Chef’s Special: Chef Duck Chang, Jr.
By: Chester Simpson
Chef Duck Chang, Jr.
Peking Duck Restaurant
7531 Richmond Highway
Chef Duck Chang’s father, Chef Chang began his career at age 13 in his family’s restaurant in Peking. He later was featured in several leading Hong Kong restaurants and served as Chinese banquet chef to His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. Since his arrival in this area, Duck Chang has served Dr. Henry Kissinger just before his historic mission to Peking.
His outstanding cuisine has gained recognition for excellence both in the Far East and in Washington metropolitan area restaurants. Now his sons, Duck Chang, Jr. and Peter Chang are managing their own restaurants to carry on the family name and tradition. Duck Chang Jr. at Peking Duck Restaurant (7531 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA) and Peter Chang at Duck Chang’s Restaurant (4427 John Marr Drive, Annandale, VA)
When did you first become interested in cooking? Why did you pursue a culinary career?
I always loved to eat but was a picky eater. Growing up in a restaurant environment and being around food all the time I started cooking with my Dad.
Who have been the biggest inspirations for your career?
My Dad. His sense of achievement and his love of the culinary arts – it wasn’t just a job to him, it was something he loved to do with pleasure and satisfaction. Once he started cooking you could see his passion and nothing was too simple. He said every dish and every dinner is unique and special. He was dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of the art of Chinese cooking.
What dish on your menu are you most curious to see how it’s received?
Peking Duck is a famous duck dish from Beijing that has been being prepared since the Imperial era. What makes our 6 1/2 lb Peking Duck special is the way that the duck is prepared, a combination of crispy skin and tender, moist meat. It’s the way we cook it. The duck is coated in honey and roasted and served in hoisin sauce, scallions, carved at your table and wrapped in mandarin pancakes. Besides the famous Peking Roast Duck of the North, regional specialties on the menu include, the Szechuan (western) style which is highly peppered and seasoned, light stir-fried dishes from Canton, and the famed sauces of the Shanghai coastal area.
What do you do to ensure that the quality of the food going out to your customers is of a high standard?
We only deal with local venders and I always check the quality of the food when’s it’s delivered. We’ve been using the same Duck Farm for the last 40 yrs. Peking Duck is so special that I like to turn people on to the dish and watch them take their first bite. My Dad said, “You are only as good a cook as the ingredients that you cook with”.
If any chef in the world could prepare you a meal, who would it be?
My late grandmother, because every dish she prepared had her passion and her special touch.
What’s your guilty food pleasure?
Lamb stew in bean paste with ginger and scallions that my wife prepares.
Written by: Chester Simpson