By Brian Garrido
A native of Taiwan, Chef Ming Pu credits his mother for instilling a lifelong passion for cooking. When he was 7, his family moved to Vancouver, Canada, where they lived for two years before making the Louisville area and Southern Indiana their permanent home in 1999. Along the way, the 32-year-old chef gained a diverse food vocabulary of Eastern Asian, Southern and French techniques that are evident today in the New American cuisine at Brooklyn and the Butcher, The Exchange Pub & Kitchen and OutCast Fish and Oyster Bar, all from Brand Hospitality in New Albany. He is now culinary director with Brand Hospitality and hopes to one day open a Taiwanese-American restaurant.
What made you want to become a chef?
Growing up in Taiwan, my mother would cook dinner 4 to 5 times a week, and part of my chores were to help her prep. My mom would also take me to the markets in Taiwan, and that’s where I got to experience the freshest ingredients and fell in love with food in general. Fast forward to us moving to the United States and when I graduated high school in 2008, I was an accounting major for a year and decided to drop out and pursue my cooking career.
What’s your favorite type of food and why?
I love noodle soups. Whether it’s Vietnamese pho or Japanese tonkatsu ramen or Taiwanese beef noodle soup, it’s just very comforting and reminds me of my childhood, because I grew up eating all types of noodle soups.
If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would that be and what would you eat?
I would probably visit Peru to try Maido and Central (both on the top 50 world’s best restaurant list) or I would visit Italy and eat my way through each region.
What items are always in your fridge?
I always have Kimlan soy sauce, black vinegar, garlic and onion.
If you could choose a favorite place in Indiana to visit, where would that be and what would you eat?
Besides our restaurants under Brand Hospitality, I would definitely visit Indianapolis and visit Beholder or Bluebeard. I had a great experience at Bluebeard, and I’ve heard great things about Beholder.
Chef Ming Pu has been a guest chef at the James Beard House four times and participated in the James Beard Boot Camp Policy for Change and James Beard Taste America in Louisville, Kentucky. Recently he participated in Indie Chefs Week in Columbus, Ohio. He will be in Indianapolis July 30 to cook at the Culinary Crossroads Sunday Supper Club at Paramount Schools of Excellence.