Chef Wallace Wong, also known as the Six Pack Chef, shares his passion for food and fitness with people all over the world. In May, Asian Heritage Month, he takes the opportunity to show his pride in his family and culture and celebrate his roots.
While the pandemic has forced us to enjoy everything from a distance, Chef Wong has been able to connect with millions of people through his popular social media platforms. He has 640,000 followers on TikTok (@w2sixpackchef) and nearly 33,000 followers on Instagram (@w2sixpackchef). This month he highlights tasty Asian dishes that people can make at home.
Wong’s success in the kitchen and online was not something he had ever dreamed of when growing up. Wong’s career as a chef evolved organically as life took its course.
From Business Major to TV Personality
Wong grew up in a household where all of his family members enjoyed cooking for each other. Naturally, Wong fell in love with the craft and took every opportunity to work on his skills in the kitchen.
“My cultural background is Chinese and Cantonese. My parents are from Hong Kong,” Wong said. “Because of that, I grew up in a food-centric culture and family. My most favourite memories are around food.”
In high school Wong took home economics courses but never considered pursuing cooking as a full-time career. As a result, he took the corporate route and enrolled in a university business program.
However, this time away from the kitchen had Wong longing to get back to his true passions – food and cooking.
“I went to business school and I ended up missing cooking and watching the Food Network. I was reading more cookbooks than business books,” Wong said.
Conestoga College’s culinary program piqued Wong’s interest and the school was just down the road from where he attended university. He decided to check out the college and that fateful day has since paid off big time.
“While I was walking through the halls, a teacher came out and told me to go to class and I said, ‘I’m not a student here,’” Wong laughs.
The teacher proceeded to take Wong on a tour of the school. “I left with a pamphlet and brochure, and the next day I signed up for classes,” he said.
The following semester, Wong started his second year of business school and first year of culinary school.
“I graduated from both and that is when being a chef became a career option, because I ended up cooking all over the world,” said Wong.
While being a chef was never the original goal, Wong has certainly made his mark on the industry.
Wong has worked at some of the most respected restaurants in the world including Langdon Hall in Canada, NOMA in Denmark, and Alinea in Chicago. He also opened Momofuku Shoto in Toronto under New York chef David Chang.
In addition, he was a winner on Fridge Wars and Chopped Canada, and a finalist on Top Chef Canada and Bake it Possible.
Outside of cooking and TV appearances, Wong is an international fitness competitor. “I am a national-level body builder for Canada. I have competed in North Americans and the Schwarzenegger Cup. I also placed top three in Canada and while I was competing, I was also cooking,” Wong said.
And that is when the name Six Pack Chef was born.
“People would say to me – there’s the fitness guy or the muscle chef,” Wong says. “I needed something more mainstream for people to call me and to build a brand. Six Pack Chef is a direct representation of myself.”
Wong learned the importance of healthy living at a young age. He is a cancer survivor and is extremely passionate about being alive. He strives to live life to the fullest.
“I think we always have a responsibility to positively influence someone every day that we are alive. A simple hello or opening a door for someone.”
Wong shares his passion for food, life and health through TikTok and Instagram.
“I get to communicate … and help people live a better life through food, health and fitness. That’s where the slogan and my mantra of ‘eat good, look good, live great’ comes from.”
In his videos, Wong shows viewers “how to cook healthier and how they can incorporate different pantry ingredients … to make really tasty food,” he said. On his website, Wong also offers a dieting E-Book, cooking classes, a podcast, and many other culinary services.
In addition to healthy living, as a first-generation Canadian, Wong embraces his ethnicity and proudly shares his story with his followers.
Asian Heritage Month is “not just a month or a moment in time. It’s my life,” Wong commented. “Being Asian is a responsibility. I represent my family, where they are from, the food, the culture. I use my platforms and food to showcase that and educate people about my culture.”
With a nostalgic and “homey” feel, Wong’s favourite dish is Cantonese-style steamed fish with sweet soy, ginger and scallions. Keep your eyes peeled for this dish on his social channels!
Check out Wallace’s tasty salmon recipe:
Juicy Salmon with Crispy Skin🐟✨
I know this method seems super off but don’t worry it isn’t a mistake! Trust me, I promise you juicy salmon with glass like skin every time!
There are three things that will affect how to get that those things; moisture, fat and time!
By reducing the amount of moisture in the skin, we can help to create a better environment/surface area for more effective, even and faster crisp; we achieve this by drying out the salmon uncovered!
By not adding any fat and cooking the salmon from a cold start, we actually are able to use the natural healthy fats from the salmon! As it cooks, the fat renders and it helps to not only crisp the skin but also keeps the salmon moist!
Bonus: You also don’t need to add excess fat/calories and the natural fat acts as a lubricant to prevent sticking!
By having a faster and more effective crisping skin means less time needed to cook the fish and also by cooking the salmon in a cold pan, the low start means we have more time to watch the salmon and get it right vs the pressure of a “too hot” pan
🔺On a rack/plate, let your salmon air dry uncovered in the fridge for at least 1 hour or until the skin is significantly dried
🔺Season the salmon as you like and then add to a cold pan skin side down. For insurance, I suggest a non stick pan but not necessary
🔺Turn on the heat to medium-high and cook each side for 3-4 min If you have thicker salmon, go with medium and cook for 5-6 min a side
You can always add more flavor to the salmon at the end by basting it with butter, herbs and aromatics once the skin has crisped.
But before you get started, make sure you check out this video to make sure your salmon is fresh and Canadian!
Farmwork to Feed Canada (F2FC) is a national volunteer not-for-profit initiative by Canadian communication professionals, students, and recent graduates in communications. F2FC collaborates with farmers, and agri-businesses amid COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges to Canada’s food supply and food security, to engage Canadians, pro bono, with compelling stories about their food system and build support for Canada’s farmers, food producers, and their essential skilled workers.