This young gun chef is the reason these noodles are packed with sin-ful flavor!
We’re absolutely obsessed with Chef Lucas.
Yes, he’s brilliant and has the accolades to prove it – he was named Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2020, an Eater Young Gun in 2019, and Food & Wine’s Best New Chef in 2021. He’s got the credentials, no doubt.
But what’s even more delightful than basking in Lucas’ prestige is to spend time in his brain. This Hong Kong-born chef opened his first restaurant at the age of 16 in an abandoned newspaper factory and then went on to graduate from Yale with a degree in cognitive science + English.
After cutting his teeth working in kitchens in Seattle, Hong Kong, New York and Kyoto, Lucas went on to open up Junzi Kitchen, a stellar fast-casual chain spinning deliciously fresh takes on Chinese cuisine.
“Fusion” food is kind of a dirty word (fun fact: we did a hot take on this subject!), but Lucas unabashedly embraces it with both a whimsical energy + a deeply academic understanding of Chinese culinary history + technique. Menu items such as the Cheeseburger Egg Roll or Loaded General Tso’s Chicken Fries show that Lucas is down to take risks + not rigidly adhere to “authenticity.”
Even the recipe development process showed us a peek inside his galaxy brain - he constantly kept us on our toes (our sourcing team rode a rollercoaster trying to keep up with the ingredients he was pitching)! In Lucas’ eyes, there were always a million different ways to achieve various notes of heat, umami, depth, bitter, sour, sweet and salty. It was both 1) a wonderful challenge for our development team to keep up, but more importantly, 2) a reminder to not be too precious about “authenticity” as it relates to Asian flavors.
Lucas believes that anybody should be able to cook Chinese food – and not in a naive, Ratatouille-esque “anyone can cook” sense. Like us, he believes that Chinese flavors can + should touch any type of dish or cuisine. His unique perspective + unabashed playfulness with traditional flavors is the reason why we had to collab with him on these Omsom Chili Sesame Saucy Noodles.These tangy, nutty noodles take inspiration from dan dan noodles – but in a fresh, third-culture way. The noodles feature aromatic sesame paste with a kiss of heat that’ll have you rowdy with joy. This collab is yet another way that Lucas continues his mission to reshape the narrative of Chinese-American food – and we’re grateful to be along for the ride!