Sara wang with an abalone dish she prepared at her South Surrey home. Wang's passion for cooking paid off with a win in Hong Kong (below) last month.

Taste of Canada earns international nod

South Surrey chef Sara Wang earns pair of awards at Hong Kong Culinary Classic.

Scallops topped with flecks of 24-carat gold, fruit layered between custard and pastry, and salmon and radish carefully sliced and assembled into a rose.

The photos of Sara Wang’s culinary creations are a reflection of her belief – that cooking is not just an activity, it’s an art.

“I think that’s important – make the food like the art,” the South Surrey resident said. “It’s not as hard as you think.”

HOFEX winLast month, Wang took her passion for cooking to a new level, at the Hong Kong International Culinary Classic, where she won the International Best Creativity Award and the International Gourmet Lady Master Chef Award.

It was the mother of two’s first venture into competitive cooking. Wang said she was up against more than 100 people in the three-day event, and won with a dish she prepared using lobster from New Brunswick.

Wang said she was committed to represent the best of Canada with Canada’s best food, and “the judges approved.”

“I’m very proud of Canada, very good quality,” she said.

Wang, 46, moved to Canada from Taiwan with her husband and two daughters – and a plethora recipes – in 2012. For 20 years prior, she had a business that focused on healthy eating; from finding good cookware to producing videos that teach people how to make healthy food.

The move to Canada was for the benefit of her daughters’ education, but the opportunity it created to focus on cooking was not lost on her.

While in business, Wang didn’t have time to cook, and the result was feeling and looking less healthy, she said.

“When I move here, I want to change my life. I want to cook for my family,” she said.

But, as she had not cooked before, the change did not happen overnight.

In the beginning, “even rice, I cannot cook,” she said.

lobsterInspired by the quality of fresh local food available in Canada, however, Wang persevered, and now, every meal is a work of art. Presentation, she noted, is part of the eating experience.

“People say that very elegant, beautiful will make you more… eager” to eat each meal, she said.

Wang also shares her passion for food in a column – Sara’s Fusion – that runs in the Vancouver edition of the Chinese-language World Journal.

She described food as the first step to knowing Canada, and that exchanging dishes was a good way to get to know her neighbours. Wang said her success in Hong Kong followed two months’ of preparation and daily practice.

It also made her realize her own potential.

“I think it’s a really good chance for my life,” she said. “It’s inspired me.”

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