Authenticity is very personal to people, what they understand as authentic. There is definitely tradition and there's history, but as far as Chinese cuisine, I'm interested in having people understand that it's also changing. 

"It's evolving and as we have these relationships with [local] farmers and there's [a] mix between our cultures and nature, those are the two things are going to continue to evolve really all cuisine. Contemporary Chinese cuisine, to me, is something that I think we're going to continue to see how it evolves across America, and I think the tradition of Chinese American cuisine is that you're taking some of what is  local, what is there using Chinese cooking techniques, and then developing a dish that bridges the two."

What tool is Jew using for much of this contemporary authentic cooking? A pretty traditionally Chinese one: a wok.

Why Brandon Jew thinks the wok will have its moment

"I joke with some cooks that have [been around] a while that everyone's getting pizza ovens and charcoal grills and everything, [but] I'm waiting for people to start installing woks into their modern kitchens and really start to understand the beauty of wok cooking, and also the complexity of it," Brandon Jew says.

Asked what cooking tools he recommends a home chef wanting to improve his or her Chinese cooking should use, the wok is one of them: "I would say get two pieces of equipment: I would get a bamboo steamer and I would get a wok, and really having those two pieces of equipment [understood] and I think you'll be able to execute the kind of dishes in, I think, in a more successful way. There's something about the way the steam and the quality of the steam out of a bamboo steamer is that I think is really special. 

"Then the shape of the wok and understanding really the sequence of ingredients as they go into the wok is really important, it's one of the main observations when you're cooking in a wok is really understanding how to cut your ingredients, [and] how they really work with each other, [and] also knowing when to be putting in those ingredients or liquid seasonings. It's a lot of observation of what's happening in the wok and having your next ingredient ready to go into the wok."

After the cooking is done? Jew often recommends a pour of Rémy Martin XO, the cognac brand with which he was proud to partner in celebration of the Lunar New Year.

Follow chef Brandon Jew on Instagram and check out Rémy Martin's Lunar New Year collection here.