On the Line: Shirley Chung of TWENTY EIGHT, Part Two

One hard-working lady
One hard-working lady
Photo courtesy of TWENTY EIGHT

Shirley tweeted yesterday that, "This was a long interview! I really enjoyed answering the questions." My response: Damn straight! We love learning more about our subjects, and I suspect most readers/fans would want it that way. She uses her noodle a little longer to power through the rest of our interrogation.

Did you see what we did up there? It'll make more sense if you read the first part of our interview with Shirley over here. The rest can be found below. . . .

Hardest lesson you've learned: I cannot read peoples' minds. I should never assume anything. It's always best to ask questions.

Last thing you researched online: What to eat to get ready for the fall season. A lot of people around me have been getting respiratory sicknesses lately, and I want to find out how I can help them recover with foods instead of medicines.

What were you up to five years ago? Five years ago, I was Chef de Cuisine of Carne Vino in Las Vegas for Chef Mario Batali.

Last song playing on your radio: Boston by Augustana.

Do you have any skills that are not food-related? I am a seasoned traveler. I would say I'm really good at adjusting to any environment.

I was also a Chinese radio station DJ when I lived in the Bay Area, where I produced and hosted my own shows. My shows ran for two years on 96.1 FM in San Francisco!

Where did you grow up? If you're not from Orange County, what brought you here? I was born and raised in Beijing, China, and I moved to Northern California for college when I was 17. I moved to OC to open TWENTY EIGHT.

What did you study in school? Did you always plan on being a chef? I have a Business Administration degree from Cal State Hayward. I worked in the Silicon Valley for almost four years before I decided to go to culinary school and become a chef.

When you're not at the restaurant, what are you doing in your free time? I love the outdoors. I used to go hiking in Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas on a weekly basis. Now, I can't wait to go to the beaches in OC on my days off!

Are you superstitious? I am superstitious; I like to wear something yellow or red on the busy weekends during service, because those are my lucky colors. I also never leave the house without my jade Buddha that my mom got me.

Last book you read; how was it? My Beloved World, a memoir by Sonia Sotomayor. She made history as the first Hispanic in the high court. Her memoir is inspirational and heartfelt.

What's your favorite childhood memory? My grandmother was the director of Red Cross of China, and she used to travel around the world for work. Every time she came back, she would bring me snacks and food as gifts. No matter how late her flight arrived, I always begged my mom to let me stay up to wait for grandma. I wanted to be the first one to open her luggage and discover all the little treasures. She had a candy jar in her room, and would always fill it with different kinds of chocolate. If I had been a good girl, she would let me choose one. She would tell me the story behind it, which country she brought it from, the flavor, the people she met there, the country's culture and customs . . .

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