Chef Chris Wong Of Nautilus Sonesta Miami Beach: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a Chef

Chef Chris Wong Of Nautilus Sonesta Miami Beach: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a Chef

I was fortunate growing up , my family told me more than 5 things before I started my career. They told me to be strong, be humble, be good, be patient, be real, be yourself and be happy, no matter what happens.

Asa part of our series about the lessons from influential ‘TasteMakers’, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chef Chris Wong.

Born in Hong Kong, China, and educated in Brighton, England, Chef Kin Hing Wong, also known as Chris, embarked on a culinary journey that has taken him across continents and cuisines. His passion for hospitality led him to Switzerland, where he pursued a degree in Hotel Management at the prestigious Institut Hotelier Cesar Ritz. Following his studies, Chef Chris ventured to the United States, honing his skills through internship training at Delaire Country Club. It was here that Chef Chris found his calling, and his exceptional talent was soon recognized as Delaire Country Club sponsored his citizenship, solidifying his commitment to the profession.With over two decades of experience, Chef Chris has established himself as a visionary in the gastronomy world. From executive chef positions at renowned establishments such as Schulte Hospitality, Waterstone Resort & Marina and Menin Hospitality to founding his own restaurant concepts, Chef Chris has consistently demonstrated a dedication to excellence. His innovative approach to menu planning, meticulous attention to detail, and ability to lead and inspire teams

have earned him acclaim and recognition in the culinary community. Today, Chef Chris’s journey continues to evolve as Executive Chef at Nautilus Sonesta MiamiBeach, fueled by a passion for pushing boundaries and creating unforgettable dining experiences. His unique blend of global flavors, combined with a deep understanding of cultural nuances, sets him apart as a true trailblazer. With each dish he creates, Chef Chris invites diners on a journey of taste and exploration, leaving his unique mark on the hospitality landscape in Miami Beach.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know’ you a bit. Can you share with our readers a story about what inspired you to become a chef?

The reason I became a chef is very simple…I love to eat & cook! What really inspired me was something the chef at my hotel management school said to me in class. He said out of the previous 10 years as his chef professorship at the school, I got the highest score ever in the culinary exam. At that moment, I knew I wanted to become a chef for my career.

Do you have a specific type of food that you focus on? What was it that first drew you to cooking that type of food? Can you share a story about that with us?

When I first started as a chef, because I was trained in Switzerland, England and the U.S. I learned primarily European cuisine. After a few years, that became kind of boring to me, so I started to combine various types of cuisine , especially Asian fusion with fresh seafood. I believe that’s because I was born in Hong Kong, where we ate a lot of fresh seafood, which can be very hard to find in the states.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that has happened to you since you became a chef? What was the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

The most interesting story that’s happened since I became a chef is also kind of sad to me. The core value of the kitchen world has changed. It is different from when I was a kitchen trainee/cook. In the past, if you wanted to learn or become a real chef, you listened to whatever the chef said, were quiet, worked extremely hard, and were very disciplined while working long hours with no complaints. But nowadays, many of the kitchen cooks/chefs act like they know everything, and being on the line is so hot and tiring.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? How did you overcome this obstacle?

When I first started my journey as a trainee, some co-workers gave me a hard time. It was difficult working there and I was thinking about quitting and going back to my country. But my chef and the General Manager were nice and very supportive and helped me with my citizen sponsorship. I decided to persevere and after 11 years of a crazy life, I achieved my goal of becoming an Executive Chef. This taught me that, in life, you have to go through rough times to grow.

In your experience, what is the key to creating a dish that customers are crazy about?

In my experience, using your favorite ingredients is the key to creating a dish that customers are crazy about.

Personally, what is the ‘perfect meal for you’?

The perfect meal to me is simple. I would say either Chicken Wings & Guinness or “Chinese Hot Pot”!!

Where does your inspiration for creating come from? Is there something that you turn to for a daily creativity boost?

My inspiration for creating comes from when I randomly see some ingredients, I am automatically thinking of what I can do with them. I believe this applies to most chefs out there.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? What impact do you think this will have?

I recently began working with Nautilus Sonesta Miami Beach Hotel. I’m excited for this new adventure. I’m working on a sushi pop-up, new menus and more!

What advice would you give to other chefs or restaurateurs to thrive and avoid burnout?

The advice I would give to other chefs to avoid burnout is: balance, balance, balance; and work hard but smart!!

Thank you for all that. Now we are ready for the main question of the interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started as a Chef” and why?

I was fortunate growing up , my family told me more than 5 things before I started my career. They told me to be strong, be humble, be good, be patient, be real, be yourself and be happy, no matter what happens.

What’s the one dish people have to try if they visit your establishment?

The one dish people have to try if they visit Cabana Club at Nautilus Sonesta Miami Beach would be one of the new menu items being unveiled this summer, Saku Chilean Sea Bass!

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The core value of the kitchen world has changed and at times it can be difficult to navigate, so if I could inspire a movement, it would be to encourage up and coming chefs that with perseverance, hard work and balance you can be successful. If you understand that and aren’t only doing the job for money, you will have no regrets. Work hard and the money will come!

Thank you so much for these insights. This was very inspirational!

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at

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