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Old Europe With Asian Influences

Chef Stanley Wong's culinary style reflects his life: born in Germany to a German mother and Chinese father, his childhood was immersed in two distinct cultures that valued food as a way of bringing families together.

Wong is the executive chef at the New York City restaurant, Sage, where he serves up a bit of Old Europe with Asian influences.

Wong attributes his early appreciation for food to the diverse customs and values of his family heritage. For Wong, eating and cooking opened new worlds of cultural understanding and creative expression, inspiring in him the desire for further culinary discovery.

Born in Wuerzburg, Germany, Wong grew up making authentic homestyle dishes from both German and Chinese cuisine, creating elaborate feasts for friends and family. Eager to translate his enthusiasm for cooking and entertaining to a profession, Wong studied all aspects of five-star hospitality at the Hotel School D. Speiser in Bad Wiessee, Germany. Wong then completed a three-year apprenticeship at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, where he learned to master all stations of the kitchen.

Wong's professional career began with a series of select positions at award-winning hotel restaurants in Germany and Switzerland, including Grand Hotel Kronenhof and Wald & Schlosshotel, Friedrichsruhe. Fortified by this experience and eager to broaden his horizons, Wong then brought his culinary talent to South Africa, Hong Kong, and returned to New York City in 2000.

We invited Stanley Wong to take our Chef on a Shoestring challenge to create a three-course meal for four for $30 or less.

Wong's menu: an appetizer of Asparagus Salad with Chive-Egg Vinaigrette; an entrée of Chicken Saltimbocca with Arugula and Cheddar Risotto; and for dessert, Cherry and Banana Shake.


Asparagus: This vegetable is one of the lily family's cultivated forms. The optimum season for fresh asparagus lasts from February through June, although hothouse asparagus is available year-round in some regions. The earliest, most tender stalks are apple green with purple-tinged tips. Some prefer white asparagus (particularly the famous French asparagus of Argenteuil), which is grown underground to prevent it from becoming green. White spears are usually thick and are smoother than the green variety. There's also a purple variety called Viola.

Wong recommends choosing a firm, bright green (or pale ivory) stalks with tight tips when buying asparagus.

The plants live 8 to 10 years and the spear's size indicates the age of the plant from which it came — the more mature the plant, the thicker the asparagus.

Chive: This fragrant herb is related to the onion and the leek. It has slender, green hollow stems. The herb has a mild onion flavor and is available year round. You can use them in cooking, but add them to your menu towards the end of cooking so they retain their flavor.

Sage: This herb originally hails from the Mediterranean. The leaves are slightly bitter and have a musty mint taste and aroma. Sage is commonly used in dishes containing pork, cheese and beans.

Saltimbocca: Literally translated, this Italian term means "jump mouth." It refers to a Roman specialty made of finely sliced veal sprinkled with sage and topped with a thin slice of prosciutto. It's sautéed in butter, then braised in white wine. However, Wong will use the method for chicken breasts.


Asparagus Salad with Chive-Egg Vinaigrette


1-2 pounds white asparagus, trimmed and peeled
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 bunch chives, sliced
2 eggs, hard-boiled, diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
pepper to taste

Peel the asparagus and place both the asparagus and peel in boiling water. Add butter, salt and sugar and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. If the asparagus is thin you will want to simmer for about 4 to 6 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Prepare vinaigrette by whisking together the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Add the chopped eggs and chives to the dressing and mix in. Allow the asparagus to marinate in the vinaigrette for a few minutes before serving.

Chicken Saltimbocca with Arugula and Cheddar Risotto

Chicken Ingredients:

4 pieces chicken breast
2 slices prosciutto
4 leaves sage
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons white wine

Risotto Ingredients:

1 shallot, finely diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces carnaroli risotto rice
4 tablespoon white wine
1 quarter chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 pound cheddar cheese, diced
1/2 cup arugula, lightly packed, chopped

For the risotto, sauté the shallots briefly in olive oil in a pot. On low heat, Add rice and white wine, and then the chicken broth a 1/2 cup at a time, repeat as the previous portion of broth is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper and stir constantly until the rice is about al dente. Finish with butter and lemon juice. Add cheddar cheese and arugula, and mix to incorporate.

Cut the chicken breast into six long, flat stripes that are about 3-inches in length. Place some sliced sage leaves on each piece of chicken and top with a piece of the Parma ham. Roll and pierce with a toothpick.

Heat a non-stick pan. Add some oil, season the chicken roulades (not too much as the prosciutto is salty) and sear on both sides for about 2 to 3 minutes each. Add the butter and deglaze the pan with wine to create the white wine sauce for the dish.

To Serve:

Place a portion of the risotto to the side of the plate. Then place six chicken roulades next to the risotto. Top with the white wine sauce.

Cherry and Banana Shake


1 cup yogurt
2 cup milk
2 pieces banana
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Amaretto di Saronno (optional)
1 pound cherries, quartered and pitted
1 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons granola

Crush cherries together with sugar and set aside.
Blend yogurt, milk, and bananas together with syrup and alcohol.
Place cherries on bottom, pour shake on top, and garnish with granola.