Voted Asia’s best Female Chef in 2017, May Chow is known for the upbeat cocktail and Chinese bao joint Little Bao, which opened in 2013, and Happy Paradise, which brought her spin to a menu of Cantonese favourites when it launched in 2017.
“Honestly, when I first got the title and other honours, I felt almost like I was very lucky. Should I get it so young?” she questions with genuine hesitancy. “On the plus side, it made me think about giving back to the community, using my voice and power to raise awareness for things I care about: women’s empowerment, LGBTQ issues, help the well-being of the F&B industry. That’s the benefit of all the honours and accolades.”
The perennially well-dressed Chow (she’s never photographed in chef’s jacket and trousers) has an eye for design and concocted the look of both restaurants and their interiors. She’s also appeared on MasterChef Asia as a guest judge. “It was fun but it’s another game to be a chef on TV versus working behind the scenes in a restaurant. But I enjoyed the experience and I like sharing what I know.”
This year, she brings her signature buns and truffle fries to Causeway Bay with the opening of Little Bao Diner at Fashion Walk. The 100-seat indoor-outdoor space evokes classic American diners, the relaxed vibe of Palm Springs, and hints of old Hong Kong. Expect favourites such as slow- cooked Pork Belly Bao and new dishes like shrimp tacos.
But what we really love about Chow is the pet-friendly area she provides for pups and poodles. No surprises, then, that she’s a huge supporter of rescue dogs, having saved one herself with her partner.
The question on everyone’s mind: when’s the book coming out? “No book yet, but when I’m a bit older maybe, with a greater and deeper understanding of Chinese food,” she says. “Maybe something in LA ... one day.”
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