—the Taiwanese Masterchef Who Loves Ginger
Born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised just south of Los Angeles, Fred “Freddy” Chang didn’t always know he wanted to open a bakery. He was one of the top 10 contestants in the 10th season of Masterchef USA, where he made a cake that was allegedly so good, that Gordon Ramsay himself licked the plate clean!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is it that you do/share with us some of your greatest achievements.
My name is Fred Chang. I studied Hospitality Administration at Boston University, and am currently a recipe writer and food blogger. Some of my greatest accomplishments would include doing dessert R&D for Christina Tosi, and staging (similar to apprenticing or interning) for several James Beard Award-winning restaurants and Michelin-starred chefs by the time I was 24.
What was your first encounter with cooking?
I started baking at 15, so sophomore year of high school. I started specifically with vegan baking, and branched into more traditional French style pastries, then eventually, into actual cooking.
What are your must-haves in your kitchen?
A whisk, heat-proof rubber spatula, a heat-proof bowl, a fully-metal pan that is preferably nonstick, and obviously at least one good knife.
Do you have any experience with Traditional Chinese Medicine? What is one ingredient/food/beverage that you would take and/or make for your own wellness?
I use ginger often, but that's about it with Chinese medicinal ingredients at the moment! And I do drink golden milk a lot since the spices help with your metabolism!
Which herb/healing ingredients do you use most often and why do you use them?
When I get to use fresh herbs, I love to use herbs like mint or basil the most. When I made a plated take on Kibbeh Nayyeh, I used plenty of mint, parsley, and nasturtium actually, just because I had them on hand. I also love to use ginger in my broths and preferably with soup dumplings.