The executive chef at Hakkasan restaurant in Emirates Palace has worked in award-winning kitchens around the globe and shares his life philosophies with us in advance of Hakkasan's first birthday on June 12.
Life lessons: Lee Kok Hua
1. Finish what you start. We are usually full of enthusiasm and optimism at the beginning of a new endeavour. However, obstacles of many kinds often prevent us from accomplishing our goals. We always have to remember that these challenges are only a test of our passion and determination.
2. Be passionate about what you do and you will succeed. Confucius said: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." I am very fortunate to be passionate about what I do each day. A chef's work is not just about serving a meal that is perfect technically; it is about creating and sharing passionately. In any profession, if you love and have faith in what you do, you can accomplish anything that you strive for.
3. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. If we remain in our comfort zones all the time, we will not be able to adapt to the ever-changing people, circumstances and places around us. This is especially true in today's dynamic and buzzing world. I have learnt that growth only comes about when we stretch our limits. To fully experience life, we have to allow ourselves to step away from what is familiar to us and explore new challenges.
4. Never stop learning. Take every opportunity you can to learn something new. I spent five years at Hakkasan London with chef Tong Chee Hwee learning the art of Hakkasan's award-winning cuisine, but I have continued to learn after my move to Abu Dhabi. The ability to be open to knowledge and to continue to ask questions about how to improve is imperative to success. It is only by increasing your understanding of the world that you will be able to have a true impact on things around you.
5. The simple things in life are sometimes the most rewarding. Some of my most cherished memories are of times I was doing the simplest things - going for a walk, cooking for my friends, spending an evening with loved ones, reading a book. The small things around us are full of beauty, and it is important to stop for a moment to notice and appreciate them.
As told to Jemma Nicholls
For more information on Hakkasan's anniversary dinner celebrations from June 12-16, call 02 690 7999